Opinion
              In a March 14, 2012 photo, a display of colored items is seen at the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia in Big Rapids, Mich. The museum says it has amassed the nation’s largest public collection of artifacts spanning the segregation era, from Reconstruction until the civil rights movement, and beyond. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Jim Crow And The Donkey: A History The Left Loves To Ignore

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Ken Blackwell
Former Ohio Secretary of State
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      Ken Blackwell

      Ken Blackwell, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, is a member of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty's board, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, and Ohio's former secretary of state.

You know you’ve hit a sore spot when the left starts screeching.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s producer, Steve Benen, just took a whack at the American Civil Rights Union’s new booklet, “The Truth About Jim Crow,” (TTAJC) which National Review writer John Fund wrote about in a recent column.

Benen cites a critique from the Atlanta Journal Constitution blogger Jay Bookman: “Jay Bookman took a closer look at the pamphlet Fund’s piece was promoting, highlighting some of its more glaring errors of fact and judgment.”

And what errors of fact would those be, Steve? Bookman did not point out a single factual error. Instead, regarding TTAJC’s three main points, that Jim Crow was “dehumanizing, deadly and Democratic,” he painfully admitted the paper’s accuracy: “that is true as far as it goes.” Apparently, Benen believes if you can’t find a factual error yourself, it’s okay to claim falsely that somebody else did.

Benen also suggests Fund is a hypocrite because he dares to write about civil rights for NRO. In 1957, you see, William F. Buckley of National Review wrote an article supporting segregation. But Buckley wasn’t by himself in 1957. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Baines Johnson was busy gutting GOP President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1957 Civil Rights Act, and John F. Kennedy, then a senator from Massachusetts, was voting against it. If Fund is responsible for Buckley, aren’t Barack Obama and Harry Reid responsible for Kennedy and Johnson as well?

If Benen and Bookman can’t find any factual errors in TTAJC, then what are they complaining about? The goring of their sacred ox. Benen and Bookman devote their columns to reaffirming the left’s standard dogma about Jim Crow, which TTAJC contradicts. Such heresy cannot be tolerated.

According to Bookman,

I read the entire pamphlet, and there’s a single word that is notable by its absence from a document put out by such a highly conservative organization. That word is “conservative”, and there’s a very good reason for its absence:

Conservatives — conservatives in the Democratic Party, and conservatives in the Republican Party — fought against civil rights. They fought hard, they fought bitterly, and in end they lost. The very magazine in which Fund’s piece appears, National Review, is a conservative publication that stridently defended segregation.

Liberals and moderates — again, liberals and moderates from both parties, Republicans and Democrats alike — fought FOR civil rights.

That is the plain, unvarnished, uncontestable truth. It was never a fight between Democrats and Republicans, it was a fight between liberals and conservatives. Fund knows it. The authors of the ACRU pamphlet know it. And the whole purpose of the pamphlet and similar efforts to rewrite history is to make that truth go away.”

Benen adds that the Democrats “dispatched the racists to the GOP,” and “segregationists made a new home in the Republican Party in the latter half of the 20th century.”

That’s the left’s narrative on Jim Crow, and it’s dead wrong in both fact and analysis. Here is the heart of the issue, where the left has hijacked the true history of Jim Crow. The dividing line over Jim Crow was never liberals vs. conservatives; it’s far more accurate to describe it as Democrats versus Republicans. Not only in the 1800s, when the KKK served as the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party, but right into the 1950s and 1960s. Bookman’s assertion that “conservatives in the Republican Party … fought against civil rights” is utterly false. As historian Dr. John Fonte noted on NRO in 2003, staunchly conservative Republicans led the fight for civil rights in the Senate, including Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, Ohio Senator Robert Taft, and California Senator Bill Knowland.

In contrast, liberal Democrats remained divided, and liberal senators like William Fulbright and Al Gore, Sr. continued to fight for Jim Crow and white supremacy until the bitter end. One of those incontestably liberal Democrats who fought civil rights tooth and nail was Lyndon Baines Johnson, who switched sides only because he believed supporting civil rights for blacks would cement black support for the Democratic Party. And, how many of the people reading this column knew that the greatest icon of the Democratic Party, liberal John F. Kennedy, voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act?