There was once a time when earning a doctorate was considered the highest honor, one in which you are considered the expert in your field and you virtually have an imprimatur for all things related. No more.
Brian Rosenwald is a senior fellow in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an editor for The Washington Post’s new section “Made by History,” dedicated to historical events that have shaped the United States. It’s a noble idea but, like all things Washington Post, has quickly descended into left-wing lies and bile. Surprise.
Rosenwald is also the liberal author of several op-eds in The Post, mostly relating to the Republican Party. “After Charlottesville, Republicans must grapple with their history on race,” he wrote last August. No mention of the Democratic Party’s long association with slavery, Jim Crow, and racism.
This year, he wrote another piece smearing Republicans: “Republicans aren’t hypocrites. They just have flawed principles.” The piece is littered with condescending attitudes and elitist points. “And that, more than hypocrisy, is the real problem facing Republicans — they have principles; those principles just don’t work,” he wrote.
You can almost hear him say “You just don’t understand …” to anyone who may offer a different point of view from his ivory tower. The problem here, it isn’t we who don’t understand. It’s him.
In his earlier piece, he falsely wrote that President Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 campaign at the Neshoba County Fair, close by where three civil rights workers were murdered by racists 14 years earlier.
Hillary Clinton, in her recent book, “What Happened,” lied similarly. The implication is not subtle. Reagan somehow was soft on racism. Hillary long has had only a casual relationship with the truth or reality but, now we know, so does Rosenwald.
A couple of things are going on here: First, this is not true. Reagan did not launch his fall campaign in Mississippi, but in Liberty State Park, New Jersey, on Labor Day. He was surrounded by ethnic Americans, and the towering Statue of Liberty behind him offered a symbolism of hope, renewal, and the American dream.
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Reagan made note of this as well: “They came to make America work. They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this — this refuge, the greatest home of freedom in history.” Factually, to say Reagan started his campaign at the Neshoba County Fair is wrong and deliberately wrong. Typical left-wing smear.
Point of fact, Michael Dukakis campaigned at the Neshoba County Fair in 1988. Hence, Dukakis was a racist, right?
But what about Jimmy Carter’s 1980 campaign? Unlike Clinton or Rosenwald, who are deliberately ignorant about Reagan, Jimmy Carter, in reality, launched his fall 1980 campaign in Tuscumbia, Alabama, at a Labor Day picnic, which the Los Angeles Times reported was the “national headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.”
The national headquarters for the Knights of the KKK was, in fact, just down the road in Pulaski, Tennessee, but only 50 miles away. There at his kickoff, Carter wheeled up the old “Seggie,” George Wallace, another Democrat, who’d been confined to a wheelchair. Carter’s daughter, Amy, kissed Wallace on the cheek. Wallace was the only Democrat on the stage that day, singled out by Carter for praise.
Carter told the crowd, “We southerners believe in the nobility of courage on the battlefield.” Meanwhile, 60 Klansmen marched there in front of Carter in robes with the Confederate battle flag. We could leave it there to let readers draw the false notion that Carter was receiving their endorsement (like the false smear against Reagan) and, while he did not, he did defend the Confederate battle flag.
Reagan attacked Carter for choosing Tuscumbia, but incredibly, Carter, his fellow Democrats, and the national media chose to attack Reagan for criticizing Carter’s choice for launching his fall campaign.
But you’ll be hard-pressed to see people label Carter as a racist. In fact, it is never reported that Carter had kind comments about the Confederate battle flag or the racist Democrat George Wallace.
In fact, let’s flip this around: Some Republicans may have a problem with racists, but so did and do the Democrats and far more, too. Let’s not even touch the Civil War, in which Southern Democrats seceded from the Union for the sole purpose of keeping slavery.
But lynching? The GOP had anti-lynching planks in its platform for years. The Democrats? Not until much later, to placate Southern racists. By the way, the Democratic Party’s KKK’s favorite target for lynching besides blacks was — Republicans.
More recently, however …
How about 1964? The Civil Rights Act, after much controversy and bickering, finally went to the House of Representatives for a vote. Eighty percent of the GOP Representatives — in total 136 — voted yes to the act.
On the other hand, Democratic representatives who voted no made up 37 percent, nearly 100 votes against. It was similar in the Senate, as proportionally the Republican Party overwhelmingly voted yes for the measure, while Democrats half-heartedly cheered it.
Even the chairman of the House Rules Committee, Democrat Rep. Howard Smith, wanted to stop it before it reached anywhere, and the proposal resulted in a 14-hour-long filibuster by racist Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia.
Decades earlier, Democratic hero and 13-year President Franklin Roosevelt, in the name of national security, imprisoned hundreds of thousands of American citizens of Japanese descent, locking them in internment camps.
It was only under Reagan that reparations were paid. He signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, giving each Japanese-American $20,000. FDR also snubbed Jesse Owens in the 1933 Berlin Olympics after he won four gold medals, becoming the most successful athlete there.
He was never invited to the White House. In 1936, Owens actually said, “Hitler didn’t snub me — it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.” That says something about Owens’ impression of our president.
We can go on and on. Truman used racial slurs against Jews, African-Americans, and Chinese in his diaries, using terms that even the 1940s would have considered hardcore.
Bill and Hillary Clinton came from Arkansas, so it’s without surprise that campaign slogans and friends had more … white-only attitudes. “SONS of the NEW SOUTH,” read a Clinton-Gore campaign button, with the nominees’ faces superimposed over confederate uniforms and the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy. Byrd was also a longtime friend of the Clintons’, with Hillary calling him “my friend and mentor.”
Yet it is Reagan who is falsely accused of being a racist.
Reagan had a clear and unbroken philosophy based on the unbroken expansion of human freedom. He was a child of the Enlightenment, which is why he quoted Thoreau, Emerson, Jefferson and Paine so often.
Thus, Reagan’s first goal was to reignite Americans belief in themselves. Coupled with this were tax cuts and rearming America. He knew a happy people were a productive people, so his first goal was the restoration of American morale, coupled with the tools of tax cuts, but at the top was national defense.
To Reagan, they all worked together to achieve a higher moral plane. Balanced budgets came last. They were important but the others were more important. He knew if we lost to the Soviets, a good economy and good national mood were all academic. It was the American people who were the priority.
But Reagan’s American conservatism was a consistent and complete philosophy. President Donald Trump, while doing some very good conservative things, is a populist and populism is not a philosophy but a reaction to “the other guy” controlling bigness.
It can’t be understated how influential the Reagan Revolution was to the GOP, both in the 1980s and even today. Politicians are rated according to “What would Reagan do?” It’s a sort of grand philosophy that holds a party together.
So when people like Hillary Clinton or Brian Rosenwald say Republicans are “unprincipled” for whatever reasons, perhaps a look at what the Democratic Party did, is doing, and will continue to do is in order.
Regarding liberals like Clinton and Rosenwald, they are liberals beyond knowledge and beyond help.
Craig Shirley is a New York Times best-selling author and presidential historian. He has written four books on President Ronald Reagan, along with his latest book, “Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative,” about the early career of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He lectures frequently at the Reagan Library and is the Visiting Reagan Scholar at Eureka College in Illinois, the 40th president’s alma mater. He also wrote the critically acclaimed “December 1941.” Scott Mauer is a research assistant for Craig Shirley.
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