On Thursday, NewsBusters published part II of our interview with Ann Coulter regarding her new book Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From the Seventies to Obama.
In part III, she discusses the myth of a racist "Republican Southern Strategy," how the media is always telling white people they're racist, and that she doesn't know any racists – "other than the ones [she watches] on MSNBC hosting shows every night."
NEWSBUSTERS: Every presidential election cycle, we have to hear about the “Republican Southern Strategy.” In your book, you exposed that there's really no such thing. It's actually a media fabrication.
COULTER: The striking thing about that, which I think few people have noticed, is the general and untrue point made over and over and over again that the segregationists were Democrats, but the Republicans decided to appeal to them to win the south. To put it in Bill Clinton's words, “How Republicans think they started winning the south anyway if it wasn't through appealing to racists.” We were supposed to have these secret little code words - unlike the Democrats who just actually come out and said racist things like Bill Clinton's pal Orville Saubus or William Fulbright or Bull Connor or George Wallace – Democrats all. No, they just come out and go straight for the racist jugular, whereas Republicans say, “Let's cut taxes,” and that's supposed to be the equivalent of a Klan yelp.
The truth is Republicans didn't win the Goldwater states. The southern strategy is supposedly based on the 1964 presidential election. But in 1948, Strom Thurmond - the one Democrat segregationist in the Senate to ever become a Republican - ran on a segregationist ticket, the Dixiecrat ticket. Note that was called the "Dixiecrats" and not the "Dixiecans." This was a spinoff from the Democratic Party. He lost, but he won a handful of southern states. He went back to the Democratic Party, where he was warmly welcomed back, by the way, staying a Democrat for another two decades.
In 1964, Barry Goldwater was a strong integrationist but also a little bit of a nutty libertarian and very serious about the Constitution – what Congress could do and what it couldn't do. He voted for every prior civil rights bill unlike the Democrats who voted against the '64 act. Goldwater voted against the 1964 civil rights bill on principle, and he lost a landslide election winning mostly the same southern states that Thurmond had won in 1948. So that is the entire theory of the southern strategy, and now, today, of course the south is mostly Republican.
The truth of the matter is Republicans didn't start winning those Goldwater states for another 30 years, and the reason we did was because the Dixiecrats, aka the Democrat segregationists, died.
NEWSBUSTERS: Yet when a Democrat candidate wins those states, it's not part of a “racist southern strategy.”
COULTER: No, that's right, but truth is Republicans had been winning the same Republican states since the 1920s. Allegedly Goldwater was a game-changing election. No, Republicans had been winning the outer south – Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, one of the Carolinas, and Florida – since 1928. You can't really tell much from the '30s and '40s because FDR and Truman dominated the entire country during that period. But then the next Republican to win any presidential election was Eisenhower, and he won basically those same southern states.
I have maps in the back of the book showing how Republicans keep winning the same outer circle of southern states. That is what Nixon picked up in 1960. Same thing in 1968. It's hard to tell from the 1972 and 1980 elections because the Republicans really had a "landslide strategy." It wasn't just a southern strategy, but was a strategy for taking the entire country. In 1972, the entire country voted for Nixon other than Massachusetts – poor Scott Brown. And basically the same thing happened in 1980.
Republicans did not start winning a plurality of votes for the House of Representatives – which is voted on every two years – until 1994. That's 30 years after Goldwater's 1964 run. In 1980, Reagan did the worst in the Goldwater states. Even the ones he won, he won by the smallest margin, and lost Georgis outright, whereas he crushed in the southern states Republicans had been winning off and on since 1928. Also in 1980, Reagan won with younger voters in the south. He lost with their elders, i.e. the Dixiecrats.
Part of the evidence of that was from polls taken at the time. At Yale, Reagan got about seventeen percent. John Anderson was crushing in the Ivy League followed by Carter, with Reagan coming in between fourteen and seventeen percent. At Louisiana Tech, Reagan was winning by like 80 percent. So, it was young voters who weren't alive in 1964 supporting Ronald Reagan in the south in 1980.
NEWSBUSTERS: So the entire concept of a racially driven southern strategy by Republicans is a media fabrication. Another such figment of their imagination deals with George H.W. Bush. Every presidential cycle, we've got to hear about the supposedly worst political television ad in history being his Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis in 1988. Counter to the conventional media wisdom, you believe this is the best ad ever. Explain.
COULTER: I've written about it before, and I would like to stop writing about it, but as long as liberals are going to keep lying about and Republicans are going to keep apologizing for it, apparently I'm going to have to put this in every book. First, the Willie Horton ad didn't show a picture of Willie Horton. To the contrary, it showed white guys working on the campaign dressed up as prisoners walking in and out of a revolving door. It described a furlough policy that was in existence solely because of the act of Michael Dukakis, and because of that furlough policy, this vicious first-degree murderer, Willie Horton, who should never have been released was released on repeated weekend furloughs. On one of those weekend furloughs, he escaped to Maryland, held a Maryland couple hostage, raped the woman, tied up and stabbed the man, held them for about twelve hours. Finally when he was raping the woman again the next morning, the man manages to escape. And this was entirely because of a policy proudly, sanctimoniously, probably smirkingly pushed by Michael Dukakis.
Democrats tried lying about it, lies that to this day apparently many Republicans have fallen for. “Oh, this was a Republican policy having furloughs.” It's much like the argument that Fast and Furious was initially a Bush program. No, furloughs are a fine idea. A furlough is intended for check-kiters and extortionists and petty criminals, burglars who are in prison for a term of years, before they are released, which they inevitably will be, to get them acclimated to life on the outside as their term gets close to ending, they are released out on weekends. That's a fine idea, but not for first-degree murderers who are not supposed to see the light of day under any circumstances.
First Dukakis vetoes the death penalty. Liberals always say, “Oh, what do we need the death penalty for? We'll just give them life in prison without parole.” And then you find out "life in prison without parole" includes weekend furloughs.
Even the Massachusetts legislature - which is insane as we all know, 85 percent Democrat – they didn't pass a furlough policy for first-degree murderers. No, that was the brilliance of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Even the Massachusetts legislature knew that was insane. You can't be giving first-degree murderers weekend furloughs. No other state in the country has weekend furloughs for first-degree murderers who are supposed to be in prison for life.
So the Massachusetts legislature passes a bill overturning the insane interpretation of the Massachusetts Supreme Court granting furloughs to first-degree murderers, and Dukakis proudly vetoed it. He vetoed it. It was only because of his veto – winning profiles in courage awards from the ACLU – that Willie Horton was released from prison. That told you everything you needed to know about this little Greek homunculus. He was the kind of nut who, in order to win fawning glances from left-wing loons at the ACLU, would veto a limit on furloughs for first-degree murderers, and this showed America. It was an important policy decision. It told you something about the man who wanted the presidency. Most Americans realized this man should be nowhere near the levers of power.
NEWSBUSTERS: What's interesting is that if in subsequent campaigns, if a Democrat like let's say Obama could create an ad with this kind of impact irrespective of its veracity, if it ended up winning him the election, the media would think it was absolutely spectacular wouldn't they?
COULTER: Well, yes, and polls showed that the Willie Horton issue, the furlough issue, had a greater impact on voters in the 1988 election than any other issue. That's why they tried lying about the furlough policy, and when that didn't work, they turned around and cried racism because Willie Horton was black - as if the couple wouldn't have minded being accosted, tortured, and raped if only the assailant had been white. Then it would be okay. They're out of their minds, liberals.
NEWSBUSTERS: As “Mugged” moves towards its conclusion, you write, “[I]f all black people woke up tomorrow morning with the cultural predilections of Korean Americans, all sociological disparities – income, crime rates, out of wedlock births – would vanish within ten years.” Explain.
COULTER: I say it's an unfair point to make, but it's a thought experiment to debunk the contrary thought experiment by liberals. There are more agoraphobics in America than there are racists, and it's declining ever year - and that's certainly what their web page traffic indicates. I know a lot of people, I don't know any racists – other than the ones I watch on MSNBC hosting shows every night.
The liberal position is that if only white people would stop being racist, then blacks could really achieve something in this country. That's what's holding them back. No, no, no, no, no. It's liberal policies, it's liberal patronization. And mine was the contrary thought experiment.
There's a beautiful quote earlier in the book that Clarence Thomas put in one of his opinions on affirmative action from Frederick Douglas. I can't do it justice, so I recommend looking it up. But it's basically Frederick Douglas saying, “White people want to know what to do with us. Please stop doing anything. Your doing has put us in the situation we're in now. Just stop. Let us stand on our own two feet, and if we can't stand on our own two feet, let us fall. Just leave us alone.”
NEWSBUSTERS: You then cited the black author Shelby Steele: “Whites don’t think they have the moral authority to ask anything of black people, certainly not to judge them. But there’s something wrong with people who have a 70 percent illegitimacy rate. This is a group of people who are lost. But we are surrounded by whites who refuse to tell us that.”
COULTER: Yes, and that's why white people need to read my book, at least white Republicans because we have nothing to be ashamed of. The Republican Party has a very proud history on civil rights. Forget about race relations, I don't know how anybody could be a Democrat. But especially on race relations.
Democrats are the ones who should feel guilty, but instead of feeling guilty, they leap out and start finding racists under every bed. No, no, no, now that we've gotten Democrats to stop being racist, the racists are gone. It was you. Now you're inventing racists to go after to make up for the ugly truth.
But I do think Shelby Steele is right, and a lot of it is because for 30, 40 years we lived in a country where the media was constantly telling white people that they're racist.
NEWSBUSTERS: You marvelously conclude the book, “The national obsession with racism is a self-inflicted punishment that has resulted in disaster, for everyone, but most of all for black people. The initial lie from which all other lies flow is the idea that black people’s condition in America depends on white people’s beneficence. It’s Bull Connor’s last revenge.” Powerful stuff. Please elaborate.
COULTER: Yes, and it's true. And once you read it, things that have confused you before will all come together and the truth shall set you free.
NEWSBUSTERS: So you’ve written a marvelous book about race and racism in America. What have you personally learned from it – from the experience of researching it and writing - and do you believe you’ll ever see the proverbial post-racial society in your lifetime?
COULTER: I think we were so close after OJ. We were so close after Rudy Giuliani's mayoralty. So close, and then liberals have to get this very left-wing, half-black, not-descended from American blacks elected president. Now we're right back at square one. But yeah, I think we will, and we will get there sooner the more people read my book and recognize what the truth is.
NEWSBUSTERS: Is there anything else you want to tell NewsBusters readers about this issue?
COULTER: Yes, keep reading NewsBusters.