Clinton-Gore: In The 90s, The Democratic Party Put Two White Male Southerners In The White House
James Kirkpatrick’s reference to this Nineties campaign symbol reminds me that both Bill Clinton and Al Gore were, in fact, white Southerners, much as Clinton identified politically with blacks.
Gore, as I’ve written, had
a good record on immigration in his previous life as a white Southern Congressman and Senator, facing the voters of the great state of Tennessee. But he also had a fairly conservative record on gun control and abortion—as a white Southern Congressman and Senator, facing only Tennessee voters.
He had to change all that, to get on the ticket at the national level, because the national Democratic Party is much more pro-abortion, anti-gun, and pro-immigration than Tennessee Democrats. His father, while a left-wing Democrat, used to take his family out to eat dinner while their black nanny sat in the car.
Clinton, while so sympathetic to blacks that black novelist Toni Morrison called him the “first black President”, was also a white Southerner, and the late Christopher Hitchens tore into him for the tactics that kept him Governor of Arkansas. As President, Hitchens noted, Clinton engaged in what Steve Sailer has been calling “Historical Racism Porn” while pandering to Arkansas voters:
In his hot youth in the 1960s, Bill Clinton had been, on his own account, a strong supporter of the Civil Rights movement. Recalling these brave days during the April 1997 anniversary celebrations of Jackie Robinson’s victory over Jim Crow in baseball, he said:
When I was a young person, both I and my family thought that the segregation which dominated our part of the country was wrong… So he was like – he was fabulous evidence for people in the South, when we were all arguing over the integration of the schools, the integration of all public facilities, basically the integration of our national life. Whenever some bigot would say something, you could always cite Jackie Robinson… You know, if you were arguing the integration side of the argument, you could always play the Jackie Robinson card and watch the big husky redneck shut up [here the transcript shows a chuckle] because there was nothing they could say.
Actually, there would have been something the big husky redneck could have said. ‘Huh?’ would have about covered it. Or perhaps: ‘Run along, kid.’ Jackie Robinson – a lifelong Republican – broke the colour line in baseball when Clinton was six. He retired from the game in 1956, when Clinton was nine. The Supreme Court had decided in favor of school integration a year before that. Perhaps the eight-year-old boy wonder did confront the hefty and the white-sheeted with his piping treble, but not even the fond memoirs of his doting mama record the fact.
As against that, at the close of Clinton’s tenure as governor, Arkansas was the only state in the union that did not have a Civil Rights statute. Let us consult the most sympathetic biography of Clinton, The President They Deserve, by Martin Walker, the Guardian‘s US correspondent. Described as ‘truly sensational’ by Sidney Blumenthal in the New Yorker, Walker’s book includes an account of Clinton’s electoral defeat in Arkansas in 1980. Clinton had begun his two years at the State House by inviting the venomous old segregationist Orval Faubus, former governor of Arkansas, to a place of honour at the inaugural ceremony (a step that might have caused Jackie Robinson to raise an eyebrow) but not even this was enough to protect him against vulgar local accusations of ‘n*gger-loving’. The crunch moment came in the dying days of the Carter administration, when Cuban refugees were stuffed into an emergency holding pen at Fort Chafee, and protested against their confinement. As Walker phrases it: ‘The ominous black-and-white shots of dark-skinned Cuban rioters against white-faced police and Arkansans had carried a powerful subliminal message.’ The boyish governor vowed to prevent any more Cubans from landing on Arkansas soil, and declared loudly that he would defy the federal government ‘even if they bring the whole US army down here’. This echo of the rebel yell was correctly described by Paul Greenberg, columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, as ‘a credible imitation of Orval E. Faubus’. Walker omits that revealing moment, but describes the conclusion Bill and Hillary drew from the ensuing reverse at the polls: ‘The lessons were plain: never be outnegatived again.’
Perhaps this dictum only occurs to Walker in the ‘subliminal’ sense. But its provenance is well-established. George Wallace, defeated by a less polished racist in an electoral tussle in long-ago Alabama, swore in public ‘never to be out-n*ggered again’. This slogan was well known, and well understood, in all the former states of the Old Confederacy. And after 1980, Clinton clearly began to evolve a ‘southern strategy’ of his own.
In the 1992 run for the Democratic nomination, that strategy became plain for anyone willing to see it. Clinton took care to be photographed at an all-white golf club, and also standing at a prison-farm photo-op, wearing his shades while a crowd of black convicts broke rocks in the sun. Taxed with long-time membership in the ‘exclusive’ golf club – ‘inclusiveness’ being only a buzz-word away – Clinton calmly replied that the club’s ‘staff and facilities’ were integrated – a ‘legally accurate’ means of stating the obvious fact that the help was coloured.
In January 1992 Clinton quit the thick of the New Hampshire primary to fly to Arkansas and give personal supervision to the execution of Rickey Ray Rector. Rector was a black lumpen failure, convicted of a double murder, who had shot himself in the head on arrest and achieved the same result as a frontal lobotomy would have done. He understood his charge and trial and sentence not at all. After a decade on Death Row his execution number came up in a week when Clinton, according to one report of the polls, had lost 12 points as a result of the Gennifer Flowers disclosures. These two ‘numbers’ were made to intersect. In 1988, Clinton had backed the ludicrous presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis, who had suffered from a sleazy ‘subliminal’ campaign about a dusky parole-breaking rapist named Willie Horton. In the week of the Flowers revelations, Time magazine helpfully inquired: ‘Suppose Clinton does sew up the nomination by mid-March and the Republicans discover a Willie Horton in his background?’ Rickey Ray Rector was the perfect rebuttal to such annoying speculations.
Is he the most crooked President in history? ,UK Observer, April 18, 1999
Of course, I have a different view of the rightness and wrongness of many of these things Hitchens abominated. (We’ve written about Willie Horton, about Fort Chafee and the Marielitos, and the South’s past, and I should probably do a post about Ricky Ray Rector.)
The point is that Clinton and Gore could probably still get away will all their actual crimes and corruption as far as the MSM is concerned, because they’re Democrats, but they couldn’t get the nomination anymore—because the national party is increasingly at war with the white South.