Nossiter Finds More Appeals to Racism Among Republicans

Southern-based reporter Adam Nossiter went to a diner in a small town in Arkansas, home state of former governors turned presidential hopefuls Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee, to report "Arkansas Proves Its Worth as a Political Testing Ground."

"Unlike those in other Deep South states, rural white voters in Arkansas - identified by the political scientist Jay Barth of Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., as the state's critical constituency - are not easily wooed by an unwavering conservative line."

What does that "unwavering conservative line" include? Racism, of course.

"The Republicans' ascent in Arkansas was not based on racial divisions as it was in other Southern states, where appeals to solidarity based on race remain a potent if unspoken force for the party. Quite the contrary: Mr. Rockefeller, who in 1966 became the first Republican to be elected governor since Reconstruction, opened up state offices to blacks and sang 'We Shall Overcome' on the Capitol steps after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated."

Nossiter blamed racism for black Democrat Rep. Harold Ford's narrow loss in a Tennessee Senate race in 2006.