November 19, 2009 - 4:53pm
Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, took GOP Congresswoman Virginia Foxx to
task for claiming that Republicans "passed civil rights bills in the sixties" as
he accused her of having a bad memory, going as far as to compare her to one of
the androids from the science fiction classic Blade Runner
Up next wait 'til you hear the latest from Congresswoman, whoa! Wait 'til you
catch this. Well this is another version of The Dream, let's put it that way.
This is Virginia Foxx, in action. She's actually trying to say - remember this?
It was the Republicans, don't you remember? They are the ones that pushed
through civil rights back in the sixties. Remember it was not the Democrats,
remember that? Interesting memory there. Next in the "Sideshow." I think she's
one of these replicants from Blade Runner where they had an imposed memory put
After playing a clip of Foxx claiming it was Republicans "who passed the
civil rights bills back in the sixties, without very much help from our
colleagues across the aisle," Matthews charged it was the GOP who became the
political "winners" in the South for "opposing civil rights." While Foxx's claim
wasn't entirely accurate, Matthews also needs a history refresher course as the
Republicans were pivotal
getting the legislation passed, something the late Paul
pointed out in a July
Republicans in the 87th Congress were determined to get the Black vote back
in the GOP column. It was they, under the leadership of Senate Republican Leader
Everett Dirksen (R-Il.), who drafted a very extensive Civil Rights Bill. They
didn't have the votes to pass the bill and there were some in the Republican
Party, such as Sen. Karl Mundt (R-SD), who opposed it.
Still, word was out in the Black community that the Republicans were looking
after them. President Kennedy, who contrary to current mythology was not a
popular President, worried that the Black vote might return to the GOP. In a
close re-election, which he anticipated would be the case, that would be fatal
to his chances. So he quickly introduced an alternative bill that some analysts
at the time said was not as potent as the Republican bill. No doubt that was an
effort to win over some Democrats who were not enthusiastic about the
It is easy to forget, with the disciplined leftwing Democrat caucus in the
current Senate in the 108th Congress, that not only were there Southern
Democrats back then who opposed the kind of legislation that Kennedy proposed
but such Northerners as Frank Lausche (D-OH.), Alan Bible (D-NV), and Mike
Monroney (D-OK), were not enthusiastic about it either.
Then President Kennedy was killed. Lyndon Johnson, a Southerner, used the
Kennedy death to push for the passage of the Civil Rights Bill in his name.
That did bring in a few more Democrats but not nearly enough to break a
filibuster - which back then required only 26 Senators to be successful.
It was the Republicans, with Dirksen leading the charge, who helped to
vote cloture, end the filibuster and pass the bill. Without the help of
Republicans, the Omnibus Civil Rights Bill would have been in the ashbin of
The following rants from Matthews were aired on the November 19 Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next wait 'til you hear the latest from Congresswoman,
whoa! Wait 'til you catch this. Well this is another version of The Dream, let's
put it that way. This is Virginia Foxx, in action. She's actually trying to say
- remember this? It was the Republicans, don't you remember? They are the ones
that pushed through civil rights back in the six[ties]-. Remember it was not the
Democrats, remember that? Interesting memory there. Next in the "Sideshow." I
think she's one of these replicants from Blade Runner where they had an imposed
memory put into them.
-Geoffrey Dickens is the senior news analyst at the Media Research
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball and what a "Sideshow" we have tonight.
First, those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Remember how the
1964 Civil Rights Bill killed the Democratic Party in the South, which it did?
Remember how Lyndon Johnson said that would happen, when he signed the bill?
Remember how what he predicted did come true, how the former Dixiecrats all
became Republicans? Remember? Well guess who doesn't remember? Or at least says
she doesn't. Here's North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx on the floor of
the House today, giving her version of recent history during a debate on the
REP. VIRGINIA FOXX: The GOP has been the leader in starting good
environmental programs in this, in this country, just as we were the people who
passed the civil rights bills back in the sixties, without very much help from
our colleagues across the aisle. They love to engage in revisionist history.
MATTHEWS: Well here are the facts. 46 Democratic senators voted for the Civil
Rights bill, 46 and 27 Republican senators. Well that's the numbers. I wouldn't
say that the Democrats passed it or the Republicans, I would just say more
Democrats voted for it than Republicans. But here's the bigger story. LBJ was
right. Backing civil rights cost the Democrats the South. And the Republicans
were the winners by opposing civil rights. She's wrong, history is right.