Another appearance on the Glenn Show

Glenn and I discuss what Romney should have said to the NAACP, the extent that GOP candidates should acknowledge previous misdeeds such as the Southern Strategy, and other matters.

I do want to note one correction, where I was unfair to Barry Goldwater. He opposed civil rights legislation and believed there was a constitutional basis for segregated schooling. Goldwater had unsavory platform mates and allies in his southern campaigning. He deserves harsh criticism for these things. He may have made inflammatory comments in other contexts. (These rioting-based ads were what I was thinking about.) Yet I really cannot substantiate my comment made at 27:06 of the video. A web search and calls to historians come up dry. Based on what I can find in the historical record, Goldwater’s personal conduct and statements were better than I gave him credit for. (I should also have been more nuanced about Richard Epstein, who notes that Jim Crow segregation imposed “legal barriers that make it virtually impossible for individuals to enter freely into voluntary transitions with trading partners of their own choice, white or black.”)

My apologies to Glenn and to bh listeners for making a sloppy unsubstantiated comment.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

15 thoughts on “Another appearance on the Glenn Show”

    1. I don’t think that’s a fair treatment of Goldwater (even if one is willing to attribute Conscience of a Conservative to him, when, IIRC, Goldwater has admitted that Bozell wrote it).

      Those two sections Delong quotes are 16 pages apart dealing with different issues. The first section lays out what Goldwater sees as fundamental ideological differences between conservatives and liberals–he lays down a sort of Aristotelian view of social relations. This might imply the government has very little ability to alter these ‘natural’ relations among men. Now, of course, this was directed in large part against what conservatives perceived as the time as creeping government involvement.

      1. (hit enter too soon!)

        The second section deals with Goldwater’s concern over Warren Court precedent and whether the 14th Amendment altered the federal government’s role in education policy. Goldwater didn’t think so, and I think this belief was genuine and not driven by racial animus. Did Goldwater really seek to blow the dog whistle of racism 4 years prior to his run?

        1. I agree 100% that Barry Goldwater was lacking in racial animus (see also the comments below by Rich), and that his view was informed primarily by his “strict construction” philosophy, seeking to limit expansion of Federal powers beyond those specified explicitly.

          Having said that, and also believing he was a pretty smart fellow, it is a total mystery to me how he could have thought Brown v. Board was about Federal expansion of education policy. All you have to do is read the plain text of the fourteenth amendment, and the unanimous opinion of SCOTUS, to see it was about equal protection. The fourteenth amendment is about constraining the STATES: “No STATE shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

          How could a smart guy have been so blind to that difference?

  1. Barry Goldwater was more of a libertarian than a conservative. He favored legal abortion, gay rights, and cannabis legalization. Although he opposed laws prohibiting private discrimination as do many libertarians, he practiced non-discrimination in his private and business life. He championed Native American rights when the federal government acted against their interests. Goldwater’s department store in Phoenix had a policy of non-discrimination, benefiting Native Americans and Mexicans mostly, when other businesses did not. In the 1960s, blacks were a very small minority of Arizona’s population, so black discrimination was less of an issue there.

  2. As with your previous Bloggingheads encounter, Dr. Lowry’s deep desire to believe any line of disingenuous nonsense the Right throws his way clearly shines through. This time, I found the conversation about voter IDs especially offensive. Apparently granting the fact that these laws are an antidemocratic effort to diminish the franchise of communities closer to the opposing party, Dr. Lowry seemed uninterested, and blithely asserted that the answer was local ID-provision drives, done in minutes at the local shopping mall or the like. Dr. Lowry is either ignorant of, or simply doesn’t care, that his proposal is sheerest nonsense: you can’t have vounteers issuing government IDs anyplace they please, and in any case the people restricting voting access are hardly likely to make it easier to get the required IDs; they already constantly complain about the Motor-Voter law. We are hearing stories about people who lack photo IDs, lack all the necessary documents to procure them, and if they want them somehow have to come up with the money to buy those documents (duplicate birth certificates, for example), and the time and the money to travel a hundred miles to the nearest office that can issue them an ID. And Dr. Lowry doesn’t care, because to call this effort what it is would hurt his friends’ feelings.

    1. One wonders too if the old poll taxes only needed such last-minute voter drives. This seems yet another example of simplistic thinking on the right that favors entrenched inequities at the expense of policy nuance that accounts for social complexity. See: illegal immigration, harsh sentencing, progressive taxation, abortion rights, affirmative action, and progressivism in general.

      1. I know where all my family’s ID papers are — our birth certificates, social security cards, current and expired passports, etc. — they are in our safety deposit box at the bank. I never have to remember where I put them, unlike a lot of other things in this household.

        I sometimes wonder where all the low-income people who don’t have copies of these sorts of papers would store them if Glenn Loury’s fantasy came true and armies of volunteers and donors suceeded in helping the ID-less locate and pay for their ID papers. It seems to me to be a recipe for lots of future ID fraud, with all those unsecured papers about. So the next thing Glenn’s fantasy has to include is an organization that would store everything securely.

        1. Glenn’s a fool. The GOP is only being subtle enough to give the MSM an excuse for pretending to not know what’s going on. And (as I repeat below), one doesn’t have to go back far into history to see the GOP do this, and reap vast rewards.

    2. Ditto, Warren.

      And while we’re on the subject, I think the GOP efforts to steal this election in broad daylight are about 1000% more important than any like Romney tells about himself.

      At the same time, the sheer blatancy (I think that’s a real word…) may have woken up the Sleeping Beauty Justice Dept., which I wasn’t expecting. So there’s that.

      1. “At the same time, the sheer blatancy (I think that’s a real word…) may have woken up the Sleeping Beauty Justice Dept., which I wasn’t expecting. So there’s that.”

        Remember, this strikes to the core of Obama’s goals (and to the goals of most administration officials). If they didn’t fight this with 100% of their energy, they’d be fools.

        It’s well-established and recent history that the GOP will happily purge the rolls and steal a presidential election.

  3. Epstein:

    State-imposed segregation is the antithesis of what every libertarian theory requires, by imposing legal barriers that make it virtually impossible for individuals to enter freely into voluntary transitions with trading partners of their own choice, white or black.

    Sorry, but this is an unimpressive defense of the 1964 CRA. It seems to say that the only value of the act was to invalidate state segregation laws, and that continued systematic discrimination would have been acceptable as long as it was not required by law.

    But that is not true. It was not state law that drove segregation. It was racism, and segregation, that drove state law. Merely invalidating the Jim Crow laws would have done little or nothing to eliminate the practice. Look at how long schools remained segregated after 1954. Look at the fact that employment discrimination was virtually universal, despite generally not being mandated by law.

    What I discern lurking in Epstein’s opinion is the standard, badly mistaken, libertarian belief that economic incentives of various sorts would quickly have eliminated Jim Crow practices (Hey, streetcars!!) in the absence of state law. Neither history nor logic supports this idea.

    The Public Accommodations portions of the law were necessary not just as a way to broadly invalidate state legislation, but as a positive requirement that discrimination cease.

    1. “What I discern lurking in Epstein’s opinion is the standard, badly mistaken, libertarian belief that economic incentives of various sorts would quickly have eliminated Jim Crow practices (Hey, streetcars!!) in the absence of state law. Neither history nor logic supports this idea. ”

      What I discern is that, in the end, Epstein is a right-winger.

  4. Harold: “Goldwater’s personal conduct and statements were better than I gave him credit for. ”

    His personal conduct and statements matter nothing. He used racism as a political tool, and helped the neo-Confederacy get a new political home, when the Democratic Party became a tad bit uncomfortable.

    The fact that he pulled the ol’ statesman act when these evils were no longer profitable to him simply means that he was acting like a hitman – nothing personal, just (murderous) business.

    1. “The fact that he pulled the ol’ statesman act when these evils were no longer profitable”
      His actions are fairly consistent dating before his rise as a national political figure. He personally desegregated his family’s department stores as a private citizen, and desegregated Arizona’s air national guard (before the rest of the military) as colonel.

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