I neglected to include this gem in my previous piece on Herman Cain’s recent GQ interview:
CAIN:… I grew up in the South during the civil rights movement. The Democrats co-opted the credit for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But if you go back and look at the history, a larger percentage of Republicans voted for that than did Democrats. But a Democrat president signed it, so they co-opted credit for having passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
This would make sense if you ignored history — just as Godfather’s Pizza would be the best in the country if you excluded pizzas from New York, Chicago, and California. Oh, and Domino’s, Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, and DiGiorno.
From the actual Congressional vote:
Of the 420 members who voted, 290 supported the civil rights bill and 130 opposed it. Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34; Democrats supported it 152-96. It is interesting to note that Democrats from northern states voted overwhelmingly for the bill, 141 to 4, while Democrats from southern states voted overwhelmingly against the bill, 92 to 11.
It is also disingenuous for Cain to compare the Republicans of the 1960s to the Tea-Party-co-opted far-right group of today. The Rockefeller Republicans are no more. Much of this was due to Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” of 1968 — “efforts to use race as a wedge issue — on matters such as desegregation and busing — to appeal to white southern voters,” for which then-Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman actually apologized.
“By the ’70s and into the ’80s and ’90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out,” Mehlman says in his prepared text. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”
To borrow from the Godfather of Soul, the Godfather of Pizza insists on “talking loud and saying nothing.”