What Do Haley Barbour and George Allen Have in Common?

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    What do George Allen and Haley Barbour have in common? They both had their pictures taken – eagerly! – with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups.

    First, Haley Barbour, who is currently being pounded by the NAACP and historians for his “revisionist history” version of Mississippi – and American – history with regard to civil rights, racism, etc.

    Republican gubernatorial nominee Haley Barbour says he will not ask for his picture to be removed from the national Web site of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

    The site for the St. Louis-based group features Confederate flags and has links to articles such as “In defense of racism” and offers books on why the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. doesn’t deserve a national holiday and why Germany should be cleared of the “blood libel of the ‘Holocaust.”‘

    Barbour said in an interview Thursday that white supremacist and anti-Semitic views on the CCC site are “indefensible,” but he does not want to tell any group it cannot use his picture or statements.

    Next, George Allen, who we learned in the 2006 U.S. Senate campaign was…

    viewed by his football teammates as a “man with racist attitudes at ease using racial slurs.” We also learned that Allen had “placed a severed deer head in a mailbox that he believed to be owned by a black family.” And, of course, we learned that Allen called an Indian-American “macaca.” Then, there’s this:

    In 1996, when Governor Allen entered the Washington Hilton Hotel to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative movement organizations, he strode to a booth at the entrance of the exhibition hall festooned with two large Confederate flags–a booth operated by the CCC, at the time a co-sponsor of CPAC. After speaking with CCC founder and former White Citizens Council organizer Gordon Lee Baum and two of his cohorts, Allen suggested that they pose for a photograph with then-National Rifle Association spokesman and actor Charlton Heston. The photo appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of the CCC’s newsletter, the Citizens Informer.

    According to Baum, Allen had not naively stumbled into a chance meeting with unfamiliar people. He knew exactly who and what the CCC was about and, from Baum’s point of view, was engaged in a straightforward political transaction. “It helped us as much as it helped him,” Baum told me. “We got our bona fides.” And so did Allen.

    And Republicans wonder why they only got about 4% of the African American vote in 2008, and similarly low percentages generally speaking? Now, they’re working on replicating this phenomenon with Hispanic-Americans and of course GLBT Americans. We’ve also got the Republicans’ allies in the Tea Party movement trying hard to alienate Methodists. Then there’s this, in Texas. Not to mention the GOP’s anti-women stances on a wide variety of fronts, which helps explain the wide “gender gap” we’ve seen for several election cycles now. Eventually, if the Republicans keep working hard enough at this, they’ll be left with a pure white, evangelical, male party. The only problem is, they won’t be a particularly successful political party. But whatever, go for it guys!