[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
What is it with Southern Republican candidates and their impulse to whitewash history?
First we had Haley Barbour trying to whitewash the history of the old White Citizens Councils.
Now we've got Mike Huckabee, trying out some new talking points yesterday on Fox News with Stuart Varney, while discussing the latest Fox fake scandal, this time involving the White House supposedly shipping unions money through the health-care reform law. First, he tried claiming that union supporters of Democrats are actually a form of "forced labor":
HUCKABEE: Stuart, they can't win if they don't have the unions' support. Unions are declining as a part of the overall American workforce, and yet the Democratic Party knows -- and it's not just the money, they get hundreds of millions of dollars from unions, but as important as the money is the manpower. Because the union workers will go out and they will work the polls and they will get people to the polls, and they will put up signs and they will staff rallies. And the Democrats know they've got to have that sort of forced labor, which is what it is.The historical revisionism came a little later in the segment, while discussing their shared enthusiasm for repealing the health-care reform act:
HUCKABEE: I hope, if it doesn't die its death one way, it dies it the other. You know, it really doesn't matter. I think the courts will ultimately rule that it is unconstitutional -- that it is forcing people to buy a product in the private-sector marketplace in order to really be citizens. It's the equivalent of a modern-day poll tax. So I think they'll throw it out.Just so everyone understands the analogy he's making -- as well as the absurd claim about the health-care law, here's Wikipedia on the Poll Tax:
In U.S. practice, a poll tax was used as a de facto or implicit pre-condition of the exercise of the ability to vote. This tax emerged in some states of the United States in the late 19th century as part of the Jim Crow laws. After the ability to vote was extended to all races by the enactment of the Fifteenth Amendment, many Southern states enacted poll tax laws which often included a grandfather clause that allowed any adult male whose father or grandfather had voted in a specific year prior to the abolition of slavery to vote without paying the tax. These laws, along with unfairly implemented literacy tests and extra-legal intimidation, achieved the desired effect of disenfranchising African-American and Native American voters as well as poor whites who immigrated after the year specified.In Arkansas, it was a cornerstone of Jim Crow, and led to the disenfranchisement of 80 percent of its voting population.
Initially, the United States Supreme Court, in the case of Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277 (1937), found the poll tax to be constitutional. The 24th Amendment, ratified in 1964, reflecting a political compromise, abolished the use of the poll tax (or any other tax) as a pre-condition in voting in Federal elections, but made no mention of poll taxes in state elections.
In the 1966 case of Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections the Supreme Court overruled its decision in Breedlove v. Suttles, and extended the prohibition of poll taxes to state elections, declaring that the imposition of a poll tax in state elections violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Is there even the slightest whiff that failure to buy health insurance will lead to any citizen's disenfranchisement under the new health-care law? That it would even hint at enhancing a system of racial segregation?
Ah, no. No one believes that, and no one has previously claimed that. Though there has been talk about 16,000 new IRS agents descending upon an unsuspecting populace.
I guess it's a lot easier to just make stuff up when you also also believe the President was raised among Mau Maus in Kenya.