Original Sin: The GOP

(Community Matters) Original Sin Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people, I had a chance to read and have extracted several summarizing quotations.

. . . the Calhoun revival, based on his complex theories of constitutional democracy, became the justification for conservative politicians to resist, ignore, or even overturn the will of the electoral majority.

There is a strong sectionalist bias in these efforts. They flourish in just the places Kevin Phillips identified as Republican strongholds—Plains, Mountain, but mainly Southern states, where change invites suspicion, especially when it seems invasive, and government is seen as an intrusive force.

its aggrieved call, heard so often today, “to take back America”—that is, to take America back to the “better” place it used to be. Today’s conservatives have fully embraced this tradition, enshrining it as their own “Lost cause,” redolent with the moral consolations of noble defeat.

John Burt writes in his new book, Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism,”and it was with Calhoun that the issue was joined whether the United States is to be a liberal society, offering civil rights and possibly even political rights to all persons by virtue of their being human, or a merely republican society, offering procedural equality only to a handful of elite players.”

Romney’s disparagements of the “47 percent” and his postmortem assessment that Obama won because of the “gifts” he had lavished on blacks, young people, and women also repeat the dogma of an earlier time.

It is not a coincidence that the resurgence of nullification is happening while our first African American president is in office.

We are left with the profound historical irony that the party of Lincoln—of the Gettysburg Address, with its reiteration of the Declaration’s assertion of equality and its vision of a “new birth of freedom”—has found sustenance in Lincoln’s principal intellectual and moral antagonist. It has become the party of Calhoun.

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