The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, December 09, 2002  

Human Events Speaks to Strom Thurmond

Ahead of the “celebration” marking the 100th anniversary of the appearance in flesh, blood, and bones of that which has become known as Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), the conservative weekly Human Events shared with its readers an interview with the “patriot, veteran, and statesman” conducted by John Gizzi. [Note: Their words, not mine.]

The interview with “Ol’ Strom” was conducted in 1996. You have to go back six years to find a walking, talking Thurmond. More nostalgia, I guess. It’s always nostalgia with these people.

Anyway, here’s a choice quote from the vaporizing senator from South Carolina:

When I ran for President on the States’ Rights Party ticket in `48, it was not a segregationist campaign. It was about just that: the rights of states against the power of the federal government. We carried four states [South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi], but President Truman never forgave me. When I went to his inauguration . . . he and Vice President Alben Barkley drove by in an open car and my wife and I waved. Barkley started to wave back, but Truman grabbed his arm and said “Don’t wave at that [expletive deleted].”

He did some good things, I suppose, like dropping that bomb to end the war. But he was also a very small man toward those who disagreed with him, like Gen. MacArthur and me.

And here’s Gizzi of Human Events putting it all in perspective for us:

Because of his “Dixiecrat” race for President in 1948 and his steadfast opposition to civil rights legislation that included speaking for 24 hours and 18 minutes on the Senate floor (the record for filibusters) in opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Act, it has been easy for the national media to characterize Thurmond as a racist. In truth, just like more liberal Southern senators such as J. William Fulbright (D.-Ark) and John Sparkman (D.-Ala), Thurmond did defend the segregationist practices of Southern states against what he deemed “a new kind of police state centered in Washington.” But he was not a hater of the Bilbo stripe and, while governor from 1946-50, successfully sought the abolition of the poll tax and more funds for black, albeit segregated, schools.

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