Dean on Diversity

Dean on Defense: The “White Christian” party.
National Review
By Peter Kirsanow
June 10, 2005

During a discussion with minority leaders and journalists on Monday, Howard Dean declared that Republicans are “a pretty monolithic party. They all believe the same. They all look the same. It’s pretty much a white Christian party.” He further stated that “the Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people” and Democrats are “more welcoming to different folks, because that’s the type of people we are.” Dean continued to defend his remarks as recently as Thursday. …

In terms of sheer historical hostility toward minorities, the Republican party fares a bit better than the competition. For example, it wasn’t the GOP that opposed the Emancipation Proclamation. Nor was it the GOP that opposed the Thirteenth Amendment prohibiting slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing equal protection, or the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteeing voting rights. (In fact, Republicans voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act in greater percentages than did Democrats.)…

Moreover, it wasn’t the Republican party that opposed Teddy Roosevelt’s anti-lynching legislation or that filibustered or otherwise opposed more than a dozen other anti-lynching provisions during the 20th century. Republicans didn’t institutionalize Jim Crow, implement school segregation, or establish poll taxes and literacy tests to keep non-whites from voting. Bull Connor, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, and Orval Faubus weren’t Republicans.

It wasn’t a Republican who ordered the internment of Japanese-American citizens (or Italians or Germans) during World War II. Nor were Republicans behind the Chinese exclusion acts or licensing requirements that discriminated against non-white businesses and tradesmen. While Dean maintains that Democrats are more welcoming to non-whites, several major media organizations have noted that the aggressive GOP outreach to minorities is far more vigorous than that of the Democrats.

USA Today recently noted that whereas Dean has been spending the bulk of his time preaching to the converted, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has maintained an exhausting schedule appearing before predominantly black, Hispanic, and Asian audiences. …

The GOP may have been missing in action in minority communities in the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties but Howard Dean must not have paid much attention to what’s been going on recently. Republicans still have lots of work to do, but now they’re playing offense while Dean’s on defense.