Southern Discomfort

Shortly before the midterms, NBC News asked Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) why Obama had low approval numbers in Louisiana. She first mentioned his energy policies, and then noted that, “the South has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans.”

Not really a controversial statement, given that whole slavery thing. But it infuriated conservatives. Bobby Jindal called it “remarkably divisive.” The state GOP chairman called it “insulting to me and to every other Louisianan.” The hot new right-wing news site IJR called it “an ugly, racially-charged comment.” 

A few years ago, Republicans would have responded to Landrieu’s comment with a statement like, “We all acknowledge the shameful treatment of African Americans in our past, but the Republican Party today renounces racism and is a big tent working to etc…” It’s not that hard. 

But today’s GOP can’t even bring themselves to do that much. They have to deny that racism in the South ever existed. And at the same time they’re acting all offended at the notion that the South “has not always been the friendliest place” for blacks, they’re busy enacting Jim Crow laws.