in South Sees a Civil War It Can Win
lead the impeachment battle to punish Clinton for his social programs
and civil rights stands.
Los Angeles Times, Monday, December 21, 1998
© Copyright 1998 Los Angeles Times
Bob Barr of Georgia gives us an answer to why so many House Republicans
defy public opinion, ignore the advice of GOP governors, reject
the advice of party moderates in the Senate and are willing to
paralyze the government to nail President Clinton. Barr says that
they are fighting a civil war.
November 1997, Barr has been the point man for Southern Republicans
in calling for Bill Clinton's head. This isn't the usual conservative
political rage at a politician they regard as a corrupt, immoral,
big-spending, big-government Democrat.
who represents the mostly white, conservative, suburban 7th District
in Georgia, is a big booster of the Council of Conservative Citizens.
This is the outfit that issued "A Call to White Americans,"
has denounced blacks as intellectually inferior, champions the
Confederate flag and maintains tight ties to Klansman David Duke.
speeches, Barr has slammed the Congressional Black Caucus, opposed
hate crime laws and spending on social programs. His Web page
is linked to the pages of the most extreme right-wing groups in
the nation. His campaign against Clinton is part of the Republican
Party's Southern strategy to roll back the civil rights gains
and eliminate the social programs of the 1960s.
Barr is one of the most extreme GOP race-baiters in Congress,
he has got the political muscle to push the South's vendetta.
Southern Republicans control 82 out of 228 Republican House seats,
by far the largest single bloc in Congress. Clinton's victory
in 1992 temporarily derailed the Southern bloc's plan to gut civil
rights and social programs. Southern Republicans watched as more
than 85% of African Americans voted for Clinton in 1992 and 1996
and provided the swing vote for many Democrats in congressional
and state races this November. African Americans regard Clinton
more favorably than Jesse Jackson or Louis Farrakhan.
Southern bloc is distressed that the Congressional Black Caucus
has been Clinton's biggest defender against the GOP assault and
dismayed that far more African Americans than whites oppose impeachment.
These Republicans are disgusted that Clinton has appointed more
blacks to high administrative offices than any other president,
supported minority redistricting in the South, called for tougher
action against church burnings and convened the first-ever White
House conference to push for tougher penalties to combat hate
and his cohorts are enraged that Clinton is the first president
since Lyndon Johnson to empanel a commission to talk seriously
about racial problems and supported the U.S. Sentencing Commission's
recommendations to "equalize" the disproportionate drug
sentences given to minority offenders. They are affronted that
Clinton increased funding for job and education programs, made
numerous high-profile appearances at black churches, conferences
and ceremonies on school integration in the South and opposed
the anti-affirmative action Proposition 209 in California. They
are distressed that Clinton is the first president to travel to
and support economic initiatives in Caribbean and sub-Saharan
faster the Southern Republicans rush to dump Clinton, the greater
his popularity will be among African Americans. Many blacks see
impeachment as a thinly disguised attempt to hammer the president
for acting and speaking out on black causes, and as a backdoor
power grab for the White House in the year 2000--and they're right.
But as long as Southern Republicans control such a huge bloc of
congressional votes, they believe that impeachment is the civil
war they can win.