Gov. Haley Barbour Realizes He Made a Big Mistake
From the “Saw This Coming” department: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is desperately trying to walk back his statements defending the segregationist White Citizens’ Councils: Barbour clarifies: Citizens councils ‘indefensible’.
When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns’ integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn’t tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the ‘Citizens Council,’ is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time.
Just for comparison, here’s the quote from Barbour’s Weekly Standard interview. If the Citizens’ Councils were “totally indefensible,” why did Barbour defend them — in a friendly interview?
“You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK,” said Barbour. “Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”
And why did Barbour’s official spokesman deny the Citizens’ Councils were racist groups?
“It was an organization in Yazoo City that was, you know, a group of the town leaders and business people,” Turner responded, then referring back to Barbour’s comment. “And they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. And that doesn’t sound like a racist to me. Does it to you?”
But now we’re supposed to believe he wasn’t praising or defending them? Barbour clearly realizes he made a mistake; he blew the dog whistle a bit too loudly.