Washington Post, E.J. Dionne, “Thurmond’s GOP”

[…] African Americans in the South are among the best-known victims of states’ rights claims, but they were not alone in having to turn to the federal government to seek vindication for their rights. It also took federal power to advance the rights of workers (through the Wagner Act and wages and hours laws), to protect consumers and to guarantee the rights of small investors. Federal law protects the rights of women, the disabled and members of religious minorities.

Yes, it’s good that many Republicans have come out against what Lott said. But it’s significant that many of his earliest and most forceful critics were neoconservative former Democrats (Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol come to mind) who never shared the old states’ rights faith. The first Republican senator to issue an outright call on Lott to quit was Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee, who, as his first name suggests, speaks from his party’s oldest tradition of support for federal power. […]

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