So Haley Barbour signs off on white supremacist groups as long as they’re upscale types instead of the Bud-drinking rednecks of the KKK. This is the least surprising news of possibly all time. But there was one aspect of this story that really leaped out at me:
In interviews Barbour doesn’t have much to say about growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said. “I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.”
Did you go? I asked.
“Sure, I was there with some of my friends.”
I asked him why he went out.
“We wanted to hear him speak.”
I asked what King had said that day.
“I don’t really remember. The truth is, we couldn’t hear very well. We were sort of out there on the periphery. We just sat on our cars, watching the girls, talking, doing what boys do. We paid more attention to the girls than to King.”
So, we’re expected to believe that a 15-year-old Haley Barbour and his group of I-guarantee-all-white friends went to a King speech, hung out in the periphery showing off for the girls and mostly ignoring the speech…..and that he and his buddies were just curious what King had to say? This curious young man then went on a mere six years later to work on the Nixon campaign of 1968, known for its innovative use of the Southern strategy. He is now a defender of a white supremacist group whose sole mission was to use economic and social intimidation to maintain segregation.
And we’re supposed to believe he and the other strapping young white men who accompanied him to stand on the edges of a civil rights rally were just curious what the speaker had to say?
Interesting. I have other theories about their motivations, but I’m also interested in what commenters have to say.