Is it just me or is the clarification more confusing than the original?

Haley Barbour has gotten himself into some hot water the last few days.  According to the linked-to AP article, Barbour originally said, “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. 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.” 

Even though it appears that statement was entirely true, when challenged Barbour tried to explain,””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.”

So, the city leaders did the right thing but their “vehicle” was totally indefensible because it was called a Citizens Council and that’s a bad choice of names?  What, exactly, is he accusing his town leadership of?  I know I’m a little slow sometimes, but that reads like political double-talk to me.  Anyone else have a better understanding of what Barbour is saying?

Oh, and this ran on the web site with a subheading “GOP favorite for 2012?”  What, if any, effect will this have on Barbour’s chances, and what are his chances anyway?  And what do you make of the subheading?  Is it a MSM effort to link perceived racist comments with the whole Republican party or merely an acknowledgement that the story is important because of of Barbour’s place in the party?  Okay, that last may be a bit paranoid, but still . . .

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    You read it correctly, ‘political double speak’. To paraphrase, I voted for it before I voted against it.
    For more information about that boycott by the Yazoo City council, here’s a key excerpt from a contemporary article by David Halberstam in Commentary magazine, entitled “The White Citizens Councils: Respectable Means for Unrespectable Ends”:

    “Look,” said Nick Roberts of the Yazoo City Citizens Council, explaining why 51 of 53 Negroes who had signed an integration petition withdrew their names, “if a man works for you, and you believe in something, and that man is working against it and undermining it, why you don’t want him working for you-of course you don’t.”

    In Yazoo City, in August 1955, the Council members fired signers of the integration petition, or prevailed upon other white employers to get them fired. But the WCC continues to deny that it uses economic force: all the Council did in Yazoo City was to provide information (a full-page ad in the local weekly listing the “offenders”); spontaneous public feeling did the rest.

  • Cheesestick

    No, I don’t think it is double speak.  Basically, what he said the day before was that he didn’t experience a lot of strife during desegregation because the Klan wasn’t allowed in his town.  He gave credit to the Citizen’s Council for having kept the Klan out (which they did do), and which resulted in a more peaceful desegregation process.  The gasoline on the fire was due to him not making clear that the Citizen’s Council, while rightfully opposed to the KKK and their tactics, was still every bit on board w/ segregation.  Which, I’m not sure he actually knew before this whole thing blew up.  He certainly knows now….

  • Earl

    The problem is that before 1956, it was the “White Citizens’ Council”…..and they were firmly segregationist.  They recommended economic weapons, rather than violence like the Klan.  See:
    In 1950s America, this was definitely a better choice than others available to Haley Barbour and the people of his town….but sadly, a lot of folks aren’t wiling to use 1950s standards to judge the actions of folks who lived back then.  Most liberals imagine that THEY would have stood tall for integration in a small Southern town, and anyone who did not, and is also conservative, will be vilified.
    You can read about this kind of stuff in Liberal Fascism, which I recommend highly – buy yourself a belated Christmas present.