MSNBC: Pushing the Claim that Republicans Were Against 1964 Civil Rights Act

On MSNBC on October 27, Rachel Maddow interviewed Jane Hamsher, well-known Hollywood roustabout and left-wing blogger for The subject was the progress of Obamacare in the Senate and Senator Joe Lieberman’s warning that he might join a Republican filibuster of the Baucus bill if it contained the so-called public option.

During the discussion, however, Hamsher went off on a tangent about the 1964 Civil Rights Act and made the allusion that the famed anti-civil rights Dixiecrats joined Republicans to stand in the way of civil rights during the 1964 debates.

Maddow: Let me ask you about the statistic I attributed to you in my intro there – I know you have been doing some digging on this issue – of a Democrat joining a Republican filibuster. How, how unprecedented would a move like this be for Senator Lieberman?

Hamsher: Well, we have seen a number of the other party cross overs…well we remember the Dixiecrats joining the Republicans in the sixties on civil rights filibusters …

Naturally, host Maddow did not correct Hamsher’s misleading claim that the GOP stood in the way of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In reality, Republicans were great supporters of the legislation. Leave it to MSNBC to continue the left’s favorite myth that Republicans are against civil rights for blacks.

Of course, the truth is that the 1964 Civil Rights Act saw strong Republican support. In fact, of the total number of Republicans then serving in Congress support never dipped below 70% on any of the final vote counts. The original House version got 80% GOP support, the Senate version got 82% and the final vote in the House was 82% of Republicans in support. On the other hand, Congressional Democrats never saw higher than 69% of its membership in support of civil rights for blacks.

And who one of the leading voices in favor of passage? It was Illinois Senator Edward Dirksen, a Republican. Who was a leading voice opposing civil rights? Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat from West Virginia and still serving in that chamber.

If it were up to Democrats in 1964 the Civil Rights Act would never have passed. Yet here is the uninformed Hollywood Author Jane Hamsher of the extremist website FireDogLake falsely claiming that it was the GOP that stood in the way of civil rights for blacks. And it is MSNBC letting her get away with the falsity.

(Hamsher’s bit is at around the 4:10 mark)

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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's,,,,,, Human Events Magazine,, and the New Media Journal , among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism" heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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