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Jeff Davis
Jeff Davis

Jeff Davis is a retired radio-TV journalist living in Gainesville, GA. Active in civic and political affairs, he is past president of the Georgia Jaycees, former vice president of the US and the world Jaycees, former campaign chairman of the Georgia Republican party. He voluntarily serves as chairman of the Georgia Heritage Council. He is a collateral descendant of President Jefferson Davis and a member of SCV Camp 1418 in Cleveland, GA.

GOP Ascendency & Revisionism: Southern Strategy Vindicated-- Commentary by J. A. Davis

"Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party."" ---Winston Churchill

"...Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." ---George Orwell, [from "Politics and the English Language, Shooting an Elephant," 1950].

The awakening of the American public that we predicted sometime back appears to be taking place, at least in fragmented portions.

Whether it will take on the significance of a political groundswell remains yet to be seen. There are clear tremors taking place.

This revelation gives me the opportunity that has been begging for sometime that someone who was involved in the political leadership in Georgia and the South, to come forward with some truth about political history. I defy any of those who have tried to make it other than it is, to prove me wrong, by documentation.

First, let's address what is happening without the spin that the current leadership of the Republican party is trying to put on it.

It's a fact that the Republican compromisers on the Bush-Kennedy amnesty legislation are being rebuked by disenchanted Republican supporters in all areas of the country.

In Georgia, a multitude of Republicans attending their state convention, booed and hissed Saxby Chambliss. In South Carolina, the same, perhaps worse, for Lindsey Graham. In Arizona, the state Republican chairman makes no bones about the disgust with both U. S. Senators. He laments a deluge of Republican registration cards being sent to state headquarters and frankly admits there is trouble ahead unless the senators make a turnaround.

There are clear signs the implosion in the Republican party that we regretfully predicted is beginning. The question remains how serious the eruption will be.

When disenchantment and unrest takes place in politics, you can expect all sorts of planned distractions to take place. Some of the wagging the dog is just plain outlandish, perpetrated by current party spinmeisters who unfortunately have a following in the media and who have no idea of the real history, and all too often are too lazy or imbued in their agendas to know the truth.

The further back the tale goes, the less chance there is anyone who will expose the lack of credibility of the purveyors.

One of the big lies the current neocon oriented Republicans are trying to pass is the devourering of their own. You've probably heard or read how they sanctimoniously are labelling the historic Republican surge beginning in 1960 as some sort of racist, segregationist, continuing Dixiecrat movement.

As one who was involved, I can tell you this is well contrived poppycock to achieve both distraction and traction, with special interests they keep chasing with little or no success.

If you've watched and listened, you have even seen Republican leaders calling those of us who built the party, both white and black, some pretty nasty and unfounded names.

Meanwhile, they are losing, or have lost the real conservative base that has represented those red states that have continually supported them, until now.

It is an insult to me, but more insulting to the diligent Georgians and Southerners who were part of the embryo of the Southern Strategy that formulated the victories that began within four years of our formation and continued until the most recent elections where new "Republicans" have fouled their own nest.

Tell me how 'racist' these facts are and please check them out, I defy anyone to prove me wrong.

Vice President Richard Nixon, who had played with the idea of attracting Southern voters by directing more attention to state and local governments, developed a plan. The plan moved away from the encroaching federal controls that had been increasing at alarming speed since the thirties.

This did not include any lessening of civil or individual rights. It simply changed the direction of jurisdiction. For proof, compare the 1960 Republican and Democrat platforms. Both maintain similar goals and objectives.

As a civic leader in Georgia who had come to know Mr. Nixon in the Jaycees, and later when I worked with him in the Eisenhower People to People program, a friendship and continuing dialogue took place between us.

Ultimately, he was to ask me to serve on a then advisory group headed by Lee Potter in Virginia, which later became the Southern Strategy. Additionally, he asked me to serve as Georgia Republican campaign chairman.

In the latter connection, my job was simply to try to bring the Georgia Republican party into a competitive position. The highest vote count at that point was a weak 28% which went to a national hero, Dwight Eisenhower.

There was only one Republican in the Georgia General Assembly, a fellow named Roscoe Pickett. I jokingly named Roscoe minority leader. No one seemed to appreciate our lofty position.

I found a party in shambles. To understand, you need some history. Until 1952, the party was controlled by black Republicans. They were very conservative, and in fact, went to the 1952 Republican convention committed to Robert Taft from Ohio. In a knock down drag out credentials battle, the black leaders were unseated by a group of white Eisenhower supporters who took control of the party in Georgia.

After four years of the Eisenhower administration, the split was still evident. there were no gained Republican state elections and in 1956, a popular president polled only 28% of the Georgia vote.

My job in 1960 was an awesome one. Find a way to bring the dissident whites and blacks together, reach out and attract main line Georgians to step forward and work with us, and above all, to run a competitive campaign representing for the first time, a two party choice in Georgia.

Current new Republicans won't tell you so, but we were pretty successful in building a winning strategy. We were successful in doing something they can't do, that being a respectable black Republican vote. While the current new Republicans lanquish around 10 to 12%, we regularly polled 33% or more black votes against a real liberal Democrat machine. Let the numbers speak for themselves.

Meetings were held with black leaders, including Martin Luther King, Sr. and Mr. Scott at the Atlanta Daily World. From the group of blacks that joined in, I asked for a list of competent black people who could serve in meaningful political positions. In later years, many from my list did in fact serve in responsible positions. Racists? Baloney.

Next, I began discussions with many leaders throughout the state that I had known through my involvement on the state Chamber of Commerce board, or through Jaycees, or discerning Democrats who could agree we needed competitive two party politics.

Some openly identified, including Jimmy Carmicheal at the old Bell aircraft facility in Marietta, Baxter Jones, a prominent Atlanta attorney who brought many others with him, C. J. Broome, of Alma, a Democrat legislator and former head of the Georgia Press Association. Add to that folks like Randolph Thrower, a prominent attorney, Herman Lay, head of Lay's Potato Chips, Dillard Mumford, of Mumford Do It Yourself stores, other leaders like Ed Noble, the head of Lennox Square, Mrs. Hanson of the Biltmore, widow of Bill Candler, of Coca Cola.

Folks like Steve Knight in Columbus and Bo Calloway, joined in. Jaycee friends throughout the state set up volunteer headquarters. The Jaycees in the sixties had more than 8,000 members in 130 chapters in Georgia. While officially non partisan, their members individually cast a big shadow on Georgia politics.

we had many Democrats who didn't come out openly, but helped in many ways. Many were business and civic leaders in all of Georgia's major cities and even lesser populated counties. I can tell you the top executives of Coca Cola, Georgia Power, Southern Bell and many others were helpful in encouragement and in kind.

Young people flocked to our campaign, among my visitors and student advisors was a high school junior from Columbus, named Newt Gingrich. He was too young to drive then, but took a bus to Atlanta to share his input.

Perhaps the most effective of my open recruits was the Democrat Mayor of Atlanta, Willam B. Hartsfield.

Here's the story that goes with that. I had requested a visit to Atlanta by Dick Nixon during the campaign. It was turned down by Ray Bliss, GOP chairman as non productive. I called the Vice President to appeal the decison. He promised to get back to me, and he did. Together, we worked out a visit just before the official campaigning opened on Labor Day, during August.

Mayor Hartsfield and I had been friends for some time. I informed him of our plans. He enthusiastically came aboard, and asked that he be allowed to introduce Vice President Nixon.

What we did together, mostly him, is political history. More than 300,000 people of a metro area then, of less than a million, turned out to greet Dick Nixon. Some believe it to have been he largest politcal crowd in American history to that point. There was a ticker tape parade down Peachtree Street... The national press was admittedly astonished.

We had little in the way of funds and ran a shoestring campaign on under a hundred thousand dollars. This meant we could only organize and merchandise the ten most populous areas of the state. I selected ten to be fully implemented. We carried all ten in the election, with the possible exception that we carried Fulton County, but not the City of Atlanta.

We didn't carry Georgia, getting almost 38% of the vote, for the largest increase in the nation, about 10% over the most recent election in 1956.

This brings up another point. The spinmeisters will tell you that Georgia provided John Kennedy his largest percentage victory in 1960. That is true. What they don't tell you is that Georgia provided Dick Nixon with the largest percentage increase in Republican voting in the nation. In truth, Kennedy got 10% less in Georgia than his Democratic predecessor. Fairness, where art thou?

From that campaign we went on to carry the state in 1964 for Barry Goldwater and began to elect Republican legislators, county comissioners, mayors and council folks, all over the state. From there, to the Reagan surge to the 'Contract with America,' you can trace the overwhelming growth of the party and its dominance in Georgia politics. So dominant, in fact, that Democrats lined up to switch parties, and therein lies part of the current problem.

Now, I ask you, are the pioneers who built the party in Georgia racists? Do you associate these forward thinking leaders who brought two party politics to Georgia as anything less thas good patriotic citizens who love their state and all its people?

It's time to set the record straight. These are the people who built the foundation of the Republican party in Georgia. Now, those of us left have the obligation to honor them while we carefully watch the motives of those who deprecate them and who, now appear to be taking the great progress made down the proverbial toilet.

Jeff Davis is a retired radio-TV journalist living in Gainesville, GA. Active in civic and political affairs, he is past president of the Georgia Jaycees, former vice president of the US and the world Jaycees, former campaign chairman of the Georgia Republican party. He voluntarily serves as chairman of the Georgia Heritage Council. He is a collateral descendant of President Jefferson Davis.

Chambliss has to go! - J.A. Davis

Three Amnesty Amigos of Georgia - X-Files

Have you ever wondered why Senator Chambliss ignores the citizens? -

Republicans and Democrats Differ on Proposed Border Signage - X-Files

Confusing 'Republican' and 'Conservative' - J.A. Davis

Forget Party! Vote for REAL Conservatives - J.A. Davis

Georgia History: Let's Talk About the Rest of the Story - J.A. Davis

Needless Political Lies and Deception - J.A. Davis

Georgia Politics Deja Vu - J.A. Davis

Constitutional Concerns - J.A. Davis

Standing Against Lies - J.A. Davis

It's Time for a Change - J.A. Davis

It's Time for a Change...Ad Infinitum - J.A. Davis

Citizens will arise, but when? - J.A. Davis

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff - J.A. Davis

Atlanta's Business Stupidity Rides Again - J.A. Davis

3rd American Revolution - Part 1 - Frank Conner

3rd American Revolution - Part 2 - Frank Conner

A Citizen Congress Could Restore Constitution - Cato Institute

Constitutional Futility - Thomas J DiLorenzo

The Silent Revolution - Joseph Sobran

Contact: Telephone 770 297-4788 P-6, 2363 North Cliff Colony Drive Gainesvlle, GA  30501


Copyright © 2003-2012,
Georgia Heritage Council | 2121 Hollywood RD
Atlanta, GA 30318

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