Politico: “To many on the right, it was Helms, not Reagan, who was the true heart of the conservative movement.”
Mitch McConnell: “Today we lost a senator whose stature in Congress had few equals, . . . Senator Jesse Helms was a leading voice and courageous champion for the many causes he believed in.”
Jesse Helms: “The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men’s rights.”
Of course as tends to be the case with Helms’ most repugnantly racist bile, he said that a good ways back in the past. But even at that time, most Americans managed not to be repugnant racists. But not Helms. And unlike a lot of people who did take the white supremacist line in the 1950s and 60s, Helms never apologized and, indeed, never backed down doing things like mounting a filibuster against making Martin Luther King Day into a federal holiday. Remarkably, mainstream American conservatives are eager to tell us that this man is their hero. Even more remarkably, you sometimes hear conservatives talk about reaching out to black voters.