Former President Bill Clinton said during his speech before the Democratic National Convention that the “far right” in the Republican Party “learned to hate” President Obama and the Democratic Party, while he would only “often disagree with Republicans.
“Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats,” Clinton said. President Clinton then brought up racial segregation of the 1950’s and said, “After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate in Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system.”
It should be noted it was southern Democrats in 1957 who opposed desegregating the schools in Little Rock. In fact Politico pointed out in 2007 that when Clinton talked about the significance of the Little Rock event in 1997 he barely mentioned Republican President Eisenhower: (bolding is mine)
In 1997, Clinton stood at Central High and waxed poetic about the event’s significance in the civil rights struggle and in his own life. “It was Little Rock that made racial equality a driving obsession in my life,” he said. But in a 2,600-word elegy, Clinton mentioned Eisenhower only one time.
Clinton was not alone. For years, historians, like photo editors, have airbrushed the Little Rock scene so that Eisenhower hardly appears. Look closely: His vague image might still be seen at the picture’s edge. But if so, he is painted in shades of gray to note his supposed ambivalence.
Yet 50 years ago, Ike’s actions were not hard to see. They were bright, bold and bewildering to many leading Democrats. The political ancestors of today’s Democrats did not share the view that Ike didn’t do enough at Little Rock; they believed he had done too much.
Clinton’s revisionist history of may seem politically convenient to him but they are hardly truthful.