Please brace yourselves before reading this, lest your head spin too hard from the whiplash.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus, invoking the legacy of abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, asked a question at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans that many prominent Republicans have asked in recent years: Why does the party of Abraham Lincoln not get more credit as the party of tolerance?
“We’re the party of freedom and we’re the party of opportunity and we’re the party of equality, we’re the ones with that history,” Priebus said in his speech Thursday. “It’s the other side that has a shameful history, but you wouldn’t know it because we don’t talk about it.”
One reason people might get confused about this equality business is Priebus’s fellow speaker the event: Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.Unlike Priebus, Robertson is happy to discuss the “shameful history” the chairman alluded to in his remarks. In an interview with GQ last year, Robertson offered a detailed take on what life was like for black Americans in the segregation-era South.
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” Robertson said at the time. “Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word! … Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Robertson's speech topic: Republicans need Jesus.