Real America?

Alan Dershowitz blasts Clinton critic Rep. Bob Barr for a speech to white supremacists.


Joan Walsh
December 12, 1998 1:00AM (UTC)

Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., one of President Clinton's fiercest critics on the House Judiciary Committee, gave the keynote speech at a June National Board Meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white-rights group whose Web site preaches against miscegenation and integration.

The CCC's newsletter features photographs of a smiling Barr posed with organization leaders, in among ads hawking Confederate flags, demanding immigration reform and preaching "Integration is genocide." One newsletter columnist blasts the media for "promot[ing] racial intimacy and miscegenation," by featuring black-white romance on television. The Web site features an editorial, "A Call to White America," which urges whites to "begin today to lay the foundations for our future and our children's future."

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The CCC is at the hub of a Southern traditionalist movement that is still trying to undo the loss of the Civil War. Its Web site attacks Abraham Lincoln as a socialist, Martin Luther King Jr. as a communist and French enlightenment writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau as "insane." Its most recent big event was a trip to France, where its leaders presented a Confederate flag to French National Front leader Jean Marie LePen. LePen, whose own racist and anti-immigrant views are internationally known, told his visitors, "Oh, I certainly recognize that flag. We are sympathetic to the Confederate cause."

Congress and the news media were alerted to Barr's CCC appearance by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who testified against impeachment before the House Judiciary Committee Dec. 1. In that hearing, Barr dismissed the testimony of Dershowitz, Judge Leon Higginbotham, legal writer Jeffrey Rosen and George Washington University law professor Steven Schwartzberg as irrelevant to "real America." Dershowitz alleged the reference to "real America" was a code for racism and antisemitism, since it was used to denigrate the pro-Clinton views of three Jewish lawyers and a black judge.

Barr told CNN that Dershowitz is "trying to label me a racist because I attended an event at which there are people who have views that are decidedly different from mine."

Dershowitz disclosed Barr's CCC connection in a letter to Committee Chairman Henry Hyde. In the letter, a copy of which was faxed to Salon, the Harvard law professor noted that Arkansas Lieutenant Gov. Mike Huckabee canceled a scheduled speech before the CCC when he learned what the organization stood for, but Barr did not. Former Ku Klux Klan wizard David Duke addressed the group in 1995 and called for "a white revolution in America."

Dershowitz sent his letter to Hyde Dec. 4. But it was just made public on Friday, almost a week later, when Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., asked that it be introduced into the formal committee record. Barr asked that his reply to Dershowitz, which attacked the lawyer for his role in the O.J. Simpson case, also be entered into the record.

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Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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