Really, don’t believe me that Jesse Helms was a bigot who sincerely hated black people from the bottom of angry old heart. Others are noting the passage of an evil old racist. The Washington Post details the ways in which he used hatred and oppression of those of Africans not just here in the U.S. but those abroad for his own gain. The man had the nerve to refuse to attend Nelson Mandela’s address during a joint session of Congress in 1990. While he never tapped the uh, chocolate milk, like fellow bigot and hypocrite Strom Thurmond, I can’t see I’m sorry to see professional racists like him out of power. Yet, as the perennial senator from North Carolina, Helms was highly influential in setting the Republican agenda we know today and was a pioneer of GOP racebaiting tactics. I’m pretty sure Barack Obama’s very good shot at becoming president probably had Helms choking on his oatmeal each morning. Here are a few choice excerpts from their obituary of an old playahata. Let’s look back at Helms’ record over the years:

When Helms announced in 2001 that he would retire from the Senate, Washington Post columnist David S. Broder described him as “the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country.”


In his two final races, in 1990 and 1996, Helms defeated former Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt in bitterly contested campaigns that attracted national attention. Helms designed his campaigns against the African American Gantt to be about “North Carolina values” vs. “extreme liberal values,” and Helms made it clear where he stood.

Helms campaigned against what he described as liberal efforts to give unfair preference in hiring and education to racial minorities. One of his TV ads showed the hand of a white man crumpling a rejection letter as an announcer intoned: “You needed that job. And you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority.”

The Justice Department admonished his 1996 campaign for civil rights violations after it mailed 125,000 fliers to heavily African American precincts warning that voters risked imprisonment if they cast ballots.

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