Maddow Revisits Buchanan Segment, Adds Corrections (VIDEO)

Rachel Maddow took some time last night to revisit last week's segment with Pat Buchanan, in which they argued over affirmative action policy in the context of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, whose appointment to the Supreme Court would be a major opportunity cost to white people everywhere. Lacking Buchanan's presence, Maddow averred that while it was "not cool to talk about guests after their segment was over," and that it would be unfair to "re-litigate" the argument in the absence of a litigant, she would be offering various factual corrections.

Said corrections included Buchanan's statement that "[Sotomayor has] never written anything that I've read in terms of a law review article or a major book or something like that on the law." As it happens, Sotomayor has written at least five law review articles, though Maddow was obviously unable to verify whether Buchanan had managed to read them. Additionally, his assertion that Sotomayor was admitted to the Yale Law Review via affirmative action was not factually accurate. A spokesman from Yale Law School said that students pick who is on the law journal, and that the affirmative action claim was simply, "A statement of opinion by Mr. Buchanan."

But, more to the point, there was this statement:

"White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks."

This was a matter that I was basically able to pick apart into something resembling oblivion in just a matter of minutes. Maddow was able to do much more:

MADDOW: Pat joined us for this discussion from a studio in Washington, DC, that is not far from the White House, which was of course built by slaves. Who were not white folks. The U.S. Capitol, the physical building was built by slaves. The city of Washington, DC, where Pat has spent his entire life was physically built, in part, by slave labor. It's not even possible to imagine how America could have competed in a place in the global economy in the 1800s without plantation cotton and tobacco and sugar and rice and the industries so thoroughly dependent on slave labor.

BUCHANAN: [TAPE] This has been a country built basically by white folks.

MADDOW: That statement is only true if you don't consider any one other than white folks to be folks. Even if you only consider slave labor, even if, for example, you reimagine the railroad somehow magically building themselves without Chinese laborers, the idea that only white people built America is a fantasy and it should not have been maintained on this show as fact. As for who has died for this country in combat? More than 200,000 Black Americans fought for the Union in the Civil War. Thousands even fought for the Confederacy. 1.2 million African-Americans served in World War II, and yes, they were among those who stormed the beaches at Normandy. The Defense Department says almost 10,000 Mexican-Americans fought for the Union during the Civil War. Hundreds of thousands of Hispanics served in the armed forces during World War II. 12 Hispanics awarded the Medal of Honor. 24 Asian Americans received the Medal of Honor. For heroism in World War II.

BUCHANAN: [TAPE] This has been a country built basically by white folks.

MADDOW: That's just not true. I love white folks. I'm white folks. Yay, white folks! It's just not factually true to generalize from white experience to explain how America came to be.

Now, this part sort of feels like a re-litigation of the previous segment! But what the heck: it's delish!

MADDOW: Also, a clarification. Pat said over and over again in our discussion that he is against affirmative action. Rick Perlstein, who wrote the book Nixonland, turned up a memo in 1971 which Pat actually suggested an affirmative action program to Richard Nixon's White House. It was an affirmative action program for Catholics.

"Instead of sending the orders out to all our agencies -- hire blacks and women -- the order should go out -- hire ethnic Catholics, preferable [sic] women for visible posts. One example: Italian Americans, unlike blacks, have never had a Supreme Court member...Give those fellows the 'Jewish seat' or 'black seat' on the Court when it becomes available."
In other words, choose a Supreme Court nominee in part on the basis of ethnicity and religion, said Pat to Nixon.


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