A commenter questions Matt Yglesias's questioning of Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich talked about having "a voting standard that says to vote, as a native born American, you should have to learn American history." Yglesias liken this to "the kind of techniques that were used to prevent African-Americans (and many poor whites as well) from voting in the Jim Crow South."
Well, you can expect to hear the Jim-Crow-South meme from Democrats whenever there's any talk about about restrictions on voting. We're hearing it in Wisconsin over the voter ID law. Republicans who want to pursue these issues need to have some good responses ready.
The most conventional response is: The Jim Crow South was the work of the Democratic Party. But Republicans shouldn't be too smug about that. Obviously, Democrats think all those Democrats would be Republican today.
The question I've used as the title of this post suggests the beginning of one response, but it needs to be filled out with some substantive, believable vision of a better future. Gingrich had some substance: He wants schools to do a much better job of teaching American history. But he could have stayed with that, not brought up the notion of "a voting standard." If that was an idle rhetorical flourish, it was incompetent, because he handed a chunk of red meat to his enemies.