On page 543 of Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, Conrad Black says that Richard Nixon in 1968 "campaigned widely with Senator Edward Brooke, the African-American Massachusetts Republican, who was at this point the highest elected black official in the country's history."
After reading this passage, I became curious about
Edward Brooke. Who was he? Why was he a Republican? What kind of
Republican was he? Was he a conservative Republican, or a moderate or
I read the wikipedia article
about him. Apparently, I had heard the name before I read Black's
reference to him, since Edward Brooke is the person Barbara Walters
claimed she had an affair with throughout the 1970's. In terms of
political ideology, Brooke leaned more towards the more liberal George
Romney and Nelson Rockefeller wings of the Republican Party. Brooke
initially supported Romney for the 1968 Presidential nomination, then
In reading about Brooke, I wondered why
exactly he was a Republican. His positions (at least the ones that I
was reading about) struck me as socially, economically, and militarily
liberal. According to this article,
however, Brooke was not a fan of big government, and he believed in
promoting a strong work ethic (which is not to say that liberals don't
want people to work), as well as a balanced budget and "cutting costs".
The wikipedia article says that Brooke was a strong supporter of the
Job Corps, the Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, which were parts of Lyndon Johnson's Great
Society. Perhaps Brooke especially supported the parts of the Great
Society that would give people a hand-up, not just a hand-out.
I also found a line from this article excerpt to be interesting: "...it was Edward W. Brooke
who represented the most important moderating voice of black
conservatism. Yet his reasoned challenges to ultraconservatives,
including Barry Goldwater, won few blacks in the 1960s and 1970s
when civil rights leaders garnered support for liberal agendas."
was the first African-American Attorney General of a state, and the
first African-American elected by popular vote to the U.S. Senate.
Brooke won the election to U.S. Senate in 1966, and he served until he
was defeated by Democrat Paul Tsongas. You may remember Tsongas from
the 1992 Presidential election, or the Saturday Night Live skit in which Mike Myers played him. "Tsongas!"