In today's Lawrence Journal-World, liberal columnist David Broder discusses Sen. Mitch McConnell and his new position as leader of the GOP senators:
"Ask Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to name his role models for his new responsibilities as the leader of Senate Republicans, and the answer is surprising. 'Mike Mansfield and George Mitchell,' he replied the other day. 'I know they’re both Democrats, but I admire the way they ran things here.'"
Broder then wrote the following:
"Mansfield allowed Everett McKinley Dirksen, his Republican counterpart, to claim most of the credit for the civil rights bills of the 1960s...."
Mansfield did not "allow" Dirksen to claim most of the credit. Dirksen rightfully earned that credit.
Mansfield was unable to prevent a 74-day filibuster led by members of his party when the 1964 Civil Rights Act was being debated. In the end, just 69 percent of Senate Democrats voted for the act. Eighty-two percent of Dirksen's Republicans voted for the act.
When the Voting Rights Act of 1965 came up for a vote, 94 percent of Senate Republicans voted for it, while 17 Democrats voted against it.
Dirksen gets most of the credit for the civil rights bills of the 1960s because his Republicans passed those bills over the opposition of a large percentage of Senate Democrats.