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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Political realignment occurred along ideological rather than party lines

Dabney assesses the successes and failures of the Byrd regime and expresses his concerns for future politics. To Dabney, political party orientation labels are meaningless as he sees realignment organizing along ideological lines.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DANIEL JORDAN:
What about the present state of Virginia politics?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
The present state of Virginia politics is not to my liking. I think it is in a state of near disruption if not chaos; it is unpredictable and nobody knows what will happen. I am afraid that it is moving in the direction of the electing of Henry Howell as governor, which I do not view with the least pleasure.
DANIEL JORDAN:
Do you think that the Byrd organization is defunct?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
I think that it is completely defunct insofar as what we knew as the Byrd organization is concerned. The demise of the organization is good in some respects, I must confess. It was too conservative in various directions. It did have the virtue of seeing that honest, able men and women were elected to office. That was almost uniformly the case and today, I don't know of any flagrant examples of dishonesty, but I do fear that in the situation that we are confronted with, there is not nearly as much assurance as to the future on that score.
DANIEL JORDAN:
Do party labels mean much anymore in Virginia? We have a Republican governor, for example, but of course he was a great stalwart in the Byrd organization and was a Democrat through most of his career.
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
No, I don't think party labels do mean much and that may be a good thing in some respects, because there is such a thing as being too hidebound to being Republican or Democrat. But, we are tending to go in the other direction, it seems to me.
WILLIAM H. TURPIN:
Don't you see a realignment of the conservatives and liberals, regardless of party labels now, and as a basically conservative-liberal realignment?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
I think that's more nearly here than it has been at all, yes. I thought I saw it in previous years and it didn't happen, but I do think that it is more likely to happen today than in the past.