Robinson, Now a 'GOP Hero,' Hated GOP

RNC touts baseball legend who compared party to Nazis
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2009 9:40 AM CDT
Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel, pose in their Connecticut home in 1962.   (AP Photo/File)
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(Newser) – Whoops. The RNC’s new “GOP Heroes” website devotes a page to baseball legend Jackie Robinson, declaring him a “great Republican” who campaigned for Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller. There’s just one problem: Robinson was a registered independent who professed he’d “never identified with one party or another,” and condemned the GOP for its racial tactics, notes Greg Sargent of The Plum Line.

Robinson did indeed campaign for Nixon and Rockefeller, but Goldwater’s primary defeat of Rockefeller wounded him badly. He called 1964’s GOP convention “one of the most frightening experiences of my life,” full of hatred directed at Rockefeller and his racially enlightened stance. “A new breed of Republicans had taken over the GOP,” he wrote in his autobiography. “I had a better understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.”