had the misfortune to be a militaryngenius as well as a good composer andnpassable writer of French prose. Andnsince Hitler extolled his military abilitiesn(though not his nationalism), Fredericknmust surely have been a proto-nNazi. The reasoning is open to question,nbut recurs with regularity, especiallynin tasteless reports about Frederick’snbones being dragged from anWest German castle (where his descendantnplaced them after World WarnII) and reinterred, with state honors, atnPotsdam. Both the journey and reintermentnhave been condemned by Westernnjournalists (as well as by ThomasnPrincipalities & Powersnby Samuel FrancisnOack in the days when Southern merchantsnhad to take the Ku Klux Klannseriously, the knights of the InvisiblenEmpire liked to play a neat little trick onna store owner who had strayed too farnfrom the path of racial rectitude thensecret society demanded of him. SeveralnKlansmen in plain clothes would dropnby the store and leave calling cardsnamong the items of merchandise onndisplay. When the merchant or hisnclerks found the cards later, they wouldnread, on one side, the polite inscription,n”You have just been visited by thenKnights of the Ku Klux Klan.” Turningnit over, they would see another, morenominous message: “How would younlike another visit?”nIn October 1990, fresh from winningn60 percent of the white vote innLouisiana’s senatorial election and forcingnthe Republican candidate to withdraw,nformer Klansman David Dukencalled on the U.S. Senate. The occasionnwas the Senate’s effort to overridenPresident Bush’s veto of the so-calledn”Givil Rights Bill of 1990.” Broodingnsilently in the gallery above the Senatenfloor, Mr. Duke didn’t leave any cards,nburn any crosses, or lynch any lawmakers,nbut the senators below neverthelessnunderstood the message. By onenvote they failed to override the veto, andnthe Givil Rights Bill died. They didn’tnwant another visit.nBut that was less than a month beforenone of those nasty little inconveniencesnof American government known asn10/CHRONICLESnMann’s usually intelligent son, respectednhistorian Golo Mann) as an ominousnevocation of Germany’s militaristicnpast.nPerhaps the Germans could avoid anrepetition of this contretemps if theyncould figure out the historical figuresnwhom they believe are worthy of note.nSuch a list might eventually includenBrandt, Marx, and Bertolt Brecht,namong other interwar German Stalinists.nA list of this kind would not benhard to compile, for all the historians ofnmy acquaintance whom the Germansnhave paid to study and teach in theirncountry hold proper views on thisncongressional elections, and even withoutnMr. Duke’s presence in the gallery,nit’s unlikely the senators would havenproceeded to pass the bill over the veto.nIn November, Senator Jesse Helmsnwon reelection after deploying on televisionna savage advertisement attackingnhis black opponent’s support of affirmativenaction, quotas, minority set-asides,nand the Civil Rights Bill itself, and innGalifornia Pete Wilson won the governorshipnby making similar noises aboutnwhite.racial discontent. For all its flaws,nnothing concentrates the mind of ansitting politician so wonderfully as annapproaching election.nBy January 1991, however, the crisisnwas over. There would be no electionnfor another two whole years, and sonliterally the first thing the new Gongressndid was to reintroduce the same bill.nLast spring, the House again passed it,nand Mr. Bush, who never fails to mentionnthe bill without swearing that henreally wants to pass some kind of civilnrights measure but just not this one,nagain threatens to veto it.nThe House passed the bill by exactlynthe same margin as last year and thereforenfailed to cough up sufficient votesnto override yet another veto. For opponentsnof the measure, that might seemnto be good news, but in the absence ofnan impending election, celebration isnunwarranted. No matter how concentratedntheir minds were in the fall ofn1990, politicians characteristically suffernfrom short attention spans, and it maynnnsubject. In fact, I have never known annAmerican scholar of German historynwho did not leave his host speaking ofnthat “pathological nation” with thatnirredeemably wicked history. The Germans’nrecord of support for their loudestndetractors may bear witness to theirncollective masochism, but it could alsonhelp identify those who are able tonprovide acceptable role models for annation seeking to “overcome the past.”nIn the meantime, there will be morenfinger-wagging about Old Fritz — andnabout others who have gone fromnbeing good to bad Germans.n— Paul Gottfriednrequire some further mental concentrationnon their part for them to remembernwho it is they really work for.nNor, perhaps, can we rely on Mr.nBush to cast his veto as he did before. ,nEven as he slew the civil rights beast innits legislative cave in 1990, he wasnpreparing to violate his most vocalnpledge against raising taxes, and hisnblood-oaths of another veto can bentaken no more seriously than his nownnotorious line in 1988 about “read mynlips.” Mr. Bush may do a mean GlintnEastwood when he’s dealing with SaddamnHussein, but when it comes tondomestic affairs, he’s Alan Alda.nMoreover, the pressures on the Presidentnfrom the bowels of his own partynand its allies are such that he maynwobble. Eadier this year, the BusinessnRoundtable, a gaggle of Big Businessnmanagers ever ready to do deals withnthe hard left, sought to make friendlynwith the civil rights elite to push thenmain features of the Democratic billnthrough. The bill’s close regulation ofnhiring and promotion practices withinnprivate business firms would create burdensnmainly on small. Middle Americannenterprises, and the commodores ofnhigh capitalism have ever been preparednto pitch their smaller brethren over thentopsides. As the Congressional Quarterlynpointed out in trying to explainnwhy Big Business favored a civil rightsnbill that would place legal and politicalnrestrictions on its own employmentnpractices, “companies such as AT&Tn