17 June 2008

Keepin' it Classy

As seen at the Texas GOP convention. How did this guy not get thrown out of the building? Are the organizers dumb, or just permissive of overt racism in their party's discussions?

Most (actually all) of the republicans I personally know are decent people who I would assert are not racists and in fact would violently react against any racially insensitive rhetoric. But it's hard to deny that there is a deep, dark racist core to the modern GOP. It's no secret that it was in reaction to to the Civil Rights Act that the Old Confederacy states flipped from being solidly democratic to solidly republican. Reagan ran on a States' Rights platform, commonly understood as code for racial segregation and famously campaigned against "welfare queens," also code for "black freeloaders."

That was 30 years ago, and I had hoped that today's republican party had progressed beyond that. I guess I gave them too much credit. Pat Buchanan recently derided Obama as too "exotic" to win; fortunately a co-panelist called him on it, asking him "What's exotic? Is "exotic" code for "black"? I don't understand what exotic means." and forcing Buchanan to back off of the statement somewhat.

At this point, it's just a matter of time before some republican starts calling Barack Obama "Boy."

23 comments:

  1. I think hanging the racist tag on Reagan is unfounded. The euphemism you claim is "commonly understood" is not really so much commonly understood. I actually believe in increasing states' rights, and I do not mean it euphemistically. Even the citation you made had this as about half of the entire entry:

    Wallace, however, claimed that segregation was but one issue symbolic of a larger struggle for states' rights; in that view, which some historians dispute, his replacement of segregation with states' rights would be more of a clarification than a euphemism.

    I think you way over-reached.

    And the guy wearing that button should have it tatooed to his forehead and dropped in Southeast D.C. Just for fun.

    edpvg

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  2. First of all, there is no way on earth that Reagan's "State's Rights" speech, delivered in Philadelphia Mississippi can be interpreted in any way other than as a throw-out to the race-baiting element of the southern electorate.

    Having said that, you are right that the bigger question of "State's rights" may be addressed without necessarily invoking racism; witness the struggle for marriage equality playing out state-by-state, as many say it ought.

    But still, the only major battles that have *ever* been fought over state's rights are the right to hold human beings as slaves, and the right to racially segregate society. It will be very hard to de-link the "state's rights" rallying cry from white supremacy.

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  3. Come on, doc. You are sounding as bad as Rush Limbaugh does, just on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

    You say:

    But still, the only major battles that have *ever* been fought over state's rights are the right to hold human beings as slaves, and the right to racially segregate society. It will be very hard to de-link the "state's rights" rallying cry from white supremacy.

    How about gay marriage, prohibition, drug legalization, gun legislation, or any of the other issues people invoke state's rights for?

    Your hate for the Republican party is messing with your logic circuits. There are plenty of good and bad things in both parties to argue about without making silly insinuations.

    For the record, I am a Libertarian - neither a Republican or a Democrat.

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  4. States rights has been a code for white rule for more than fifty years and just becasaue a person hasn't heard of it, doesn't change that fact. Before Wallace -- going back to the Dixiecrats of the immediate post WWII period. Reagan was old enough to know the source and so am I.

    Actual states rights are another question and you'd be better off using another tterm -- one that hasn't been tainted by its racist origin.

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  5. I don't see any code word for black in Buchanan's remark.

    Merriam Webster definition #3: strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual.

    I believe he was just referring to the fact that Obama has a Kenyan father, was raised in Indonesia and Hawaii, and has an unusual name. That's exotic. It may or may not hurt his chances to win.

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  6. There is no way on earth that Reagan's "State's Rights" speech ... can be interpreted in any way other than as a throw-out to the race-baiting element of the southern electorate.

    Perhaps not in the insular world of the faux-progressive. But for those of us who like to do our own thinking, there are other choices. I know you're generally afraid to read things that don't reinforce your prejudices. But, being an incurable optimist, I'll provide you with this link to a David Brooks column that explains the truth about that speech.

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  7. Lots of great comments; thanks to all for chiming in!

    Savage Henry: it is true, as I acknowledged to Matt, that there is a valid debate to be had over federalism. I cannot recall ever hearing prohibition, drug legalization, or gun rights ever framed as "state's rights" issues. Maybe you and I just don't read the same sources -- quite possible.

    Susan: your interpretation of Buchanan's words is . . . charitable. I would suggest that given Buchanan's history, such an charity is not merited. having said that, I think that you might be half-right. Pat might have been playing the "Barack's a scary black guy" card, but I think it's more in line with the current whisper campaign that he was playing the "Obama's an un-american crypto-muslim terrorist card." Tomato, tomato.

    Catron,

    I actually remember the column you linked, largely because it's so uncommon for NYT columnists to attack one another (that column was aimed squarely at Krugman and Hebert). Other than showing that it wasn't a premeditated shout-out to the racial voters, it doesn't provide much evidence to defuse the argument. Curiously, Reagan was endorsed by the KKK a few weeks before that speech; only after Jimmy Carter pointed that out in a speech did Reagan did reject the endorsement. However, I can concede the point that it may have been blown out of proportion, just like it was when Reagan opposed open housing and civil rights laws (as governor of CA), supported segregationist Bob Jones Univ, gutted the civil rights commission, opposed MLK day, tried to block re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act, claimed that "friend and ally" South Africa had ended segregation, and of course slashed federal funding for urban job training, housing and health assistance, and a host of other urban social programs. All part of some contrarian liberal mythology, right?

    Or maybe the truth is a bit uglier: Reagan, no racist himself, actively courted the racial vote and pursued racially charged policies. Conservatives may not like their icon so described, but accountability isn't always pretty.

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  8. By the way, Catron, thanks for dropping by. Really. You clearly disagree with me on, well, most everything, so I know you don't read this blog for pleasure or easy amens. But I appreciate the fact that you take the time to read what I write and to participate.

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  9. Thankfully, I'm not alone in pointing out that you sound, frankly, beyond biased.

    Your horrible slander against your 'friends' that 'none of my conservative friends are racists, but their party sure is' is objectionable on its face, and you owe all of them an apology. Additionally, the Democratic party seems to have gigantic voting swaths that would easily fit your definition of racist, so inartfully trying to tags Republicans as the last home of racists isn't fair or factual.

    Next, the Democratic party doesn't exactly have a remarkably better record on the Civil Rights act than the Republicans (see votes by party in this article).

    Next: states rights have been a point of contention since the original Articles of Confederation; what powers should be held by a Federal and which retained by the States. It's not an academic debate, and it resonates with conservatives. Not everyone thinks every problem can be solved better from Washington.

    Lastly, the South was solidly Dem until the Reagan revolution, though a different breed of Dem: the Scoop Jackson, Sam Nunn Democratic party, and not much before then (my parents had to have several talks to even decide that they could vote Republican, having been Dem their entire lives).

    Do us all a favor, leave the fevered rants at DU where they belong; stick to the medical here, which you know and do well.

    GruntDoc

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  10. Ahhm, wasn't it the Southern Demoncrats that kept the "jim crow" legislation in effect? And wasn't it the Republican party that voted in the Civil Rights laws?

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  11. All part of some contrarian liberal mythology, right?

    Sorry, Shadowfax, stringing together lots of hoary canards may impress the morons over at the Daily Kos, but it’s not very convincing for the rest of us.

    BTW, here’s a mystery that you may be able to clear up for me: Why is it that the “progressives” who seem the most alert to racism in others always live in places (like the Pacific Northwest, just to choose a random example) where there are no actual people of color? Just asking.

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  12. Please explain the "racist core" on the left and how it is so noble.

    -anti white
    -anti accomplishment
    -anti Christian
    -anti "rich"
    -anti life
    -anti capitalistic

    90+% of black voters will vote for Obama. Looks racist to me

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  13. I've said it before and I'll say it again...

    Liberals have this fundamental assumption that "they" (black people) need "our" help; like, all things being equal, the gentle white government should help black people because they can't help themselves.

    Me? I think everyone is equal in their ability to get off their butts and get a job, and no one should get a free pass to be a drain on society just because of race. I expect quality out of everyone. If you're not profoundly mentally retarded nor crippled, you need to be productive. It's sad that liberals think it is their duty to help the black people rather than thinking black people are just as capable of helping themselves.

    Paternalism=The new racism.

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  14. It's sad that liberals think it is their duty to help the black people rather than thinking black people are just as capable of helping themselves.

    They believe that because they hide out in places (the Pacific Northwest, Iowa, Vermont, etc.) where they can avoid contact with any actual people of color. Because they don't know any brown-skinned people, other than the folks they hire to clean their toilets, they think of them as inferior.

    This, BTW, is why cocktail party progressives like Shadowfax are so enthusiastic about Obama. It is a way of assuaging their guilt without changing their hopelessly whitebread lifestyle.

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  15. Catron,

    Just FYI, I spent the first thirty-some years of my life in the liberal bastions of Chicago and Baltimore (no blacks there, nosirree, and racism is *never* discussed there either). Sorry if that impairs your little narrative.

    K,
    Oh yeah, we all know how much you hate welfare queens. Thanks for reinforcing my point for me. And where did I ever say I wanted to "help" black people? You and Catron both project your caricature of what you think liberals want, but truth is you have no clue because you've never bothered to find out.

    African-Americans choose to vote for the democrats in a 9-to-1 ratio in part because of the republicans' practice (to this day) of race-baiting, vote-suppressing, xenophobic tactics. Ugly, but it is what it is.

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  16. AA's vote democratic because of democratic race baiting. They are told by the democratic party that whitey is somehow keeping them down. They are told they need the democrats for the goodies. You give out welfare and then you create a bunch of dependents.

    There is no fraction in America more racist than the Jesse Jackson race baiting crowd.

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  17. I don't "hate" welfare queens, it's just really sad seeing a whole group of people who have no goals and see nothing wrong with that. It's worse when politicians want to encourage this type of behavior with more welfare.

    Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are the preeminent race-baiters in this country and they're certainly not Republicans. I think few would argue against that point. Jesse Jackson is such a race-baiter that he even bitched out Obama for "acting white".

    I mean, dude, you implying that I'm racist proves MY point. Why can't I expect everyone to have goals and do more with their lives than be on welfare? Why does that make me racist again?

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  18. I spent the first thirty-some years of my life in the liberal bastions of Chicago and Baltimore.

    This brings me back to my question: Why do “progressives” so often gravitate, as you apparently did, to regions containing virtually no people of color? Is it not odd that so many of you high tail it to the whitest parts of the country as soon as you can afford to do so?

    African-Americans choose to vote for the democrats in a 9-to-1 ratio in part because of the republicans' practice (to this day) of race-baiting, vote-suppressing, xenophobic tactics. Ugly, but it is what it is.

    The actual history of race and the two parties is far more complicated (and interesting) than these tired canards suggest. For example, African-Americans voted 9-to-1 for Republicans from 1865 until the 1930s. Then, because the Republicans (having freed the slaves over the violent objections of Southern and Northern Democrats) had come to take AA votes for granted, the Roosevelt coalition began peeling them off. The current lopsided ratio in favor of the Dems didn’t materialize until a few decades ago.

    Another interesting fact: During the first half-century of its existence, the KKK was the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party. Its relationship to the party was analogous to the IRA/Sinn Féin connection (in Northern Ireland). The function of the KKK was to harass Republicans and their supporters (i.e. former slaves). This is why the “solid South” was Democrat. The KKK/Dem thugocracy drove the Republicans out.

    So, although you clearly don’t read much history, I can recommend it as a way of moving beyond the cartoon images that currently clutter up your world view.

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  19. Catron,

    I've not noted a wide-spread migration of liberals. For my part, I married a girl from Portland, and she wanted to go back "home," so here we are. Otherwise, I'd still be in Chicago cheering on my first place Cubs from the left field bleachers at Wrigley.

    With regard to your historical note, you are right in every respect -- mot notably that the issue is complex. (BTW, you assume that I am illiterate, for some reason, but I am indeed familiar with the facts you brought up). Since we are moving from name-calling to discussing, here's a question for you: Do you think the most recent flip of the black vote from Rep to Dem would have taken place inevitably, or was it a product of Nixon's Southern Strategy?

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  20. Do you think the most recent flip of the black vote from Rep to Dem would have taken place inevitably, or was it a product of Nixon's Southern Strategy?

    It was not inevitable, and Nixon’s “southern strategy” is an urban myth. Here’s a good piece on that subject.

    The AA shift from R to D was really pretty gradual and it was mainly the result of Republican stupidity rather than deliberate appeals to racism.

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  21. I think I should start counting how many black people call me "white bitch" or accuse me of being racist to get into a room faster. If I'm triage on nights, it's at least once a shift. Maybe I'll get a black nurse to make a similar tally. I'm pretty sure the black nurse isn't getting called black bitch Qshift. Somehow, when blacks say that stuff, it's not considered unacceptable, and more will even start to join in.

    "Race-baiting will not get you into a room faster. Please sit down." Yes, I say that.

    People have learned to accuse whites (and/or Republicans) of being racist as some leverage tool in the face of nothing else of substance on which to criticize nor complain.

    I mean, it's rather controversial to even point this out as a regular occurrence, I think.

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  22. And where is the outrage? Levees are breaking in the midwest and poor white people are getting flooded. Where is the blame? I guess it is only GW's fault when it occurs in New Orleans.

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  23. Catron,
    Have you ever even BEEN to Iowa???

    "They believe that because they hide out in places (the Pacific Northwest, Iowa, Vermont, etc.) where they can avoid contact with any actual people of color. Because they don't know any brown-skinned people, other than the folks they hire to clean their toilets, they think of them as inferior."

    We're not nearly as white as you think! Where did the INS (or whatever they're called nowadays) have their biggest raid? Postville, IOWA....I'm a republican and will probably hold my nose and vote for McCain, but as they single mother of a Biracial son (white and African-American) I won't be upset when Obama wins....

    --SarahC

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