Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I was mentioning to my daughter, and my Lovely Wife, and anyone else unfortunate enough to be within earshot of me, that I think the overt racism of Romney's welfare ads will eventually tip against him, that it is a bridge too far to accuse an African American President of shoring up his "base" with welfare.

Not surprisingly, Josh Marshall is too cautious to mention that USA Today interview in his post, and equally unsurprisingly, almost no one else is bothering to notice it, either.  At least, not yet.  Marshall thinks that may be changing:

Here’s the key passage from US News
Though the first few minutes were spent on niceties, Fournier soon brought the conversation around to a hot-button topic: the Romney campaign’s new series of welfare ads. The ads say that the Obama administration ended work requirements for Americans in the welfare program, effectively “gutting welfare reform.”
Fact checkers have largely debunked the premise of the ad, pointing out that the work requirements in fact have not been ended.
But Fournier did not just tell Kaufman the ad was wrong, he also accused the Romney campaign of “playing the race card.” Fournier, who is from Detroit, Mich., said that welfare is a hot button issue in his hometown, and that this ad was “pushing that button … playing to that racial prejudice. And I’m wondering: are you guys doing that on purpose?”
Again, pretty much everyone knows this is true. You’ve either got to be a rube or a jackass not to see it. But it’s … well, it’s indelicate to say it. And once you do, appealing to racism isn’t just one view against another. It’s something our society has decided is simply wrong. Could it be that the Romney campaign is just finally doing it so transparently that at least a few of the biggs will come out and say it?

Who’s next?

And I think he's exactly right:  the whole issue of racism isn't a "he said/she said" narrative that Tom Brokaw can waive away with an anodyne "everybody does it, so let's move on." If this doesn't blow up in Romney's face, I'll be very disappointed with America and it's ability to hold any kind of public discourse that isn't dictated by the politically powerful.  If it does blow up, it's gonna be Katie bar the door.

And also a pretty effective end to the Republican Party as we have come to know it.

Update:  it's getting closer and closer to the surface.  I guess this is what Ann Romney means about really looking at the issues.

And while I have your attention:  Haley Barbour, who knows nothing about racist dog whistles at all, nosireebob!

When Allen suggested that race has been injected into the 2012 campaign even more than in 2008, Barbour retorted: “I suspect Hillary Clinton wouldn’t agree with you on that.”

Allen mentioned the Romney campaign’s anti-Obama welfare attack, claiming that the president by fiat has removed the work requirement that Bill Clinton signed into law, as a possible example of race-baiting. Barbour disagreed.

 “To me, it’s offensive to say that everybody on welfare is black,” Barbour said. “Most of the people on welfare are white…There are some people who want to inject race into everything. Don’t get me started. I’ll put my foot in my mouth.”

The class non-answer answer to the "race question" of every Southern politician I have ever known.  Well, the ones who wanted to keep a tight grip on the white vote....

1 comment:

  1. Windhorse7:16 PM

    Here's the money quote from Ann Romney to which you linked:

    "..."you [women and minorities] better really wake up and look at the issues this time...if [you] could just get past some of [your] biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that make it look like we don't care about you and this community...and that is not true...we care very much about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families...."

    You wouldn't think so much condescension, falsehood and threat could be so neatly pack into one quote, but there you go. In no particular order Ann Romney tells these voters that they are stupid for not voting Republican - but offers no evidence to back up her claim. She boldly asserts that Republicans "care" about minorities...but doesn't back up that either with any examples. 

    And how could she? Republicans are collaborating across state legislatures nationwide to deny minorities the very right to vote. They are coming up with nakedly racist redistricting schemes to diminish minority political power like the one just thrown out by a Texas judge. Public education and public assistance are being gutted (they're "slavery"!) to keep them a lower caste. Republicans are outlawing minority studies, breaking unions, challenging the Voting Rights Act, targeting dark-skinned people and blaming all of society's ills on them. Ann Romney's own husband is basing virtually his entire presidential campaign on a false, race-baiting television ad. 

    Despite these naked frontal attacks from her party on their rights and well-being, Romney cautions her listeners that they "better" listen this time. While ostensibly this remark seems innocently aimed at their well-being I think that the undertone is really a threat, the kind made by a mafioso as he smiles at you through bared teeth:"Vote for us this time or we will 'f**k you like you've never been f***ed,'" to quote the inimitable Karl Rove. 

    This kind of cheerful dissembling from on high in the midst of legislative and cultural attacks which belie one's words is the hallmark of a nouveau racism that, if not rooted in the moneyed class, is finding its validation and power in its coffers and age-old aristocratic mindset. Ann Romney is a calculating Marie Antoinette with a perma-sneer, bound to make certain the peasants don't triumph over her entitled class this time.