Saturday, February 21, 2015

Republicans take racism to a new level

This is racism, pure and simple. Republicans are taking racism to a new level - well, for the 21st Century, at least.

Why? For one thing, they're not going to get any black votes, anyway. They lost African Americans when they started their 'Southern strategy' of deliberately wooing white racists. By now, you have to be completely insane to be a black Republican.

Second, if you despise racism, you're not going to vote Republican no matter what your own race is. The GOP has already lost those people, too. If you really care about racism, you're not going to vote Republican. (I'm not saying that all Republicans are racists, but they're all quite willing to use racism to achieve their political goals.)

Third, the Republican base is racist - virulently racist. The GOP base hates Barack Obama, our first black president, to the point of hysterics. And the base reliably votes in Republican primaries.

That's why Republican politicians are terrified of contradicting Giuliani. I know that Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck have actually backed him up. (Beck isn't a politician, but they're both staking out the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe that's the GOP base.) But most Republican politicians don't want to say something this stupid and this racist. On the other hand, if they want to run for president in 2016 as a Republican, they don't dare come out against it.

So they punt. By and large, Republican leaders have been trying to say nothing, while still giving the GOP base reason to think that they're just as racist, as hateful, and as crazy as Giuliani. Well, they have to. As I've said before, this is the French Revolution all over again, only with the mob rushing to the right, not the left.

Republican leaders started this mad stampede to the right, and they've certainly been encouraging it. But stampedes take on a life of their own, and Republican politicians are struggling to stay in front. The absolute worst thing you can call a fellow Republican these days is "moderate." On the other hand, there seems to be no way to be too right-wing, too extreme, too crazy.

Although this is raising the stakes, it's fundamentally the same thing we've seen for years now. Republican leaders have always used coded language to paint Barack Obama as... um, not like us. Well, just look at him. He doesn't look like any other president America has had.

He's just... um, foreign. He even drinks tea! How exotic is that? (Not very. Many Americans drink tea. But they're white. Clearly, they're American. Unfortunately, even tea-drinking Republicans will get the message here.)

That birther nonsense was part of this, as well. Of course Barack Obama was born in America! Republican leaders have never had any doubts about that. But they could still use the birthers. The birthers, as crazy as they clearly were, kept the idea afloat that Obama was 'not like us.' He's not a real (i.e. white) American. He's actually a Kenyan (i.e. black). Every time this claim was made, white Americans were reminded of Obama's skin color.

That's the kind of thing they've trumpeted for years, and they've known exactly what they were doing. They were using racism. I've heard Karl Rove himself push this kind of thing, and Rove knows exactly how to appeal to the worst of Americans.

You can't go too far. Racism isn't politically correct, and even racists aren't eager to embrace their racism. Not most of them, at least. Not these days. But you can be as obvious as hell as long as you just don't use the 'n' word.

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