Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Why don't you just come right out and say it?

I'm totally loving this election cycle. I mean, the Bachmann-Cain-Santorum-Perry freakshow has been better than almost any sitcom offered on television these days. But, of course, there is also a very ugly side to the rhetoric coming out of the debates that moves beyond the crap economic plans (0% taxation!!!) and infighting to see who would drop the most bombs on Tehran. The "best" example of this was during the debate last Monday when the audience in South Carolina cheered Newt Gingrich's refusal to acknowledge that his recent comments about the poor, child labour, food stamps and the Black community was insulting (if not completely racist).

Lee Atwater, Former RNC chairman and architect of
George Bush's Presidential election victory in 1988.
Dennis G. over at Balloon Juice (one of my favourite blogs!) wrote an excellent post this morning about how this vile rhetoric is a product of Lee Atwater's legacy and the development of a "road map of code talking" which is now used in every modern Republican campaign strategy.*

Dennis G:
This strategy is rooted in the idea that working class white folks should identify their primary enemy as some dangerous "other". The name that Lee Atwater gave this invented threat to the white working class was "nigger" and he built code-talking campaigns around how to convey that message without ever using the word: "nigger".
Here is how he explained the game plan: 


Basically, when you hear Newt Gingrich talk about foodstamps, he's using code for "nigger". Or, when you hear candidates say that President Obama doesn't "share our values" and/or the 2012 election is about "saving the soul of America" the candidates are taking a page right out of Atwater's play book.

The extremism of the right wing is scary, disgusting stuff and they must be called out and held accountable for the shit they losing to a Black man (again!) in 2012. 

Interestingly, when Lee Atwater was on his deathbed, dying of cancer (sweet, sweet justice!), he apologized for his evilness.

* I wanted to post the Wikipedia article about Atwater, but they are blacked out in protest of internet censorship.

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