"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Thursday, July 14, 2005
It was called "the southern strategy," started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue -- on matters such as desegregation and busing -- to appeal to white southern voters.
Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was "wrong."
But, of course, 1968 is ancient history. It's all water under the bridge, and anyway, we've mended our ways since then. So all you nice Negroes be sure to vote Republican, 'kay?
Except, of course, right-wing race baiting most certainly isn't ancient history; it's business as usual. Republicans appeal to racism as a matter of course, and for a very simple reason - it works. Consider this sordid (and woefully incomplete) history:
* Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the modern Republican party, gave his first major speech as President in Philadelphia, Mississippi. There, just down the road from the earthen dam in which three murdered civil rights workers had been buried by the Southern gentlemen who lynched them, Reagan resurrected the spirit of the Confederacy with "a ringing declaration of his support for 'states' rights' — a code word for resistance to black advances clearly understood by white Southern voters."
* The first President Bush rode to the White House on Willie Horton's back. The notorious advertisements that made Horton a household name were the brainchild of media consultant Larry McCarthy, who bragged that Horton's mug shots portrayed "every suburban mother's greatest fear."
* Facing a stiff challenge from John McCain for the 2000 nomination, George Bush the younger drew his Maginot line in South Carolina. In the days before the primary there, Republican voters received calls from persons claiming to be taking a poll, but who pointedly claimed that McCain had sired a black bastard (the "illegitimate colored child" was in fact an orphaned Bangladeshi girl that McCain and his wife had adopted).
...and so on.
This is the sort of thing that Ken Mehlman and the Republican Party has recently come to understand is "wrong." Gee, that's mighty white of you guys. But don't be surprised if you discover that African Americans are not so ignorant as to buy what you're selling. You know, some of them are surprisingly smart - why, these days they're even allowed to attend school! In fact, in liberal communities such as Massachusetts and Hollywood, they even get to attend the same schools as "regular" kids.
(Note: For those who can't get enough shameless pandering, Mehlman's speech is reprinted in its entirety here. Don't click that link unless you have a very strong stomach.)
This admin. is utterly racist and anti-women, children, non-Dominionist Christian, etc. Anyone who has not yet got that has their head in the sand (to be kind). The prejudices abound and will become more evident and open as time passes, unless we manage to dethrone the jerks.