Apr 16, 2014

Racism Is Winning Issue, Republicans Believe

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull (ret)
compared romance of Obama's
parents to bestiality
The key in contacting voters on political knock-and-drops has always been: Listen and keep it local.

Most people don't mind contact at the door, and will listen to a political pitch, provided you're there to listen.

'Obama is running for president. Yeah, you know those damn kids keep leaving litter on my lawn.'

'Your guy is running for County Board, what are ya going to about all those burglaries getting closer to our street.'

Keep it local, and bring it home.

Things are changing though.

Some folks are taking on a hard edge, voicing openly racist sentiments that—anecdotally anyway—were not encountered as often before President Obama and Scott Walker assumed office.

Increasingly, talk at the doors is about the grave threat of "the brothers" and "blacks," and so forth. And this is in Dane County, not Iron County.

Wonder why these conclusions are being drawn?

It's not contemplation on the merits of 19-century raciology. Its unthinking sentiment and it's getting uglier.

Near constant racist appeals by the Republican party—and its more brazen allies in the Tea Party and racist radio—continue as pundits write hosannas to old-school Republicans like retiring Rep. Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac) who never raised one word of objection to the GOP project of racist appeals that, incidentally, play very well in Fondy.

J. P. Green takes Republicans to task this morning:
[The] Republican Party has a significant -- and growing -- problem with racism in its ranks. GOP leaders and conservative pundits who refuse to address it are complicit, no matter how unbiased their personal views may be. ... The all-out assault on voting rights, for example, has reached a level of shamelessness not seen since before the Civil Rights Movement. The GOP is doing everything it can to obstruct the voting rights of African Americans and Latinos, even to the point of risking alienation of other voters with restrictions on early voting opportunities. That the Republicans on the Supreme Court have been eager partners in voter suppression shows that the moral rot in their party has burrowed deeply.
Seemingly every achievement of the Civil Rights movement is coming under open attack, as in disdain that businesses that still have to serve them. Writes Green:
It's not just voting rights Republicans oppose. Sen Rand Paul, by some estimates the Republican front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination, still gets away with mealey-mouthed waffling about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Other Republican Governors and state legislative majorities have done all they can to harass and intimidate Latino immigrants.

You would think that some of the more prudent conservative pundits would pick up the slack left by political leaders on the right and challenge their party to embrace racial justice and a higher level of interracial goodwill. But apparently they buy into the strategy that suppressing minority votes is an acceptable price to pay for holding power. It's a sad commentary on the shrinking reservoir of conservative patriotism.
Getting a start on 2016, one of the first comments Wisconsin's Paul Ryan made after the Romney-Ryan ticket went down to defeat is Ryan's dog whistle to racists all around real America: Surprising turn-out in those "urban areas." (WISC TV-Madison) (Shear and Steinhauer. NYT)

This is not a matter of distasteful comments offending the public square.

Appeals to racism have consequences.

One might conclude by stating Republicans should watch their appeals to racism before someone gets hurt, but that ship has sailed.

This brings to mind the nice man in Fitchburg, Wisconsin with whom I shared a cold beer recently on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Hit it right off. Talked about the great weather that day, and the rash of burglaries on Madison's far west side.

He proceeded to show me his concealed-and-carry permit, his Derringer pistol strapped to his right hip, and two thin red shells holding shotgun-like bullet pellets.

He is said he is "ready" for "the brothers."

I'm sure he is.

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