Friday, January 02, 2009

The Southern Strategy and its effects - updated (2x)

Some very interesting comments from Paul Krugman:

The fault, however, lies not in Republicans’ stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision...


Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.’s “Southern strategy,” which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: “You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.


Will the Republicans eventually stage a comeback? Yes, of course. But barring some huge missteps by Mr. Obama, that will not happen until they stop whining and look at what really went wrong. And when they do, they will discover that they need to get in touch with the real “real America,” a country that is more diverse, more tolerant, and more demanding of effective government than is dreamt of in their political philosophy.
The snippets have more context and coherence if you read the whole article, of course.

I do not believe Mr. Krugman is saying anything remotely like "all Republicans are racists," which would be utter nonsense. But the strategies the party has pursued have consistently and repeatedly used both "dog whistles" and overt language to whip up fear of non-white groups, to scapegoat them, and to make government serve the white and wealthy.

We should also all be aware of their vote suppression tactics, consistently and repeatedly used in election after election. Whose votes are being suppressed?

Check out the 2008 electoral vote map (via Daily Kos) and do your own demographic analysis:

Consider the alternate reality of Faux News and the mouth-breathing Limbaughs, Hannitys, and O'Reillys. Their world is a scary world in which responsible people (those already in charge) do reasonable things to protect "us" from all kinds of evil forces. Strange how their evil forces do not usually include mega-corporations whose greed destroys the middle class and the poor.

Are you, personally, more threatened today by al Qaeda or by inadequate or non-existent healthcare, or perhaps the loss of your retirement savings? What does your household worry about the most on a day-to-day basis? What constitutes "terror" in your daily life?

Now, what and whom are you told to fear? And who is telling you to be fearful?

Just some questions for us to ponder as we go into 2009.

Update: h/t to DemFromCT

Clammyc has some pointed comments for the GOP:
Trying now to distance yourselves from Bush and "the fake republican party who were not conservatives", even though you wanted more money for war, more money for corporations, less regulation for the financial institutions who are now getting corporate welfare and stood up for torture as "fraternity pranks" (and who the hell can argue "for torture" without being laughed out of the room?) and more presidential power and leaking classified information and "the nook-you-luhr option" – every single thing that resulted in the laughable view of your party by people of all ages and other demographic breakdowns that don’t include "angry old white men with entitlement issues" or "low self esteem cowardly loud arrogant proud-to-be-clueless chickenshit chickenhawk".

And you think that anyone takes anything that you say or think seriously? Tom DeLay and G. Gordon Liddy and Karl Rove offering "friendly professional advice" to Democrats and republicans as to what this country needs? Thinking that McCain lost because he was too nice or too liberal or not anti-immigration enough or too soft on torture? Trying to defend "Barack the Magic Negro".

To put it simply, this mentality and these ideas are precisely why your party lost.

--the BB


The Cunning Runt said...

And your lucid look at them is why I come here.

Brilliant, Paul, and succinct, as usual.

Happy New Year, man. I've been slow to get that out, and I apologize.

susankay said...

Their committment to fear is pervasive. Ads on Limbaugh speak to this: Protect yourself from identity theft. Protect yourself from a hard drive crash on your computer. Protect yourself. Protect yourself.

Really weird.

(The verification word is "a polly p" -- my spacing. My Mom was Polly Prahm)

Paul said...

Thanks for the wishes, TCR, and thanks to Polly Prahm for giving us you, Susankay.