Southern Strategy Race-Baiting By Any Other Name…

My Tuesday column underscores why Romney’s use of the Southern Strategy is important, and why it should disqualify him as a serious presidential candidate.

Yesterday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Chris Matthews was utterly relentless against Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus regarding Mitt Romney’s unapologetic and obvious use of the Southern Strategy. Although Matthews didn’t use the specific name of the strategy he called the recent and repeated use of racial dog-whistles what they are: the race card.

For several weeks now, Romney’s campaign has been pushing a complete and total lie about the president’s record on welfare reform. In the absence of any legitimate criticism of the president’s actions (actions that were repeatedly requested by Republican governors including Mitt Romney, and in no way interferes with welfare-to-work requirements), the only remaining explanation for the ongoing perpetuation of this proven lie is to inject the “welfare” dog-whistle into the minds of white, conservative Southerners who are prone to hold the racist notion that unemployed free-loading black people who don’t pay taxes are lined up for their Obama Checks, while hard-working white tax payers are footing the bill. Romney achieves the same goal when he mentions the president’s “birth certificate.” He reinforces the lie that the president is foreign — his African name and allegedly murky background prove that he’s not a real American. Like them.

In the video, however, Priebus (of course), Mika, Joe and NBC Anchor Emeritus Tom Brokaw disputed the fact that Romney’s remarks and ads were racial. Meanwhile, Mika winced and seemed nervously concerned about the exchange as if she’s not really the co-host of — shocker! — a political show in which people debate politics and often become passionate about an issue or observation. A column for another day.

Nevertheless, this “who… us?” reply from the Republicans whenever they’re called on their racial politics is only slightly worse than members of the press who believe they’re too serious to entertain the idea that one of the two major political parties in America is exploiting the racist hatred, fear and resentment of certain conservative voters. Continue reading here.

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  • Madam1

    Thank you! That exchange is getting a lot of play that Matthews “unleashed” at Preibus. He was great and I am thankful to have at least one person in the media openly calling the GOP on their shit. Sadly, the rest of the panel took exception with his statement and acted like Matthews was overreacting. This plays into the ridiculous both sides meme perfectly. Matthews can now be compared to Hannity for his views and they can even refer to the clip of his exchange with Newt later that day.

    Newt’s squirmy smile while he called Matthews the racist, Brokaw’s bullshit interruption, Mika’s uncomfortable snicker. The both sides meme drives me nuts, and while it was an important exchange between the head of the RNC and the “liberally biased MSNBC host”, it’s to easy for Faux News nutcases to say see, both sides are just the same.

    This election is going to be the death of me, I swear.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Not to diminish the racial component of the GOP strategy or its trenchancy, but I think it may be subordinate to the larger theme of self-congratulation and resentment. You don’t need to be a racist to respond to the premise that, e.g., “Obama cut your Medicare, which you worked for and paid for, and put the money into a different program that’s not for you.” You don’t need to be a racist to have a desire to feel heroic.

    • D_C_Wilson

      You also don’t need things like “Obama cut muh Medicare/raised muh taxes” to be true. You just have to hold that “belief”, because beliefs now trump facts.

  • bphoon

    “We just lost the South for 50 years.” – LBJ to White House aide Roger Wilkins on signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964

    • D_C_Wilson

      History will prove that LBJ was being optimistic. While the demographics of the nation are shifting to put angry white fundamentalists into the minority, the South will be the last region to experience significant change in that regard. We’ve got another 30 years or more before loss of white privilege will cease being the primary fear in the South.

      • bphoon

        I agree. LBJ was being way too optimistic in that regard.