Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Lee Atwater was a political consultant from South Carolina who was the protégé of Harry S. Dent. In 1968 Harry Dent devised something called the "southern strategy" for the Presidential campaign of Richard Nixon.
The "Southern strategy" called for winning elections in Southern states by exploiting anti–African American racism and fears of lawlessness among Southern white voters and appealing to fears of growing federal power in social and economic matters (generally lumped under the concept of "states' rights").
Lee Atwater developed the mythical Cadillac driving "Welfare Queen" for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984, and approved the "Willie Horton" ad against Michael Dukakis in 1988. The "Willie Horton" ad was the product of Floyd Brown, an original co-founder of Citizens United and still active in the conservative movement, and Larry McCarthy, a veteran media consultant who specializes in attack ads for the GOP who is currently one of the leaders of Willard "Mittens" Romney's advertising campaign. Three more evil sonsuvbitches you are never going to meet.
But Lee Atwater, at least, on his deathbed reportedly is said to have asked Black Americans for their forgiveness in using them as a "pawn" to attract white voters to the candidates that had hired him. The other two sonsuvbitches remain unrepentent.
The GOP "southern strategy" is back, and is now central to the Willard "Mittens" Romney campaign.
In an interview in USA Today this weekend, Romney accused President Obama of gutting the welfare work requirements to "shore up his base.“ Interview: Romney blasts Obama for a 'vituperative' campaign:
Romney defends the welfare ads as accurate, accusing Obama of offering state waivers as a political calculation designed to "shore up his base" for the election.
Romney's welfare ads are NOT accurate, they have been fact checked and declared false by every fact checking media organization, yet his campaign keeps producing more ads on this theme. Romney is blowing the dog whistle of the politics of resentment for the poor (and race-baiting minorities).
The Washington Post’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, gave the welfare ads his lowest rating, four Pinocchios. The Tampa Bay Times’s Politifact was equally harsh, describing the ads as “a drastic distortion” warranting a “pants on fire” rating. The welfare commercial, according to Politifact, “inflames old resentments about able-bodied adults sitting around collecting public assistance.”
The New York Times’ Tom Edsall writes today that "the Romney campaign is clearly determined 'to make this about' race, in the tradition of the notorious 1988 Republican Willie Horton ad, which described the rape of a white woman by a convicted African-American murderer released on furlough from a Massachusetts prison during the gubernatorial administration of Michael Dukakis and Jesse Helms’s equally infamous 'White Hands' commercial, which depicted a white job applicant who 'needed that job' but was rejected because 'they had to give it to a minority.'" Making the Election About Race:
The Romney campaign’s shift of focus toward welfare and Medicare suggests that his strategists are worried that just disparaging Obama’s ability to deal with the struggling economy won’t be adequate to produce victory on November 6.
The importance to the Romney-Ryan ticket of two overlapping constituencies — whites without college degrees and white Medicare recipients — cannot be overestimated. Romney, continuing the Republican approach of 2010, is banking on a huge turnout among key white segments of the electorate in order to counter Obama’s strengths with minority voters as well as with young and unmarried female voters of all races.
There is extensive poll data showing the depth of Republican dependence on white voters.
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[T]he Pew surveys show that 89% of voters who identify themselves as Republican are white. Faced with few if any possibilities of making gains among blacks and Hispanics — whose support for Obama has remained strong — the Romney campaign has no other choice if the goal is to win but to adopt a strategy to drive up white turnout.
The Romney campaign is willing to disregard criticism concerning accuracy and veracity in favor of “blowing the dog whistle of racism” – resorting to a campaign appealing to racial symbols, images and issues in its bid to break the frustratingly persistent Obama lead in the polls, which has lasted for the past 10 months.
The Washington Post's Jamelle Bouie similarly writes at the Plum Line today, In final stretch, Mitt Romney channels Lee Atwater:
For the last month, the Romney campaign has been running with a new strategy: blatant appeals to racial resentment. The welfare ads, which falsely accuse President Obama of “gutting” welfare reform, were the first sign of this shift. It continued in subtler form with attacks on Obamacare — accusing Obama of taking from Medicare recipients and giving the revenues to his supporters — and became explicit again with last Friday’s “joke” about the president’s birth certificate.
At this point, in fact, Romney has stopped trying to hide the extent to which he wants to “otherize” Obama as a president for nonwhites. In an interview with USA Today this weekend, he defended the welfare ads by accusing Obama of offering waivers as a political calculation designed to “shore up his base.”
At best, Romney means Obama’s “base” is made up of welfare recipients. . .
[Tim Noah of The New Republic provides the translation, as if any is needed: President Obama doesn’t represent you; he represents a lot of people on welfare. And you know what they look like.]
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With blacks, Latinos and other nonwhites so adamantly opposed to the GOP, Romney’s only hope for winning the election is massive turnout from white voters. Indeed, according to Ron Brownstein, Romney needs to capture 61 percent of white voters to win, assuming they turn out at 2008 levels. Moreover, it seems clear Obama retains the support of a critical number of white voters. His approval rating reached 50 percent in the latest Post/ABC poll, and as Greg notes, he leads Romney in understanding the economic concerns of ordinary Americans.
The attacks on welfare and Medicare are crude, but they are one of the few things that could lead white voters — and downscale whites in particular — to doubt Obama’s concern for people like them. Which is why, despite widespread criticism and condemnation, Romney will press forward with these attacks.
So what's next, Mittens? Are you going to open your campaign in Philadelphia, Missississippi after the GOP convention, just as Ronald Reagan did, to deliver a speech on "states' rights" where civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered in cold blood by klansmen during "Freedom Summer"? Reagan's Neshoba County Fair "states' rights" speech. Or maybe in Selma, Alabama at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge where civil rights marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers on "Bloody Sunday," and Congressman John Lewis was nearly beaten to death. What's the plan, Mittens? I want to know.
Back in 2005, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said the GOP's "southern strategy" was wrong and apologized to the NAACP Convention. GOP: 'We were wrong' to play racial politics:
"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," Mehlman said at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."
Mehlman's apology was quickly denounced by the man who leads the GOP today, and from whom the Romney campaign takes its messaging: racist Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh blasted Mehlman's renunciation of GOP racial tactics: "Republicans are going to go bend over and grab the ankles".
There is no place in the 21st Century for such racist politics. The media villagers have an obligation to confront this "southern strategy" race-bailitng head-on and to condemn it, and to hold the Romney campaign and the GOP accountable for their racist strategy. Your failure to do so makes you a complict accomplice in this crime against your fellow Americans.