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Hullabaloo


Monday, November 05, 2012

 
Anything to win: Pulling off America's ugliest scab

by digby

Paul Ryan preaching to the faithful:
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told a group of Evangelical Christians Sunday that President Obama's plans threaten "Judeo-Christian values" — a dramatic charge aimed at the Republican base, and delivered during a conference call that did not appear on his public schedule.

In his remarks to what organizers said were tens of thousands of members of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Ryan said that President Barack Obama's path for the next four years is a "dangerous" one.

"[It is] a path that compromises those values — those Judeo-Christian values that made us a great nation in the first place," he said...
They "explained" afterwards that he was talking about religious liberty and Obamacare. Sure he was. I think one can be forgiven for suspecting that Ryan was actually playing to all the "Secret Muslim" paranoia that's rampant among that crowd. But he is still the Villagers' favorite wingnut wonk and I have no doubt that he'll be welcomed back into the Very Serious People club if President Obama is re-elected. Lovely guy.

And yet,  as Adele Stan points out in this article, this Romney Ryan campaign has been the most racist campaign in recent memory:
Since the early months of 2011, our politics have been marinating in the language of racial hatred, whether in former U.S. senator Rick Santorum’s “ blah people ” moment, or former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s tarring of Barack Obama as “the food stamp president .”

Whether Obama wins or loses, new territory has been broken for the 21st century with the rhetoric of the Republican presidential campaign. Sure, it may seem like we’ve been here before, but the difference is that this time, it’s happening after we thought we had gotten past this level of racial hatred. But if Romney claims victory, having run on such a strategy, a new level of legitimacy will be conferred on the politics of race-baiting...
This isn't just hyperbole:
A poll released last week by the Associated Press reveals an uptick since 2008 in the percentage of Americans who express negative attitudes towards blacks and Latinos. The poll measured both explicit expressions of racial prejudice and implicit attitudes.

On the explicit measure -- prejudiced attitudes people were willing to express outright -- the anti-black prejudice ticked up 3 points, from 47 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2012. But when one looks at the implicit attitudes the poll measured, the jump is more pronounced at 7 points. In 2008, the measure of implicit anti-black attitudes was 49 percent; in 2012 that number grew to 56 percent. Meanwhile, write the AP’s Sonya Ross and Jennifer Agiesta, “In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.”

Latinos fared just as poorly in the backlash. Ross and Agiesta explain:
Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison.
None of this is particularly surprising, given the season of scapegoating immigrants and black people the Republican right has fomented since the election of the nation’s first African-American president. I don’t pretend that these attitudes didn’t exist before 2008, nor do they exist only on the Republican side, as shown in the AP poll . But their expression was far less permissible.

What right-wing leaders saw in the election of President Barack Obama -- a black man with an exotic name, a foreign father and a white mother -- was a touchstone for rallying the resentment of the most fearful sectors of white society, places where people feel threatened by the changing shape of American culture. And so they did what the greediest fat-cats have always done: sought to pit the regular, non-rich people against each other, all in the service of preserving their own power.

It’s what the former slaveholders did in the South during reconstruction. It’s what the Romans did in their conquest of the world. It’s an oppressor’s game that America, having never come to terms with the deeper truths of slavery, is particularly susceptible to.
Last night on Fox I listened to half an hour of fearmongering that "the blacks" are threatening to riot if Obama doesn't win. (This is, apparently, a common theme among the right wingers.)

It was very controversial to point any of this out during the last four years. People didn't want to believe it in the glow of the great historical moment of 2008, which is understandable. But as much as America has always been an immigrant nation with great potential for upward mobility, this has been the other side of that coin. And you often see the tribal faultlines in political terms.

Yesterday there was a lot of righteous indignation, including by yours truly, about the Politico article that indicated the president's majority wouldn't translate into a mandate because it came from blacks, Hispanics, single women and white urban liberals. Without a majority of white conservatives, it just doesn't count apparently.

Here is how the latest Pew poll breaks down the white vote in another way. It's quite revealing:

Northeast: Obama 51 - Romney 41
Midwest: Obama 42 - Romney 51
West: Obama 45 - Romney 48
South: Obama 27 - Romney 66

It's very likely that we'll be looking at that famous 1860 map again on Wednesday.

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