Newt Zoot Boogie

by digby

There's a lot of talk about Karl Rove's influence on the Republican party this week, for obvious reasons, but aside from his striking ability to get addled playboys elected to high office, he really wasn't much of a mastermind.

This guy, however, actually helped create a whole school of wingnut philosophy, although like most Republicans had a trouble with execution and seriously blew his dismount. Pach at FDL has the latest on Newtie's most recent musings:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday he is “sickened” that President Bush and Congress went on vacation “while young Americans in our cities are massacred” by illegal immigrants.

Gingrich, who is considering a run for the White House, was referring to a recent crime in Newark, N.J., where three college students were murdered execution style in a school playground.

One of the suspects — Jose Lachira Carranza — is an illegal immigrant from Peru who was on bail on charges of raping a child when the murders occurred.


Gingrich said that the “war here at home” against illegal immigrants is “even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

That's vintage Newtie. Whenever there's violence he's right there exploiting it. it's one of his specialties. You'll recall that back when he was leading the charge against "sick liberals" he used to say stuff like this, in response to the Columbine massacre. Via Steve Benen:

“I want to say to the elite of this country - the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton…of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made,” Gingrich said, “and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don’t have the courage to look at the world you have created.”

After Virginia Tech, there was this:

GINGRICH: Yes, I think the fact is, if you look at the amount of violence we have in games that young people play at 7, 8, 10, 12, 15 years of age, if you look at the dehumanization, if you look at the fact that we refuse to say that we are, in fact, endowed by our creator, that our rights come from God, that if you kill somebody, you’re committing an act of evil.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what does that have to do with liberalism?

GINGRICH:“Well, who has created a situation ethics, essentially, zone of not being willing to talk about any of these things. Let me carry another example. I strongly supported Imus being dismissed, but I also think the very thing he was dismissed for, which is the use of language which is stunningly degrading of women — the fact, for example, that one of the Halloween costumes this last year was being able to be either a prostitute or a pimp at 10, 11, 12 years of age, buying a costume, and we don’t have any discussion about what’s happened to our culture because while we’re restricting political free speech under McCain-Feingold, we say it’s impossible to restrict vulgar and vicious and anti-human speech. And I would argue that that’s a major component of what’s happened to our culture in the last 40 years.”

Clearly, Newtie is starting to lose the thread on that one. So, how lucky for him that he can combine his usual scapegoating with some real red meat for the racist base with this latest broadside in the war against "the other."

Pach writes:

Maybe this will be part of Newt’s grand strategy to campaign on withdrawal from Iraq: bring the troops home to fight the insurgent immigrant menace at home. The rationalizations will no doubt be entertaining from the wingnut base, MalKKKin’s place and LGF as they attempt justify such Dhimmitude when anihilation at the hands of the Islamofascist horde has been their raison d’etre for six years now. Perhaps we’ll see a fracture in that fragile alliance between the hawkish Israel faction and those whose commitment to fighting global jihad is slightly less keen than their desire to keep from soiling their beautiful minds with the sound of espanol at the local Circuit City.

That's actually not as far-fetched a scenario as it sounds. The Islamofascist boogeyman is just not very satisfying. They're hard to find in America and everybody's so damned touchy about it that you're not allowed to seek em out and beat the shit out of them without it becoming an international incident. Beating up Mexicans, now that's an old American sport for the whole family to enjoy.

There is a very memorable precedent for turning on despised local minorities during wartime. In fact, right here in LA there was a very famous incident during WWII:

The riots began in the racially charged atmosphere of Los Angeles, amidst a period of rising gang violence perpetrated by zoot suiters. In October 1942, zoot suiters were charged with killing Jose Diaz in a supposed gang brawl at the Sleepy Lagoon reservoir (leading to a now-infamous court trial whose convictions were later overturned), in May they rioted against police shutting down an illegal gambling operation, sailors claim that zoot suiters stabbed a sailor.[1] Sensationalized accounts of criminal zoot suiters (pachucos) menacing local citizens were featured on the front pages of many newspapers. On May 31st, 1943, a group of sailors on leave confronted a gang of zoot suiters; one sailor, Joe Dacy Coleman, was badly injured. In response, fifty sailors gathered and headed out to downtown and East Los Angeles, which was the center of the Mexican community. Once there, they attacked all the men they found wearing zoot suits, often ripping off the suits and burning them in the streets. They also raped pachuca women in the process. In many instances, the police intervened by arresting Mexican-American youths for disturbing the peace, leaving the sailors to the military justice system. African Americans and Filipino Americans suffered the same fate as Mexican Americans. [2] Several hundred pachucos and nine sailors were arrested as a result of the fighting that occurred over the next few days.

Of the nine sailors that were arrested, eight were released with no charges and one had to pay a small fine. Military authorities intervened on June 7, by declaring that Los Angeles would henceforth be off-limits to all military personnel.

(I guess this public stripping thing is some sort of male dominance ritual that goes down through the ages. Very kinky.)

This PBS film on the Zoot Suit Riots is a real eye-opener. Back in that day, the Mexican-Americans had been shoved into barrios and kept to themselves. But their kids were rebelling. They spoke English. They left the barrios and adopted all kinds of American customs. The locals didn't like their attitude.

Today the problem is that they "refuse to assimilate." It's always something, isn't it?

Pach notes that Newtie isn't the only one. We all know that the racist GOP base is beside itself over the Mexican hordes. (I wouldn't be surprised if Mitt's promise to "double Gitmo" has something to do with the fact that they conveniently speak Spanish down there in Cuba.) As Pach writes:

To the surprise of no one with a functional attention span (which of course excludes any of our Very Serious Political Pundits), the decades-old pancake makeup covering the hateful racist core of the GOP has flaked so hard it’s falling right off, and we’re about to witness quite the Klan rally for the soul of the Republican Party heading into 2008.

Jackboots de rigeur.

Yes indeed. Dave Neiwert wryly points out:

As for the current rise in violence against Latinos, well, I'm sure that Gingrich would assure us it has nothing to do with rhetoric declaring "war" against them.

Of course not. They deserve it.