Atrios's Law

by tristero


Digby yesterday repeated an aphorism so true I believe it should be called Atrios's Law:
Even Republicans all know it's full of shit, but they don't care. It pisses off liberals! And that's really all they care about.
Here's a another example of Atrios's Law:
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Rick Goddard, a retired Air Force major general running against conservative Dem Congressman Jim Marshall, referred in a radio appearance to "a very uppity newscaster" who had a testy TV exchange with Newt Gingrich at the Republican Convention. This appeared to be a reference to MSNBC reporter Ron Allen, who is black.

The Goddard campaign didn't deny that he was discussing Ron Allen, telling the Journal-Constitution that Goddard "simply evoked a word -- that by definition -- described the reporter's demeanor as being superior, arrogant and presumptuous."

This comes after Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) told The Hill that he believed both Barack and Michelle Obama were "uppity," then denied that there was any racial connotation to the word.
There is more to this than simply pissing off liberals and reminding African Americans that Strange Fruit awaits those get too uppity.

The effect is to simultaneously expand the language the right can use while shutting up those who oppose the right. A Republican called Clinton a "bitch" and John McCain snickered. A Republican called herself a violent bitch and an entire convention roared in approval. Imagine the uproar if the situation was reversed. Imagine if I had written that Secretary State Rice was getting uppity in an interview. Imagine the press frenzy if I asked Obama or Biden, "how can we get that nasty bitch?" at a campaign rally.

Republicans feel no compunction about using racist language - no, not racist code words, racist language - while objecting furiously if Barack Obama warns his audience that they will be doing just that.

Because of the way conservatives constructed the playing field, and no one jumped all over them in time to stop it, liberals aren't allowed even to use common phrases like "lipstick on a pig" to describe an opponent's plans. But describing blacks as "uppity" is fair fame.

At the risk of losing my temper at some decent, honest commenters, this is the reason why Democrats should have jumped all over the convention the Friday afterwards and said loudly and clearly that they were perfectly happy to have Sarah Palin call herself a violent bitch and would honor her self-description by repeating it again and again and showing how, in oh so many ways, she was telling the truth. This is why you never, ever, let a Republican dominate a news cycle or set the terms of a rhetorical encounter. This is why every lie and distortion must be treated to a loud howl especially when our side misses the point or an opportunity to attack. This is why the race is a nailbiter.

Folks, we are way beyond the gentle wordplay of Alice and her Humpty Dumpty, despite his obvious visual likeness to so many GOP delegates. This is a war in which one side, ours, is being deliberately and systematically disarmed. How many times does this exact same scenario have to play out, before Democrats get it?

UPDATE: Josh sees the racebaiting, finally: McCain comes out with this rancid, race-baiting ad based on another lie. Willie Horton looks mild by comparison. (And remember, President George H.W. Bush never ran the Willie Horton ad himself. It was an outside group. He wasn't willing to degrade himself that far.) As TPM Reader JM said below, at least Horton actually was released on a furlough. This is ugly stuff. And this is an ugly person. There's clearly no level of sleaze this guy won't stoop to to win this election.

And let's be frank. He might win it. This is clearly a testing time for Obama supporters.
Indeed it is. And staying above the fray fails the test. It is time for donkeys to kick ass. Hard.