Shakedown --- The Talking Point Of Many Colors

Talking Points Of Many Colors

by digby

Media Matters has been tracking Fox News' ongoing apologia for BP:

Certainly, you would expect the corporate borg to stick together, so I don't find that surprising. but there's more to this. Joe Barton's infamous apology speech to BP this morning didn't come out of the blue any more than Bachman's or Limbaugh's. Joan Walsh reports that this was an official talking point:

As Alex Pareene just reported in War Room, Barton got the shakedown language from the Republican Study Group, a House GOP conservative caucus that specializes in language demonizing Democrats. Barton may have gone too far by apologizing to Hayward, but these were the Republican talking points for today. Politico reports that RSG chair Tom Price blasted the escrow fund in a statement on Wednesday, saying it was "borne out of this administration’s drive for greater power and control." He went on: "In an administration that appears not to respect fundamental American principles, it is important to note that there is no legal authority for the president to compel a private company to set up or contribute to an escrow account."
There is, of course, another dimension to this language and you'd better believe they know it:

Take a look at the Amazon listings with similar themes about black politicians. They all use words like "hustler" "pimp" "scammer" "shakedown artist." Now you can add the shorthand term "ACORN" to the mix:

Look, the government's in charge of this. I want to know who's going to get it. Who's going to get this money? Union activists? ACORN people? Who's going to get this money? Let's keep a sharp eye on who Feinberg gives this money to, because I'm telling you, this is another bailout fund called something else, and we'll see who gets it. If Obama's past is prologue -- and it is -- then this is going to be used as a little miniature slush fund. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/16/10

There are dogwhistle politics involved in this on a number of levels. But when it comes to Obama, you can be sure that the Republicans will sneak race in there somehow. It's a reflex.

Update: Go here to see many, many examples of how the word "shakedown" has been associated with black politicians and Jesse Jackson in particular. It's not an accident.

h/t to rp