Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"It's still about the economy--and we're not stupid"

This is a great punchline for nascent nominee Romney.

But college-educated people may not get what this says to Romney's core audience: white men without a college degree.

What they hear isn't what you hear, and I trust Romney's team knows this full well.

What they hear is:

1. The President--not Congress, not the economic situation in Europe, not the wealthy men who purchase influence in our government, not currency manipulation/intellectual property theft/dollar an hour labor in China, not gasoline prices being determined by OPEC and burgeoning demand in China and India, and not the economy the President was handed on the day of his inauguration--the President is solely responsible for the American economy...which can, apparently, turn on a  dime with the right leadership, no matter what's been done to it. Even if the previous administration hands you problems that take any democracy 20 years to turn around, you have a year at most to do so. Then the problem is yours, and if you can't fix it your way, we'll try someone else--even if that someone else is the very group that handed the President the 20 year problem in the first place.

2. The Negro President thinks we white people are "stupid"--that is, what he's telling us about the economy isn't true (this is the rhetorical ploy, not reality, mind you) is a sham, so he's a con artist, so he's trying to con us, to play us. A Negro man who thinks he's smarter--better--than any White man is an Uppity Negro.

3. And an Uppity Negro man is the worst thing on Earth.

4. We'd vote for a Negro man who knows his place and does our bidding in a heartbeat--a nice Negro man like Herman Cain. So we aren't prejudiced against Negros, just like we love women who know their place, so we aren't misogynists either.

5. So we have to vote against this Uppity Negro, no matter what--even if it means letting the foxes back in our henhouse.

If you're an educated American from outside the influence of the Old South, this chain of reasoning may--probably will-seem like a big stretch to you. And of course whenever anyone accuses the GOP of a covert racist strategy the Sean Hannitys and Bill O"Reillys and Rush Limbaughs and Adam Wests of the world fly into a sputtering rage over such an accusation. But if you're a son of a Son of the Old South, as I am, you'll recognize the coded language just fine.


Anonymous said...

I have always been impressed with your writing... but this is profoundly disapointing.

Come on Ehkzu, race baiting isn't up to your usual standard. You come off like someone who wants this guy reelected so badly you'll say anything.

Heard an anecdote told by an attractive caucasian gal... she was approached by a black guy who asked her out. She politely declined, at which the fellow retorted, "What are you, racist?"... as if to imply that there couldn't be anything else about him that she didn't find interesting.

Your comments about "...uppity negro" is clearly intended to 'guilt' votes from those who wouldn't have voted for him otherwise.

You're smart enough to form a cogent position without resorting to that garbage.

Your comments about the economy speaks to the real problem. You align yourself with those who are completely oblivious to the one thing, the one word, that creates, or destroys, value.

Confidence. Or the lack of it.

It is the one thing that creates, or destroys, value in every conceivable financial instrument, from homes and realestate, certificates of deposit, 401Ks, bonds, T-Bills, and shares of stock. It creates or eliminates jobs throughout the economy.

It is the actions of the President with regard to deficit spending and the national debt that creates or destroys global confidence in the U.S. economy. Successfully establish that confidence and every investable dollar on the planet will flood into the U.S. economy, fail and the results are obvious.

Barack Obama has demonstrated fully, as far back as his days in the Senate, that deficit spending is what he is best at, he is incapable of anything else, and incapable of engendering confidence in his ability to be a responsible and competent steward of the public treasury. And, contrary to what you imply, this can be done overnight, with the first budget he delivered to Congress... but he failed.

He MUST be turned out of office.

Ehkzu said...

It's race baiting if race isn't involved and you say it is.

I knew a bunch of Congolese foreign exchange students in college. They knew all American women were sluts because they wore tight pants. In their homeland women went topless--no biggie--but would never wear tight pants unless they were prostitutes.

So they'd bluntly proposition American women at college dances, then accuse them of racism when the women refused their propositioning.

As it happened American black women would refuse their propositioning even more bluntly, but the Congolese guys I knew never connected the dots.

An immigrant from Mexico who lives in our condo complex has accused our board--which my wife is on--of being racist when they called her to account for habitually letting her dogs run loose without a leash (and barking aggressively at people, running at them).

These are just anecdotes, but I've seen plenty of other examples. Al Sharpton kick-started his political career by race-baiting in defense of a young black woman--Tawana Brawley--who claimed white men had assaulted her, calling her racial epithets (which turned out to be a total fabrication she's made up to get off the hook for what she'd really been up to).

And many Democratic politicians use it routinely to attack anyone who opposes illegal immigration (starting with the coded language of labeling anyone who's anti-illegal immigration as being "anti-immmigrant."

Practically anyone who's a racist opposes illegal immigration, to be sure, but that doesn't prove that anyone who opposes illegal immigration opposes all immigration and is a racist. That a failure of elementary logic.

So yes, race baiting can be found in political discourse every day of the year.

But just as opposing illegal immigration doesn't prove that you're racist, the fact that race baiting is a common ploy doesn't prove that there's no racism either.

As someone said, denial of racism IS the new racism.

Calling all accusations of racism "race baiting" is exactly the same thing--morally and logically--as race baiting. We just don't have a concise term for it.

Maybe we should call it "racism baiting."

If you aren't a white Southerner...if you aren't someone without a college education....I can see how you might see what I'm saying as a race baiting.

My dad was just such a person, though (7th grade dropout), and I know from personal experience what I'm talking about. I should add that he was too much of a gentleman (he was a deadbeat and something of a con artist with great manners) to spout racist rhetoric directly. But it was always there.

What convinced me that this was a major undercurrent in the campaign against Obama was the overt and covert racism I've found poking around the right wing blogosphere. And not just a few things here and there. A lot.

This is mixed in with anti-intellectualism, but it's not hard to sort out.

I'll deal with the deficit spending issue in a separate entry.