If Republicans don’t like being called racists, they can stop behaving like racists

by Laurence Lewis –


It would be funny if it weren’t so disturbing. Republicans, their propagandists and their enablers have been whining about Republicans being called on their racism. Which was particularly revealing in the context of attempting to defend having accused President Obama of racism. All of which was the opening act to Republicans falling all over themselves in gushing support of a locked and loaded, ostensibly anti-government deadbeat social welfare recipient, who just shockingly—shockingly!— turned out to be a frothing racist.

Now, to be clear, as DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) recently graciously admitted, not all Republicans are racists. But Republicans do continue to pursue racist political policies. And Republican leaders do have a problem confronting the overt racism festering within their party. And Republicans do continue to make systematic efforts to prevent black people from voting. Whether it’s using the zombie lie of voter fraud as an excuse to legislate disenfranchisement or the Republican-appointed Supreme Court majority gutting the Voting Rights Act to make it easier to legislate disenfranchisement or whether it’s straight up voter intimidation, Republicans use every available means to try to prevent African Americans from participating in representative government. Republicans use every excuse to prevent immigrants from becoming citizens.

But this is about so much more than policy. It’s about who these people are. It’s about values. It’s about projecting their own lack of humanity on others, and attempting to use their historical and institutional privileges to enforce it. No matter their excuses for their racist policy positions, they reveal themselves by their repetitive habit of what too often are excused as verbal gaffes, too often excused with half-assed apologies and almost always excused as isolated incidents that are emblematic of nothing. But they are not isolated instances. They are part of a repetitive pattern. They keep happening. And they reveal the real animus behind the policy positions that do not but coincidentally hurt minorities.

Not all Republicans are racists, but what follows is but a brief recap exposing some who are. Not all Republicans are racists, but not all Republicans who are racists are as clumsily overt or politically inept as those in these examples. Not all Republicans are racists, but the party is permeated with racists, it is saturated with racists. Its racist policies must be read in the context of that saturation.

  • Republican former governor and apparently perpetual Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s refusal to accept that the nation’s first black president wasn’t born in Africa.
  • Republican former senator and apparently perpetual Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s racist welfare rant.
  • Republican governor and apparently perpetual presidential candidate Rick Perry’s refusal to criticize the racist rant that has other Republicans scurrying to jump ship on the deadbeat social welfare rancher they and Perry had been defending. But then Perry and racism and ranching are nothing new.
  • Republican senator and all-but-announced presidential candidate Rand Paul’s curious habit of associating with white supremacists.
  • Republican former vice-presidential nominee, current Congressman and potential presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s inner city problems.
  • Apparently perpetual Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. There’s not much more that needs be said than Donald Trump. Forever Donald Trump. Perpetually Donald Trump. A real estate magnate in search of a hinge Donald Trump.
  • Republican former vice-presidential nominee and—as long as it keeps her in the general vicinity of a spotlight, any spotlight—apparently perpetual pretend potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin… Okay… Just ick.
  • Republican former Gov. George Allen’s clumsy, casual racism that derailed what could have been his own perpetual presidential ambitions.
  • Republican former governor (and potential future resident of a different form of public housing) Bob McDonnell’s fond memories of the Confederacy.
  • Republican former speaker of the House, former presidential candidate and current CNN TV pundit Newt Gingrich ever and always being Newt Gingrich.
  • The blithe and lunatic Islamophobia of Republican former Congressman and current Fox “News” contributor Allen West.
  • The Republican National Committee running a racist ad on behalf of soon-to-be Sen. Bob Corker.
  • Republican former governor and former Republican Governors Association Chair Haley Barbour’s amnesia about the brutality of the Civil Rights era, and fond memories of extreme racists.
  • Republican Gov. Nikki Haley slowly coming to realize that it wasn’t a good idea to have a white supremacist on her campaign steering committee.
  • Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, whose long history on the wrong side of history continues to defy history.
  • Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s staff circulating a racist email.
  • Republican Rep. Steve King’s special insights about immigrants from the south.
  • Republican Rep. Peter King’s medievalist crusade against Arab and Muslim Americans.
  • Republican Rep. Devin Nunes rationalizing and excusing bigoted extremism.
  • Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland calling the nation’s first African-American president “uppity.”
  • Republican Rep. Geoff Davis calling the nation’s first African-American president—who also happens to be older than Davis—”that boy.”
  • Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert concerned that “federal funds going to China for the protection of rare cats and dogs may actually result in ‘moo goo dog pan or moo goo cat pan’,” and comparing civil rights laws to protecting lizards and chickens.
  • The 2012 Republican National Convention, so rife with racism, both on and off stage, the latter exemplified by a black CNN camerawoman being pelted with peanuts because “this is how we feed animals.”
  • The Iowa Republican Party posting on its Facebook page a humorless racist graphic about racism.
  • The Mississippi Republican Party’s Neo-Confederate wing.
  • Colorado Republicans defending their state senator who said “poverty is higher among the ‘Black race’ because they eat too much chicken.”
  • Republican state Rep. Dennis Johnson’s casual anti-Semitism.
  • Conservative media darling Sean Hannity, who just can’t help being drawn to certain types of people, and has even been called out for it by at least one other conservative media darling.
  • Conservative and former sports media darling Rush Limbaugh, ever and always being Rush Limbaugh.
  • Conservative media darling Bill O’Reilly, ever and always being nothing less than Bill O’Reilly.
  • Conservative media central Fox “News”… Fox “News”… Fox “News”… Fox “News”…
  • Conservative tabloid the New York Post publishing a blatantly racist and sexist front page about the nation’s first African-American president meeting with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
  • Conservative Heritage Foundation think tank thinker Jason Richwine, forced to resign after public revelations about his racist history, even as the Heritage Foundation itself continues to keep it all on the plantation.
  • Conservative Hoover Institute think tank thinker and National Review columnist Victor Davis Hanson’s keen solipsistic projections about the motives, behavior and psychology of people who are not like Victor Davis Hanson.
  • And speaking of the conservative media icon National Review, how does one speak of the conservative media icon National Review without mentioning its long history of giving a print bullhorn to racists?

This list could go on. No doubt, many readers could offer their own additions. And this behavior will go on. It has gone on. As I wrote just three months into the Obama presidency:

They hated President Clinton, and tried to destroy him. But one of their elected governors didn’t talk secession. They didn’t talk revolution. They didn’t attempt (and miserably fail) to launch nationwide protests against him. Bill Clinton was a lot of things. He was not black.

Which I had to update, because even as I was posting it, the Georgia State Senate, by near unanimous vote, was threatening to secede. But this is the modern history of the Republican Party, from its greatest supposed heroes on down. As I wrote in 2010, this behavior is neither accident nor coincidence, it is a design feature:

Nixon’s Southern Strategy was designed to capitalize on the evolving loyalties of racists, and segregationist George Wallace ran for the American Independent Party and won five southern states in the 1968 presidential election; still, changes in party affiliation continued to lag. Reagan cynically and despicably launched his 1980 campaign by invoking “states’ rights” in racist fire zone Philadelphia, Mississippi. That helped his party quite a bit, as more and more conservative Southerners finally made the switch. In the 1988 presidential election, the kinder, gentler Poppy Bush nakedly race baited his way to victory. The last major wave came early in the Clinton administration. After that, the transformation was largely complete. Some may not remember, but modern Republican stalwarts Phil Gramm and Richard Shelby first went to Washington as Democrats. They always belonged in the Republican Party, but it had been very hard for some Southern conservatives to make that leap. No longer.The increasing polarization of the political parties has been a long time developing. In some ways, it has been a natural realignment along ideological grounds that was forestalled only by the bitter vindictiveness of Southern racists, including those who like to pretend that their bitter vindictiveness isn’t about racism. But it is. And the now obviously racist undercurrent of so much modern Republican politics and right wing media should not be a surprise. Racism is not incidental to the modern conservative movement. It has been one of its defining characteristics.

In a nation with shifting racial demographics, the Republican strategy wasn’t the smartest, and the moral vacuity is now revealing itself in the ever more desperate Republican drive to the extremes, but the process wasn’t accidental. This is the political grave the Republicans have dug themselves. They and their enablers in the traditional media can and will do all they can to distract from the truth, but the history is there. The facts are there. The rabid anger of a disintegrating demographic is proof of its desperation. And it is every bit as desperate as it is rabidly angry. Certainly not all Republicans are racists, but the Republican Party deliberately exploited and exacerbated racial tensions for political gain for decades. Those Republicans now being shoved to the party’s new margins have no standing to complain. Where were they when they and their party were benefitting from the extremism that now is taking control of their party? Where was their sense of civic duty and basic morality? In the short term, politics can take strange turns, but in the long term the Republican Party’s decades of embracing racists has doomed it. Hoist on its own political petard, the current Republican Party is experiencing the unintentional consequence of its intentionally debased design.

It cannot be rationalized or excused. It cannot be dismissed as mere partisan sniping. The record is long and the record is clear. It will continue. This is the shadow that speaks to the real motives behind Republican policies. The racism at the core of the Republican agenda is neither accident nor coincidence. If the Republicans and their propagandists and their apologists genuinely want people to stop calling Republicans racists, whining and denying won’t succeed. If the Republicans and their propagandists and their apologists genuinely want people to stop calling Republicans racists, the Republicans need to stop being racists.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Posted By: Keith

Writer, political junkie, rabid rock music fan, amateur gardener, astronomer and ornithologist, cook extraordinaire, sipper of fine wine and, more than once, the funniest guy in the room.

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