This is an odd bit of blogging from a white Douglas MacKinnon at Politico. in a post titled, “GOP unfairly branded racist.” He lays out an argument of personal childhood poverty and comfort around black people, and how single, black mothers are some of the most conservative people he knows.
Here’s the source of his beef:
It is for that reason and more that I was so disappointed with Obama’s recent comments regarding Republicans and race. At a fundraiser in Florida before a majority African-American audience, the senator said, “We know what kind of campaign [Republicans are] going to run. They’re going to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced, and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’”
And a Bob Herbert column is another source of disconcert:
And yet as much as I and other Republicans try to increase the dialogue, correct the record and derail the hateful rhetoric that divides us, others choose to deliberately ignore heartfelt efforts. As one example, last September, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote a column titled “The Ugly Side of the GOP.”
In a somewhat rambling piece that was syndicated all over the nation, Herbert said, “Last week the Republicans showed once again just how anti-black their party really is.” Later in the column, he continued, “At the same time that the Republicans were killing congressional representation for D.C. residents, the major GOP candidates for president were offering a collective slap in the face to black voters nationally by refusing to participate in a long-scheduled, nationally televised debate focusing on issues important to minorities.”
I have no reason to doubt MacKinnon’s sincerity in hoping to bring more blacks to the GOP table, but the modern GOP was built squarely on the backs of Dixiecrats leaving the Democratic Party for the GOP after LBJ pushed through civil rights reforms.
(Update: It’s probably more fair to say LBJ pushed reforms after bowing to a strong bi-partisan Congressional coalition for civil rights, and when he realized it could be the shining star in his presidential legacy. At any rate, the Civil Rights Act of 1964wouldn’t have happened when it did if Johnson hadn’t strong-armed, something he always enjoyed, a few congressmen who would’ve voted against the legislation without a presidential prod.)
Since that time Republican operatives, both small- and big-time players in the backrooms, ran campaigns based on either frightening white voters to the polls or scaring black voters away from the polls. Lee Atwater was a master of the technique, to the point his disdain for this brand of politics was part of his deathbed “confession” for his life’s sins. The recently disgraced “architect,” Karl Rove, was no stranger to concept either, although he brought a new element into play. Because Rove cut his teeth in Texas where the Latino voting bloc was, and is, growing, he was much more selective on which shade of brown to precisely target.
Voter caging is a technique Rove’s minions used in the last election cycle and got busted for their efforts by Congress:
That would suggest that vote caging is a big deal. Is it?
Vote caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren’t living at (because they are, say, at college or at war). The Republican National Committee reportedly stopped the practice following a consent decree in a 1986 case. Google the term and you’ll quickly arrive at the Wizard of Oz of caging, Greg Palast, investigative reporter and author of the wickedly funny Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans—Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Palast started reporting allegations of Republican vote caging for the BBC’s Newsnight in 2004.
Now I consider myself a staunchly independent voter. I happily vote Democratic or Republican depending on a number of factors. I know the GOP. I’ve been to GOP events. I have friends who remain solely dedicated to the GOP, even after the Bush regime’s two terms spent gutting all conservative principles from the party.
Not all Republicans are racist by any stretch, and I’d say the great majority are not prejudiced. But any writer who essays on his white-man-who’s-down-with-the-brown bona fides coupled with a strong support for the GOP and doesn’t point out that, yes, there is a sizable bloc within the party that will never vote for a black man or woman for any elected office based purely on the color of the candidate’s skin is either being disingenuous or is mentally challenged.
And when that writer, touting those “I know what’s real” credentials chooses to blast the first black candidate for US president for having the audacity to bring up he will be attacked because of his race, I think it’s time to tune that particular voice out of the conversation.
Oh, and those conservative black mothers? Which party is it they almost always vote for — hmm, that would be the Demoratic Party.