Emb-Racism, or Attack of the B-Girls


McCain in Virginia — Getty Images

It is not, one supposes, egotistical to note that the story I told you here last Monday (“Holy You Betcha, Batman! It’s the Barracuda!” 20 Oct 2008.) is now confirmed on Saturday, after having become the subject of speculation throughout the bloviating class. To wit:

Palin allies report rising campaign tension
By: Ben Smith
October 25, 2008 02:32 PM EST

Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign’s already-tense internal dynamics.

Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.

“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.

The emergence of a Palin faction comes as Republicans gird for a battle over the future of their party: Some see her as a charismatic, hawkish conservative leader with the potential, still unrealized, to cross over to attract moderate voters. Anger among Republicans who see Palin as a star and as a potential future leader has boiled over because, they say, they see other senior McCain aides preparing to blame her in the event he is defeated.

[…]

If McCain loses, Palin’s allies say that the national Republican Party hasn’t seen the last of her. Politicians are sometimes formed by a signal defeat — as Bill Clinton was when he was tossed out of the Arkansas governor’s mansion after his first term — and Palin would return to a state that had made her America’s most popular governor and where her image as a reformer who swept aside her own party’s insiders rings true, if not in the cartoon version the McCain campaign presented.

Palin is going “rogue” as I reported, Monday. The news outlets and blogs are a-swarmin’ on it, six days later.

And, I’ll note, the subject of yesterday’s post (that “truth” has become utterly meaningless to the “moral” and “virtuous” Party of Lincoln™) is echoed by the following, concluding paragraph of the story:

“There are people in this campaign who feel a real sense of loyalty to her and are really pleased with her performance and think she did a great job,” said the McCain insider. “She has a real future in this party.”

Try to keep up, media elite.

It is the savage amorality of this current GOP/RNC/Rovian Campaign of McCain that I address.

And, yes, I have dumped a lot of words on you this week — 18,432 to be precise — but we are at a culminating point in this election, and at a crucial crossroads of history.

Consider the irony: the Republican Party, founded by abolitionists, turned on the Civil Rights agenda after Eisenhower (and a century of neglect following the Civil War, content to leave the South to take out their anger on the very persons who were supposed to have been “freed” from slavery). Barry Goldwater (on the advice of William Rehnquist and Robert Bork) voted against the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights Act, while Richard Nixon openly courted the disenfranchised racists of the old “Solid South.”

It’s no accident that the NEW “Solid South” of the last two presidential elections is red (as in the McCain/Palin request on their web page calendar “Please wear Republican RED.”) The Red-Baiting party of Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (from whence congressman Nixon rose to prominence) and “Better Dead than Red” now embraces red, and that is deeply significant in a way that news doesn’t “get.”*

[* In a bloviating class addicted to the post-modernist and deconstructionist terms “narrative” and “meta-narrative” they sure as hell don’t understand what they’re talking about. The archetypal impact of Barbiegate™ and its “Marie Antoinette moment” cannot be understated. Nor can the impact of the failed campaign hoax story of the “B-Girl” who was “mutilated” by a black man who groped her, robbed her and “carved” an upside down or mirror-image “B” on her face. Both stories are being dropped like a hot potato, evidently, for not fitting into the “narrative.” Salaud! Idiots! They ARE the narrative!]

Ronald Reagan kicks off the Republican Era in 1980 with a very deliberate, conscious act of fealty to the ugliest stain on the American soul:

In August, after the Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan gave a campaign speech at an annual county fair on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. Reagan famously announced, “Programs like education and others should be turned back to the states and local communities with the tax sources to fund them. I believe in states’ rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can at the community level and the private level.” Reagan also stated, “I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment.” He went on to promise to “restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them.” [Wikipedia]

At that time, Neshoba County Mississippi’s sole historic claim to fame was the murder of those three civil rights workers (as depicted in the films Murder in Mississippi and Mississippi Burning).

For many years, that speech has been missing from the historical record.

Now, that speech has turned up. You can listen to it in its entirety. (Right click and ‘save as‘, 50 mb .mp3 file.) As noted in the recording itself, a decent audio recording was discovered in a box in Colorado in 2006. The speech doesn’t begin until 16:23, please note.

1/24/2007 6:00:00 PM
Recording of Reagan’s Fair speech found

Listen to Reagan’s 1980 Neshoba County Fair speech
By DEBBIE BURT MYERS
Managing Editor
The Neshoba (Miss.) Democrat

Copies of what is believed to be the only recording of then-Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan’s 1980 speech at the Fair has been donated to The Reagan Library and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History by a Neshoba County native.

Reagan’s visit to the Fair was his first public appearance following his nomination with over 30,000 said to be in attendance….

You really need to understand a little about what the Neshoba County Fair represents to understand the context of that speech. Blogger Hannah of “Pratie Place” in an exceptionaly well-written description:

This event [the Neshoba County Fair], which my boss describes as ‘Republican Woodstock,’ takes place out in the middle of nowhere (by now, this should not come as a shock to you), in the heart of Neshoba County, an hour and a half northeast of Jackson. As usual, you drive and drive and drive and there is nothing. Then, in the middle of this nowhere, there is a campground right by the side of the “highway”….

The Neshoba County Fair’s most famous role is as a venue for Mississippi political speakers. There are only 2.8 million people in the state, and a lot of the most important ones like to hang out at the Fair in their expensive hovels, so as a result, any Mississippi politician who is seriously stumping for office has to put on his shirtsleeves and take a turn sweating it out at the outdoor podium. It’s traditional. Sometimes it’s not just Mississippians who show up to pay their dues — none other than Ronald Reagan kicked off his first presidential campaign at the Neshoba County Fair….

Overt racism is not in fashion in Mississippi politics. You just get these little crypto-racist moments (famous Mississippian Trent Lott, for example, had one when he recently told a Republican audience that the country would be “a better place today” if they had elected Strom Thurmond of the segregationist party to be president in the 1940s) and also this weird overall attitude toward their history: as far as I can tell, the general mentality of white politicians and of many white Mississippians is that they work very hard to believe that there were never any Klan members and lynching-watchers and quiet racists among their parents and friends and family. They kind of like to think that Killen and the other men who murdered the civil rights workers were evil men from a little evil space ship, who made landfall in Neshoba county, did their evil deeds without any knowledge or support from the community, and were either brought to justice or quietly disappeared somewhere (perhaps to their evil home planet) where they are far too far away for the arm of justice to reach. And so, we should put the past behind us. And so, Mississippi and her fair native (non space-ship-based) citizens have nothing to be ashamed of….Essentially, they’re fighting a battle to avoid historical context. Holocaust eduation is mandatory in Mississippi public schools. Civil rights history education is not.

Neshoba County is 20% black, and Mississippi is 36% black. But I only saw about two black families visiting the fair the entire day I was there, and one local said that she thought that *none* of the cabins were owned by black families. But it’s not that they’re not there — it’s that they’re not guests, not visitors. Black people maintain the fair grounds. They drive the horses in the harness races that fairgoers bet on.

A little later, in the “comments” this:

I ALSO WENT TO THE NESHOBA COUNTY FAIR AND HAVE BEEN GOING SINCE I WAS 3 YRS OLD. I AM NOW 29 YEARS OLD. MY FATHER HAS A CABIN THERE AND ALTHOUGH HE AND MY MOM ARE DIVORCED, SHE ALSO HAS A CABIN. THIS YEAR MY COUSINS, PEYTON AND ELI MANNING, KNOWN FOR NFL FOOTBALL, ALSO ATTENDED. ALTHOUGH I NOW RESIDE IN KNOXVILLE, TN AND I TRY TO DESCRIBE THE FAIR TO PEOPLE I KNOW. NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND IT UNTIL THEY GO ONCE

Or, as Washington Post writer William Raspberry summed it up:

Philadelphia, county seat of Mississippi’s Neshoba County, is famous for a couple of things. That is where three civil rights workers — Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman — were murdered in 1964. And that is where, in 1980, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan chose to launch his election campaign, with a ringing endorsement of “states’ rights.”

It was bitter symbolism for black Americans (though surely not just for black Americans). Countless observers have noted that Reagan took the Republican Party from virtual irrelevance to the ascendancy it now enjoys. The essence of that transformation, we shouldn’t forget, is the party’s successful wooing of the race-exploiting Southern Democrats formerly known as Dixiecrats. And Reagan’s Philadelphia appearance was an important bouquet in that courtship.

The embrace of the old “Dixiecrats” and Southern racism, exclusion, segregation, whatever you want to call it is indisputable in the “Party of Lincoln”s current incarnation.

Since that time, racial politics have been winked at by and within the modern GOP: everything from the famed “Willie Horton” ad of 1988, to the ongoing and massive suppression of black voters in 2000 and 2004 (not to mention the lesser-reported instances). John McCain can actually blame his loss in the South Carolina primary more to the campaign by Sons of Confederate Veterans against him after he repudiated the Confederate Flag, and less about the legendary (because it fits the press’ narrative) “McCain fathered a black baby” whispering campaign. (I’ve covered this at length in “Ku Klutz Klan” 18 Jan 2008).

It is without question that the Republican party has embraced southern racists (and, after the busing controversies of the 1970s and 1980s, northern racists, as well). Code words have been the norm for a very long time.

Think about it: we have watched the transformation of the Grand Old Party — who spent more time as a party congratulating itself for “Lincoln freed the slaves” than actually advancing that agenda of equality — into an equal-opportunity party of race-baiting and minority hating.

John McCain is in TROUBLE in this culture of intolerance for NOT embracing the racist, code-worded meme of “illegal immigrants” (blaming the slaves for slavery) that the GOP worked so hard to make an issue in this election. (Remember, 50% of “illegal immigrants” are NOT Hispanic, but 100% of the ‘illegals’ that Republicans talk about ARE.)

When former Bush speechwriter and rat-abandoning-sinking-ship David Frum writes tomorrow in the Washington Post, today that the GOP needs to salvage what it can and toss McCain over the side, he is profoundly mistaken in blaming McCain for the Republican meltdown. No personality is to blame: it is their core ideology and philosophy of EXCLUSION that is the proverbial “elephant in the room” on this one. The racial agenda is blatant:

Sorry, Senator. Let’s Salvage What We Can.
By David Frum
Sunday, October 26, 2008; B01

There are many ways to lose a presidential election. John McCain is losing in a way that threatens to take the entire Republican Party down with him.

A year ago, the Arizona senator’s team made a crucial strategic decision. McCain would run on his (impressive) personal biography. On policy, he’d hew mostly to conservative orthodoxy, with a few deviations — most notably, his support for legalization for illegal immigrants…. [emphasis added]

He — hilariously — adds the final conclusion (scapegoating McCain for the elephantine sins of the GOP, as though this election were merely a rejection of John McCain and not 28 years of rule through social division and pitting class against class). A new standard bearer arises:

If McCain loses, Palin’s allies say that the national Republican Party hasn’t seen the last of her. Politicians are sometimes formed by a signal defeat — as Bill Clinton was when he was tossed out of the Arkansas governor’s mansion after his first term — and Palin would return to a state that had made her America’s most popular governor and where her image as a reformer who swept aside her own party’s insiders rings true, if not in the cartoon version the McCain campaign presented.

“There are people in this campaign who feel a real sense of loyalty to her and are really pleased with her performance and think she did a great job,” said the McCain insider. “She has a real future in this party.”

On the other hand, we see a Democratic Party that — seemingly — has finally erased the stain of slavery from its collective soul, and embraces the full rights of all. Nothing could be more indicative of this than the presidential nominee, AND his campaign.

But let me tell you an old Western joke, as a way of looking at the angry reaction to Obama:

Once upon a time, in a small Utah town, where everybody knew everybody and everybody was a good Republican, the County Clerk found an astonishing piece of information, and passed it on to the elders of the local Mormon stake. The Mormon elders called in a fellow who was well-respected in town and asked him, “Why did your son register as a DEMOCRAT?”

The fellow Mormon responded, “I blame myself. We brought all of our children up in the tenets of the church, and as good Republicans, but, well, he is the youngest of our nine, and perhaps my wife and I didn’t pay quite as much attention to him as we paid the other kids, because somehow, when we weren’t looking, he learned how to READ.”

All right: it seems a traditional regional partisan American political joke. But there is a grain of truth in it. Racism has been openly promoted since 9-11, and in a thousand viral emails since last year. When the woman in Indiana or Ohio at McCain’s town hall tells McCain that Obama is “an Arab” and McCain corrects her, “No, he’s a decent family man,” some few noted the inherently racist nature of the response — the clear implication that “Arab” and “decent, family man” are mutually contradictory. But no one seemed to care that the ONLY reason that woman would be “scared” is because the racist meme that Arabs = Muslims = Terrorists has been flagrantly and blatantly promoted by the GOP … WITHOUT protest, almost without exception.

And, as a Rovian attempt to push the meme that Obama = Muslim (and its corollary, Obama = Arab), thousands of viral emails have been cycling for nearly two years now.

Racism is institutionalized when hatred of “Illegal” aliens and Muslims/Arabs is an article of faith within the Party of Lincoln™ AND is dependent — not upon the EDUCATION, but on the IGNORANCE of the party base. The overt policy of the GOP and of the McCain campaign is “school choice” which is literally the secession from public education of “homeschoolers” and has been used to segregate — via private schools — Southern schools (and, increasingly, Northern) along racial lines until it has been estimated that Southern schools are, functionally, MORE segregated in Southern climes than they were before Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 (which rejected the Jim Crow doctrine of “separate but equal” and kicked off the modern Civil Rights movement in earnest.) Homeschooling was launched by Neoconfederates, as much to teach the “real” history of the “War of Northern Aggression” as to keep the little preciouses away from the horrible doctrine of Evolution and maintain an anti-scientific, theocratic agenda. Praise the Lord and old Jeff Davis.

So, in a profound sense, there is truth in that joke about the Mormon Democrat.

The party relies on ignorance and intellectual illiteracy to maintain its power. The party relies on the “hatred of the Other” to win campaigns, and that relies on a conscious agenda of purposefully keeping supporters ignorant. There is no polite way around it, although there are, undoubtedly, a million rationalizations as to why it isn’t “really” true.

It’s true.

It’s gotten so bad that college courses on the fallacies of formal logic might just as well be called “Republican Campaign Arguments 101.”

A good current example is Barbiegate™, as Sarah Palin attempted to self-righteously declare that she’s very “frugal” and that, besides, the clothes didn’t cost $150,000.

This is called a “straw-man” argument: you set up a false argument (i.e. the implication that Palin BOUGHT the $150,000 worth of glad-rags, and by the way, they didn’t cost $150,000). And then you demolish the “straw man.”

Well, actually, she not only doesn’t know what the price was, but is intentionally misleading us by talking about where SHE buys clothes. (But, significantly for the lie, not what she paid for her own clothes, which is a pre-requisite for judging her “frugal” habits.)

It’s not, as the weaselly “Inside Edition” TV show labels it, “fashiongate.” No: it’s not about Palin. She’s just the Barbie doll. The actual scandal is that the Republican National Committee BOUGHT $150,000 worth of Barbie clothes for their living, breathing Barbie doll. Palin’s sartorial buying history doesn’t enter the equation.

But, even this transparent distortion doesn’t register with voters, because LYING is the NORM, and it can only BE the norm because they expect us to be stupid.

It’s no accident that “Civics” courses ceased being taught in the public schools beginning in the Reagan Administration. It’s no accident that the AM airwaves came to be dominated by right wing demagogues following Reagan’s suspension of the “fairness doctrine” in 1986. Rush Limbaugh’s rise begins in that same year. His national show — celebrating its 20th anniversary of misogyny, racism and unfocused hate (by creating the artificial and despicable race of “liberals”) — began in 1988.

Ignorance and racism are deplorable, of course, and antithetical to democracy. Worse, the embrace of these qualities AS tactics is PROFOUNDLY antithetical to democracy. As is the blatant and seemingly-accepted purging of voters in a systematic attempt to enhance the votes of the smaller party and reduce the votes of the more populous party.

Even the selection of Sarah Palin was originally HOPED to draw disaffected Hillary Clinton voters BECAUSE she was a woman.

Which indicates the bias of the GOP, as currently concocted: It’s all about being the White Alpha Male. Sarah Palin is not a woman’s idea of a woman candidate. She’s a MAN’s idea of a woman candidate. And, finally, it slips into the narrative that Palin is sexually attractive to GOP males, and perhaps even to the sexually suspect Senator McCain, whose sexual narrative is, frankly, utterly unacceptable to the moral prigs that run the party. At least their PUBLIC pubic stances. (Were they not consciously blinkering themselves. Right Dr. Dobson?)

But the truth is, literally, meaningless to them. And that is a prescription for disaster. If you need examples look no further than the invasion of Iraq and the response to Katrina. They believed what they wanted to believe, people died, and now they are being held accountable.

And none is more surprised than the liars, because they have begun to BELIEVE their own lies.

9-11, horrific though it was, is NO EXCUSE whatsoever for racism against Arabs, or bigotry against Muslims. And yet, that’s the engine of untruthiness driving the campaign.

So, it is profoundly frightening to me that the “B-Girl” hoax, and the McCain campaign’s attempt to drive the hoax, the Matt Drudge injection of the story, and the seemingly coordinated blog swarm on it has dropped out of view as quickly and absolutely as Michael Dukakis vanished from the public eye following his defeat at the hands of an utterly disgraceful George H.W. Bush campaign in 1988.

And now, desperate, they are pulling out all the stops. The “Obama’s Mistress” meme is back (as I reported in “String Theory” 12 Oct 2008).

Pundit Review Radio / BLACKFIVE:
THE WOLF ON OBAMA’S MISTRESS
— I speak with Blackfive’s own Wolf, who earns his Pulp Fiction moniker with more on Vera Baker, the mistress Michelle Obama exiled to Martinique. We will have pictures and more info on Monday, also it looks like one of the major news outlets is going to move on the story.

Discussion:
Confederate Yankee: My Name Is Barack Obama, and I Approve This Mistress
Michael van der Galien / PoliGazette: Obama Affair Rumors Reinforced
JammieWearingFool: Whatever You Do, Don’t Mention Obama’s Girlfriend
BJ Bjornson / Newshoggers.com: A Quick Question — Which do you think hurts McCain’s campaign more:
Dan / Riehl World View: Obama Affair Nonsense
Wind Rider / Silent Running: So, Barry likes a little strange on the side, maybe?

I mean, I understand WHY nobody’s picking up on the connection between the “maimed” B-Girl and blatant race-baiting by the McCain campaign. We already know that the Pennsylvania campaign director was pushing the story to the media before the facts were out. We already know that it was broken nationally by Drudge. And we already know that it was one of the most astonishingly UGLY hoaxes in recent American politics: Black “Obama supporter” robs, gropes and then “carves” a “B” for Barack backwards on the face of a Tareyton ad fake black-eyed McCain staffer (“I’d rather fight than switch”) because of her “McCain” bumper sticker.

click for larger image

The “B” was a scratch that visibly faded overnight, by the by. “Mutilate” and “carve” and “knife” were, however, prominent in the attempted smear. It couldn’t have moved without the help of Drudge and the Rightie Bloggers … you know, the same gang that is pushing the “Obama … AFFAIR!” meme.

Odd that they pushed the John Edwards affair story the National Enquirer pushed, but have completely ignored the Sarah Palin affair story reported by the SELFSAME National Enquirer mere weeks later. Well, not so odd. BUT, I wonder if it won’t suddenly show up if they stupidly keep pushing the (meaningless) Obama is a … CHEATER! meme.

This election should have, if nothing else, brought to light the shameful national fault lines of gender, race, religion, union-bashing and homophobia. And, critically, WHICH party is based on EXPLOITING those fault lines.

We shall see if the B-Girl gets any more “mainstream media” attention, as well it ought.

Or Palin’s Barbie clothes from the RNC.

Or, perhaps the slightest scintilla about something other than a faux Joe the faux Plumber on Faux Nooz™.

Now, I realize that this is wordy, and what I’ve told you is kind of depressing, so I’d better leave you with an old American back-room political joke:

One day, two Republican Senators were taking the elevator down to the subway, and one said to the elevator operator, who’d been a fixture for years:

“Say, Joe. I’ve always meant to ask you, are you a Republican or a Democrat?”

Old Joe looked up at the Senator and answered proudly, “I’m a Democrat, Senator.”

The other Republican Senator nodded a moment and said, “Do you mind if I ask you WHY, Joe?”

Old Joe thought about it a minute and said: “Well, my pappy was a Democrat and his pappy was a Democrat.”

The first Republican Senator thought about that, and asked, “Well then, Joe, if your grandfather was a horse thief and your father was a horse thief, then what would you be?”

“Oh,” said Old Joe. “Then I’d be a Republican.”

Never truer than these daze (sic).

Courage.

========

cross posted from his vorpal sword

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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