But I think by now it's also very clear that the GOP high commmand -- as far back as the Twin Cities white power rally, if not before -- deliberately adopted the demonization of ACORN/community organizers/the poor as a proxy for the hatred that no longer dares to speak its real name (except at the occasional Sarah Palin rally).
I think this strategy serves two purposes. One is obvious: to play upon traditional racial and class resentments to try to win back middle-class and working-class voters who might otherwise be waivering as they watch their jobs, their homes and their already inadequate retirement savings go spinning around the hole in the bottom of the economic toilet bowl.
We can take a page from John Lewis and call this the George Wallace gambit -- not the Wallace of the stand in the schoolhouse door or the bridge at Selma, but rather the Wallace who ran for president in 1968, '72 and '76 and managed to attract quite a few Northern Democratic votes with his attacks on school busing, affirmative action, fair housing laws and other examples of "social engineering" foisted upon Regular Joe (Joe Sixpack's dad and Joe the Plumber's granddad) by Ivy League professors and pointy-headed government bureaucrats.
Exactly who was supposed to benefit from all that social engineerin' was left unsaid, just as it is today.
Students of American politics know that Wallace's populist rabble rousing was quickly expropriated by the GOP and -- watered down for respectable middle-class consumption -- became one of the weapons used by Richard Nixon and his pit bull of a running mate, Spiro Agnew (Sarah Palin with jowls) to crack open the New Deal coalition.
The ACORN monster, in other words, is a stock character out of a play the Republicans have been performing with mind-numbing efficiency for the past 40 years -- making it the political equivalent of what The Fantasticks is for suburban dinner theater.
Given that the same attacks have been used, in some form or another, against a long line of lily white Democratic candidates, it would be unfair to characterize them as coded attempts to make an issue of Obama's race per se. That's a line the GOP high command apparently is still not willing to cross, even as coded attacks on Obama's alleged "foreignness" (i.e. his middle name) have become the order of the day. It is, however, an obvious coded attack (and very lightly coded at that) on the inner-city poor. And in American political slang, "inner-city poor" is simply a five-syllable substitute for "black".
Monday, October 20, 2008
Billmon's Right, as Usual
Billmon hits the nail on the head, Knocks it out of the park, connects with a long bomb deep in the other team's territory, sinks a three pointer from... If I hear one more pundit use a sports metaphor to describe the presidential race (oops, now I'm invoking NASCAR...) my head is going to explode. Anyway, Billmon names the unspoken boogie-man of the Republican Right.