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The Republican id and the vestiges of racism.
In 1948, Southern Democrats, led by Strom Thurmond, bolted from the Democratic Party to form the States' Rights Democratic Party, better known as the Dixiecrats. Why? Because these Southern Democrats opposed desegregation:
Harry Truman established a highly visible President's Committee on Civil Rights and ordered an end to discrimination in the military in 1948. Additionally, the Democratic National Convention in 1948 adopted a plank proposed by Northern liberals led by Hubert Humphrey calling for civil rights; 35 southerners walked out. The move was on to remove Truman's name from the ballot in the South. This required a new party, which the Southern defectors chose to name the States' Rights Democratic Party, with its own nominee: Governor of South Carolina J. Strom Thurmond. [...] They later adopted a platform in Oklahoma City that said:
We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race; the constitutional right to choose one's associates; to accept private employment without governmental interference, and to learn one's living in any lawful way. We oppose the elimination of segregation, the repeal of miscegenation statutes, the control of private employment by Federal bureaucrats called for by the misnamed civil rights program. We favor home-rule, local self-government and a minimum interference with individual rights.

Of course the Dixiecrats ended up in the modern Republican Party. And they came to dominate it. A sad trajectory for the Party of Lincoln. As times changed, the overt racism was cloaked in dogwhistles. See "Law and order." But on occasion, the cloak was unmasked. For example, Jesse Helms' infamous "Hands" ad in his 1990 North Carolina Senate race against Harvey Gantt:

(Continue reading below the fold.)

But generally, Republican relied upon dogwhistles, as famously explained by Lee Atwater in 1981:

You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me -- because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'

As Mitt Romney's prospects in the current presidential campaign have grown dimmer, the Republican cloak has been getting thrown off. A few days ago Newt Gingrich said:
[Obama] really is like the substitute [National Football League] referees in the sense that he’s not a real president,” Gingrich told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Tuesday night. “He doesn’t do anything that presidents do, he doesn’t worry about any of the things the presidents do, but he has the White House, he has enormous power, and he’ll go down in history as the president, and I suspect that he’s pretty contemptuous of the rest of us.”





“This is a man who in an age of false celebrity-hood is sort of the perfect president, because he’s a false president,” he said. “He’s a guy that doesn’t do the president’s job.”

[...] Gingrich questioned whether Obama has the stamina and desire to be president.



“You have to wonder what he’s doing,” Gingrich continued. “I’m assuming that there’s some rhythm to Barack Obama that the rest of us don’t understand. Whether he needs large amounts of rest, whether he needs to go play basketball for a while or watch ESPN, I mean, I don’t quite know what his rhythm is, but this is a guy that is a brilliant performer as an orator, who may very well get reelected at the present date, and who, frankly, he happens to be a partial, part-time president.”

Gingrich ripped off the mask. The following day, the rest of the GOP noise machine joined the fray in earnest, with Drudge leading the charge on the Obama phone:
There was a video leading the Drudge Report on Thursday afternoon of a poor black woman [...] saying she's voting for President Obama because he gave her a free phone, and perhaps you have some questions about it.

The main question was, is there an "Obama phone"? The answer is obviously "no":

Is the Obama Phone Obama's doing?

No. The universal service requirement dates back at least to the Communications Act of 1934. The Lifeline program specifically was started in 1984 under President Reagan and was expanded in 1996 under President Clinton to allow qualifying households to choose to apply the benefit to either a landline or a cell phone. So no, it's not an Obama handout.

Like Mitt Romney's 47 percent remark, the Republicans use overtly racist appeals to whites to attempt to give the impressions that non-whites are the prime beneficiaries of "government handouts." And as in that case, when the 47 percent was mostly comprised of whites, like whites on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans benefits, student loan for college, the universal phone service requirement primarily benefits whites, in this case rural whites. Consider the Universal Service Program for Rural Health Care Providers:
The Rural Health Care program supports health care providers serving rural communities by funding telecommunications services necessary for the provision of health care. Congress mandated in 1996 that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) use the Universal Service Fund (USF) to provide support to telephone companies that serve eligible rural health care providers. Congress also directed the FCC to enhance access to advanced telecommunications and information services for these health care providers. Here are some frequently asked questions about the Rural Health Care program.

Who benefits the most from this program? Rural whites, of course. Or, to put it another way, predominantly Republican voters. But nobody helps them. Ask Craig T. Nelson:

But with the first of the 5 stages of grief setting in for Republicans regarding Romney's chances, denial:

Anger, racial anger, is sure to follow.  

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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