Republican Presidential Candidates, Mothers of Race-baiting Strategy

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

In recent weeks, several Republican presidential candidates have become mired in the racial politics that is synonymous with the GOP.

If a “leopard can’t change its spots,” shouldn’t we expect more race-baiting strategies as we move closer to the 2012 Presidential Election?

Several Republicans including: Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have all engaged in race-baiting. Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum became one of the last Republicans vying for the White House to become ensnared in a racial debacle. During the Iowa Caucus, Mr. Santorum said “I don’t want to make Black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” 

Days later, after a torrent of criticism about the racist undertones of Mr. Santorum’s comments, he claimed “I’ve looked at that quote, in fact I looked at the video” and “In fact, I’m pretty confident I didn’t say Black. What I think — I started to say a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — mumbled it and sort of changed my thought.”

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous characterized Senator Santorum’s excuse as “outrageous” saying “He conflates welfare recipients with African-Americans, though federal benefits are in fact determined by income level.” Mr. Santorum, like many Republicans, has been pushing to end so-called “entitlement” programs like Social Security and Welfare. For decades, Republicans have attacked the Welfare program fostering the false notion African-Americans are its main recipients when in fact Whites are.

This tendency to link African-Americans to things like Welfare, coincides with the penchant Republicans have for creating controversy around the toxic topic of race. Even Texas Congressman Ron Paul has been muddied by charges of racism.

Prior to the Iowa Caucus, revelations emerged that Dr. Paul had some newsletters—Ron Paul’s Political Report and Ron Paul’s Freedom Report—that often published racist content. Here are a few examples from those newsletters. In one article, Martin Luther King Day is referred to as “Hate Whitey Day” and Dr. King is characterized as a “world-class philanderer” who “seduced underage girls and boys.”

Congressman Paul claimed he “never read that stuff” in his newsletters. It seems certain the content of those newsletters slowed Congressman Paul’s momentum going into Iowa, where he placed third behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Interestingly enough, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pounced on Mr. Paul going into the Iowa Caucus about the racist newsletters. “These things are really nasty, and he didn’t know about it,” Gingrich pondered incredulously adding “It strikes me it raises some fundamental questions about him.”

To make matters worse, this week, more racist revelations have emerged from Mr. Paul’s past newsletters. One current excerpt contains this statement: “We don’t think a child of 13 should be held as responsible as a man of 23. That’s true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult, and should be treated as such.”

Ironically, this sort of racist insightful demagoguery makes one thing clear: the Republican Party is a party that gives aid and comfort to racists. And is Mr. Gingrich any less of a political opportunist than Dr. Paul?

Speaker Gingrich is one of the most hypocritical, smooth talking snake-oil salesmen ever to slither along the halls of Capitol Hill. This is the man who sanctimoniously said Congressman Paul’s newsletters “raise fundamental questions” about Mr. Paul. He also said "Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. They literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of I do this and you give me cash, unless it illegal.” He labeled President Obama the “Food Stamp president.” Are these statements any less racist than the poison published in Dr. Paul’s newsletters? Is this anything more that dog-whistle politics?

Isn’t it obvious Speaker Gingrich is using coded language to single out poor Black people? Doesn’t this statement encapsulate the myths which postulate that African-Americans are shiftless, criminally inclined "Negroes"? But more importantly, aren’t these Republicans assuaging their racist base when they peddle this putrid prejudice? Indeed, aren’t they currently employing their “Southern Strategy” in the South Carolina Primary?

On Monday—Martin Luther King Holiday—Fox News hosted the most recent Republican Primary presidential debate. Republican Party racism was present. But the featured racial opportunist wasn’t Congressman Paul or Senator Santorum. It was the morally bankrupt politician Newt Gingrich. If anyone thinks the Republican Party isn’t plagued with prejudice they should replay the racist responses of those xenophobes who cheered Mr. Gingrich and jeered journalist Juan Williams during Monday’s debate.

At issue was a statement Gingrich made weeks earlier, that if invited to speak at the NAACP he would urge the African-American community to “demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” Mr. Williams—who works for Fox News—asked Mr. Gingrich if his use of such language wasn’t "intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities."

The modern day southern crackers, in the audience, roundly and rudely booed Williams. And none of the Republican candidates said anything against Gingrich’s racist characterization of the welfare issue, or, with the treatment of Mr. Williams by those in their base. Their silence—to that shameful, hateful display— tells us that Republicans will appeal to, and, appease racists for political expedience.

The truth is the Republican Party for decades has been trying to overturn the gains of the Civil Rights Movement. The latest talk about cutting “spending” and “entitlement” programs is a Republican tactic to tell their base, in a veiled manner, that “liberal” initiatives—that help Black people—will be gutted.  Sadly, that message is has more resonance for these pitiful people because of the presence of a Black man in the White House.

For three years now, these bigots have been crying for President Barack Obama’s downfall. As we get closer to the 2012 Presidential Election their calls will only get louder.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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