Brace Yourselves: This Is a Campaign About Race Now

dog whistle

It has been an ugly campaign so far, but I have a feeling it’s about to get a lot uglier. Mitt Romney gave an interview to USA Today yesterday. The article is mostly focused on Romney’s complaints about Obama’s supposedly negative campaign against him and how he intends to fight back.

Naturally Romney included another dog whistle (or as Charles Pierce more appropriately calls them, “obvious racial air-raid sirens”).

“There are plenty of weaknesses that I have, and I acknowledge that,” Romney says. “But the attacks that have come have been so misguided, have been so far off target, have been so dishonest, that they surprised me. I thought they might go after me on things that were accurate that I’ve done wrong, instead of absurd things.”

He ticks off the examples he has in mind. “The Harry Reid attack, ‘Oh, he hasn’t paid taxes in 10 years.’ Ridiculous,” he says of an allegation that the Democratic Senate majority leader attributed to an unnamed friend. “The attack about how Romney’s responsible for this woman who died … and the vice president’s comments about ‘chains.’ Really? The White House just keeps stepping lower and lower and lower, and the people of America know this is an important election and they deserve better than they’ve seen.”

As if the small percentage of his income that Romney pays in taxes and the multiple tax havens he uses to keep his taxes low aren’t issues. But here comes the “obvious air raid siren.” Actually, it’s a twofer. The interviewer asks Romney about the utterly false claims he has been making that Obama “gutted” the welfare work requirement and about his recent “joke” about Obama’s birth certificate.

Romney defends the welfare ads as accurate, accusing Obama of offering state waivers as a political calculation designed to “shore up his base” for the election. He denies he was trying to stoke discredited questions about Obama’s birthplace when he said at a Detroit rally Friday that no one had ever asked him for his Michigan birth certificate.

“I understand some people don’t think we should ever joke,” Romney says, saying he was just being “human” and “spontaneous.” He argues that his attacks have been based on policy while Obama has attacked him on more personal fronts. The president’s team has tried “to minimize me as an individual, to make me a bad person, an unacceptable person,” he says.

Obama’s “base” presumably being poor black welfare recipients? And we’re supposed to believe that Romney couldn’t talk about being born and raised in Michigan without also talking about his birth certificate? Please. This is the kind of crap we’re going to be hearing from now on unless polls demonstrate it isn’t working. It’s jarring to it coming from the nominee himself instead of the VP candidate or a surrogate, but Romney clearly has no shame at all.

I know most of you have already seen this, but I’m going to post Chris Matthews’ rant about Romney’s race baiting from today’s Morning Joe show.

Matthews is absolutely right on, but notice how the rest of the talking heads patronize him and minimize the reality of what the Romney campaign is doing. Here’s what Pierce had to say about it:

If you can tear yourself away from the attempts of the hosts to tut-tut-my-good-man the whole thing to death — and poor Tom Brokaw, who freaking covered the civil-rights movement and knows good and well which party latched on to the wrong side of those events and rode them to glory, looks as though he might have a stroke — listen carefully to what Matthews says. He links the birther joke to the welfare commercials, which any thinking analyst would do, since they came hard, one upon the other, and since that was the only hymn in the modern Republican hymnal Romney had not yet sung to the approval of the choir — he’d warmed up on the melody when he was ripping up Rick Perry on the issue of immigration — his campaign was bound to get around to it eventually. Priebus dismisses the birther comment as “an attempt at levity,” and chides Matthews for failing to have a sense of humor….
“We’ve gotten to a point in politics where any moment of levity is frowned upon by guys like you…It’s a moment of levity. Everybody gets it.”

Somehow, the truthless welfare commercials, which are the really deafening sirens in the current moment, disappeared from the dialogue and never come up again. There was yet another blow-up later when Priebus smirked about the president’s alleged “European” policies, and Matthews went up the wall again, calling what Priebus said “insane,” while Mika Brzezinski suggested that everyone “work on tone.” She has her work cut out for her down here, I’ll tell you that.

Pierce thinks Matthews will be “disciplined” for his outburst. I not so sure. Matthews has been talking about the race baiting for awhile now. But most of the corporate media outlets are not going to deal with the race issue in an honest and up-front way. They’re even having trouble calling Romney out on his bald-faced lies.

48 Comments on “Brace Yourselves: This Is a Campaign About Race Now”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Thomas Edsall has a must read op-ed today: Making the Election about Race.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Sharp criticism has done nothing to hold back the Romney campaign from continuing its offensive — in speeches and on the air — because the accuracy of the ads is irrelevant as far as the Republican presidential ticket is concerned. The goal is not to make a legitimate critique, but to portray Obama as willing to give the “undeserving” poor government handouts at the expense of hardworking taxpayers.

  2. peregrine says:

    I saw this war of words this morning and applaud Chris, like the audience did, for speaking out and challenging these republican lies. Reince Priebus and all the rest are playing to the populace’s ignorance and Chris gave the facts about other administrations like Teddy Roosevelt’s, FDR’s, and Truman’s wanting a national health care system. Democrats should follow suit and argue against “the stupid”.

    I’ll long remember Chris’ endorsement of Obama over Hillary, but, even when I wish he’d stop interrupting guests, I think his is the best MSNBC program on tv.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Romney should get all the credit for the racism of this campaign. Period.

      • dakinikat says:

        His father would be so ashamed.

      • peregrine says:

        Indeed, the teapartiers’ and the Republican Party have disguised their platforms and arguments under jobs, the economy , and low taxes since Obama’s inauguration. Actually, the Republican Party wants to return the country back to the pre-1960’s era and to the authoritarian rule of the great white (male) majorities. They have been seething since the ’60s and are waging an all-out war to “take the country back” and “get us on the right (white) track.” It’s disgraceful and repulsive. The “socialist” slam has made me boil for 3.5 years. I suspect the republicans worry that if they don’t beat Obama and win Congressional majorities, Obama will be unrestrained in giving away much more to the “undeserving” poor, blacks, and hispanics. It’s a more subtle part of the race card.

      • HT says:

        Peregrine, what is even more appalling, most of the people who throw around “Socialist” “Marxist” “Communist” have no clue as to what those terms mean. That is what so sad, the dumbing down of the electorate.

    • janicen says:

      It’s interesting that, as he was rattling off the names of the administrations which advocated for a national health care system, he failed to mention the Clinton administration in there.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Prayer moved Isaac away from the RNC.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Jindal has announced he’s definitely not going to the birtherfest in Tampa.

    • HT says:

      Perhaps Jindal has realized that it wouldn’t be the best optics for his political future? It’s not as though the intelligent people of LA don’t have enough fodder on Jindal, so perhaps he’s finally getting a clue?

      • dakinikat says:

        He’s had three pressers today. He must be trying to make up for lost air time hoping the national news will pick up on him being all leadery and all

      • bostonboomer says:

        He already said yesterday he wouldn’t go, so I guess he had them list him on the program so he could make a second announcement.

      • HT says:

        BB I thought no one could be more cynical that I. You’re coming close. I love it!
        Dak, he had three pressers because, from all I’ve observed, there is no one else on the planet that Jindal loves to hear more than himself. And of course, the possibility of him being picked up on the National networks plays into his vision of himself as a Very Important Person. Perhaps that is why he decided to not attend the convention – because he would be in competition with all the other blowhards who want national attention.

        • dakinikat says:

          AJELive ‏@AJELive

          #Republican convention in Tampa opens with a recess, as Pres. #Obama declares state of emergency in #Louisiana | Video:

          This could look very bad for a party that parties through a hurricane that wasn’t so great on responding to the last hurricane.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Republican platform includes privatization plan for Medicare and Medicaid.

    “The first step is to move the two programs [Medicare and Medicaid] away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model,” the draft platform reads. “While retaining the option of traditional Medicare in competition with private plans, we call for a transition to a premium-support model for Medicare, with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. This model will include private health insurance plans that provide catastrophic protection, to ensure the continuation of doctor-patient relationships.”

    • HT says:

      And their premium support model would entail what, and for whom? Income adjusted – like the tax system that has so many loopholes that Buffet’s secretary pays more taxes that he does?
      Sorry, must go have a glass of wine and a cig to calm myself.

    • dakinikat says:

      GOP Draft Platform: ‘Homosexual Agenda’ Advanced By Obama Foreign Aid

      The effectiveness of our foreign aid has been limited by the cultural agenda of the current Administration, attempting to impose on foreign countries, especially the peoples of Africa, legalized abortion and the homosexual rights agenda. At the same time, faith-based groups — the sector that has had the best track record in promoting lasting development — have been excluded from grants because they will not conform to the administration’s social agenda. We will reverse this tragic course, encourage more involvement by the most effective aid organizations, and trust developing peoples to build their future from the ground up.

      So, tell me, how is this different from the Taliban again?

      • HT says:

        Are they talking about the same “faith” based groups that were behind the Uganda policy of killing gays? Yes, that will definitely enhance the image of the U.S. abroad. For sure.
        How is it different from the Taliban? They haven’t advocated beheading people, throwing acid on school children and stoning women to death – yet. They need more power before they go that route, and this election could just hand them that power.

      • northwestrain says:

        An Independent film maker managed to get interviews in Uganda with the hate group who want to kill all homosexuals. It was very clear where this hate group got their ideas – directly from the homophobic “missionary” group from the USA.

        That film was on Hulu for awhile — the cause and effect of this white missionary group is right there on that film.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Chris Matthews is beginning his show with another blast at Romney the racist.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    PA Senate candidate (GOP of course) says his daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy is “similar to rape.”

    “I lived something similar to that with my own family,” Smith said. He then described his daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy — from consensual sex.

    “She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views but fortunately for me … she chose the way I thought. Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t rape.”

    Smith affirmed that he believed his daughter’s pregnancy from consensual sex was similar to a rape. “Put yourself in a father’s position, yes, I mean it is similar.”

    But he quickly clarified during the same event that he was not comparing the two situations: “No … I said I went through a situation [with a daughter]. It’s very, very difficult. But do I condone rape? Absolutely not. But do I propose life, yes I do. I’m pro-life, period.”

    • HT says:

      OMG. Do these men even think before they open their mouth and insert both feet at the same time?

    • northwestrain says:

      Apparently very few men even understand what rape really is. Nearly every woman I know has had to fight off dates who feel it is their right to sexually molest if not rape their dates. Not all men are like this — but most of us had at least one male who thought he had “rights”.

      The GOP is full of stupids — but then this could be just a male trait????????????????

      • dakinikat says:

        But was it “RAPE” rape? RT @MotherJones: “You can’t thread a moving needle,” & other wisdoms from men regarding rape.

      • RalphB says:

        Oh Hell no, it’s not just a male trait. It is a trait of really stupid males though. 🙂

      • HT says:

        Like you northwest, most of the female friends I had and am currently establishing relationships have been raped and/or molested. I doubt whether any man who has not had the horrific experience could ever understand the life long affects, although many do understand to a degree. What I can’t get over is a bunch of pissy male alphas who have never had a moment’s grief in their life, presuming to stand up and say they Understand, and that they knew someone who was. Clear warning signals to me. If you actually knew someone who was, what did you do about it? Sorry, I’m getting carried away today. Time for another cig.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Definitely not. I’ve heard stupid women make those arguments.

        Ralph–I left you a note on the other thread about the militia story.

      • RalphB says:

        BB I hope they dig into that group (gang whatever) for as long as it takes to root them all out. It’s obvious the military has problems with some of their enlistees. Better background checks and higher standards would be nice.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Me too, and I hope they charge that guy with murdering his wife and unborn child!

    • janicen says:

      Like all people who think abortion should be outlawed, Smith thinks that women do not have the ability to make rational, adult decisions for themselves. Therefore it could be argued (by idiots like him) that any sexual encounter with a woman could be considered rape.

  8. northwestrain says:

    In many ways 0bama is more “white” culturally than most people who consider themselves “white” on the census forms. Culture and learned behavior is far more powerful than the few genes which determine skin color.

    The biggest cultural influence on 0bama is the fact that he grew up and went to school in Hawaii. Hapa-haoli and multi racial are the majority in Hawaii.Very often when I was a kid I was the only blond haoli looking kid in the group. And even then I was part Native American — my sister looks full blood NA. So she would blend in with the rest of the kids.

    Also this Nation is mixed race majority — and probably has been for years now. The way most government forms are constructed — mixed race is ignored.

    Romney as a Mormon was raised in a racist/sexist world. Romney is both a racist and a sexist person. He doesn’t know how to act outside of his comfort zone. He wants to be the leader of the world — in a world where whites are the minority. How stupid is that??? Plus he wants to force his religion on women of the world — HOW stupid is that?

    Four years ago 0bama and tweetie used deep seated misogynistic dog whistles against Clinton — and now the tables are turned and the GOP is playing the race card. Four years ago I watched that video of all the male talking heads on TV being Male Chauvinists. Now someone will probably put together a video of the jerks of TV doing something similar.

    This election should be about policies and the vision of the future compared for both candidates. Since discussing issues and policies seems to be off limits for both — I guess the only thing that is left is . . . .

    • dakinikat says:

      oops … he flip flopped again … tonight on cbs news

      ThinkProgress ‏@thinkprogress

      Following Akin controversy, Romney shifts position on abortion

      • dakinikat says:

        Mother Jones ‏@MotherJones

        “He’s not pro-choice, he’s not anti-choice, he’s multiple choice.”

      • northwestrain says:

        I nominate that as one of the best lines so far.

        Romney is multiple choice.

        “He’s not pro-choice, he’s not anti-choice, he’s multiple choice.”

        Four years ago it was 0bama who told the voters of Ohio that he was against the NAFTA and then he sent a spokesMAN to Canada to tell the big boss in Canada to ignore what 0bama tells the peasants.

        Now we have Romney who can outdo 0bama in the game of multiple choice. (or lie lie lie for the church — isn’t there a song about lie lie lie — la la — lie lie lie — la la — lie lie lie???????????

      • HT says:

        Beata, perfect song – should be the standard for the Rmoney (ht Ralph) campaign.

    • Eric Pleim says:

      I’m a little confused. You say that the biggest influence on Obama was his mixed race cultural upbringing in Hawaii, where he was a hapa haoli like so many others. (But of course for most, the other hapa is Asian or Hawaiian.) But just prior to that you say he is more culturally “white” than most of the country’s self identified whites.
      It seems to me that being raised in such an environment would accustom one to the fact that many people are not pure anything. How does that make him more “white” than your typical American “white”? I am really curious as to what you mean. I happen to think that his upbringing has enabled him to communicate with all kinds of people better than most whites or blacks, but I’m not convinced that that is a culturally white trait.

  9. RalphB says:

    Those Rmoney ads about welfare etc aren’t only racist. They also play into the right’s fantasy of socialist “librul-elites” who want to keep them dependent.

    Ed Kilgore: Obama’s Base

    But make no mistake, the “top-bottom” alliance idea is an important part of conservative movement demonology, particularly for the movement’s latest cutting-edge Tea Party activists. That’s a big part of their inveterate Obama Hatred: the president is the incarnation of both the snooty secular-socialist “elites” and the minority underclass. So of course he’d take any opportunity imaginable to reflect the former’s determination to create as large a dependent class as is possible, and the latter’s antipathy to work. Both these elements of the “base,” needless to say, share a parasitical view of the good, virtuous white middle class—particularly those living out their well-earned comfortable retirement—as a cash cow for their avarice.

    Before I completely gave up at some former Hillary blogs, this seemed to get them all frothed up more than anything else.

  10. dakinikat says:

    You will not believe with this Spanish magazine did to FLOTUS. It’s racist and sexist and is horrible!!

    • HT says:

      Yes, it’s horrid. It’s amazing how low some people are prepared to go. Can you imagine the horror a similar stunt about Nancy Reagan would have aroused?

  11. dakinikat says:

    Damn! Joe Cantore is still in New Orleans