Thursday, September 01, 2011

Schedulegate and Racism

I think liberals tend to jump to racism/sexism hypotheses too quickly. I've argued that the GOP's vitriolic hatred of Obama is just a further point on the trajectory of insanity that it was on during the Clinton administration. But things like the "you lie" fiasco have begun to sway me toward the racism hypothesis. The utter, almost casual disrespect that the GOP shows for the President is really striking--or seem so to me. They hated Bill Clinton, but they didn't seem to be so openly and casually contemptuous of him. Schedulegate seems to me to be another instance of the type of thing I'm pointing to. Of course, it's hard to tell with the GOP; they're now so nutty, and so contemptuous of Democrats, that they might be treating a white Democrat just as disrespectfully. So I'm not yet willing to fully embrace a racism hypothesis here.


Blogger lovable liberal said...

WS, good to have you back. I'm going to put you on my follow list, hoping your output continues once the term's fully underway.

Yes, the Teapublicans would have hated, harassed, and hounded any Democrat, irrespective of race or sex. If we had elected Hillary instead, we'd be questioning their sexism. Bill Clinton didn't have either of these disadvantages, and they still hate his guts. Ditto Ted Kennedy. Ditto, fer chrissakes, Tom Daschle, who was about a Milquetoast as he could be.

But there are strong reasons that racism is credible to explain the special animus on the right for Obama. Not just the origin of the current GOP radicalism in the remnants of Southern Democrats who promised and delivered massive resistance, but also in adherence to Rush Limbaugh, who among other media manipulators constantly foments ridiculous racial jealousy in whites.

Limbaugh's job is to dress up racism so its KKK tattoo is covered over, but everyone in his audience who says, "I'm not a racist, but..." is in fact a racist. They'll deny it hotly in public but when they're comfortable with you they'll switch to "If that makes me a racist, ...".

Yet every Republican has to kiss Limbaugh's ring, if not his ass. You cross him, you're dead in the party.

The visceral response of conservatives to illegal immigration is another case. Pres. Obama has done more than Duhbya did (unless you give Duhb' credit for tanking the economy, thus reducing incentives to come here). Yet wingnuts everywhere blame Obama in apocalyptic terms for a problem that has existed for decades and is in fact a bit better on his watch.

It's clear from the unguarded rhetoric of the rank and file that wingers are anti-immigration - though they have learned from more careful GOP master to deny that - when the immigrants are brown or don't speak English well. Before the Irish tiger arose, there were thousands of Irish illegals in Boston. The same people who are now maniacally outraged at Brazilians uttered nary a peep against the Irish.

Still, the biggest marker of bigotry among the Teapublicans is their inconsistent view of the benefits of the welfare state. "Keep the government's hands off my Medicare" is a prime example. Even the GOPers want their Social Security and Medicare because they deserve it. Those people on welfare - or even unemployment - don't deserve it. The perception remains strong among wingers that millions of brown people are sitting around on their lazy asses. Even though welfare, like foreign aid, is a tiny part of the budget, the rightwing rank and file have been fooled into thinking the radical free marketers aren't coming for the benefits the rank and file think of as different from entitlements, simply because they think they deserve what the government gives them, while all those other people don't deserve it.

Will you hear Republicans say "n-----"? No, they know better. But everything else from the bad old days, short of violence, is still in use.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


Something weird is going on re: blogger comments. It even ate your comment asking "what happened to my other comments?" I'm looking into it...

9:36 AM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Not to worry, WS. I was confident the problem was something technical.

7:17 PM  

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