The GOP’s Run-for-the-Hills Strategy

The GOP’s Run-for-the-Hills Strategy


One eager, red-faced and mildly influential Republican hack salivating for burger and plate of fries one day confirmed the GOP’s “all-out” for 2010: race.  He didn’t quite use the “R-word,” but there was an invisible wink-wink, also an effort at hidden incredulity confirming worst fears about the situation.  Spot blown, he simply shook his head and, at first, mumbled something about “well … it’s not what you think, not like Willie Horton.”

Interestingly enough, it didn’t seem like an attempt on his part to keep political strategy under wraps – more so small glimmer of guilt due to the scent of wrong on it.  For a party that swings madly on trees and bangs floors with hairy fists every time race is mentioned, they use it rather liberally when the mood suits the campaign or as a last resort nuclear option.  It’s selective and it’s desperate.  As you watch national political narratives take shape this summer, watch closely for people of color sandwiched between and the hard turn right to put it all on us.

Acting as though it’s not among the mainstream media elite, FOX News’ Judson Berger laments “lack of coverage” on two peculiar news items generating recent attention from conservative talk show hosts and activists:

Last year, it was Van Jones and ACORN that slipped under much of the media’s radar. But despite pledges to pay closer attention to the “polemic world of talk radio, cable television and partisan blogs,” two new stories have taken their place in the annals of things not much reported.

One is NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s claim that one of the space agency’s primary missions is to improve relations with Muslim countries. The other is the ongoing investigation into why the Justice Department dropped its case against New Black Panther Party members accused of intimidating voters on Election Day 2008.

These stories, among others, have germinated heavily on the conservative talk and blog circuit.  Going into this November cycle, we’re actually pressed to find the usual focus on classic social issues such as abortion or gay rights.  The new madness is New Black Panther Party takeovers and NASA conspiracies, a twist of Thurgood Marshall’s indelible legal legacy, the sun tan tax and illegal immigration paranoia for good measure.  Even though folks have good reason to show concern over immigration (maybe not the way Arizona shows it), and can nod a suspicious side glance at the DOJ’s dismissal of the NBBP case, there is easy worry over where these consolidated narratives are headed.  The common theme linking all stories is a certain fear of certain “colored” protagonists.  In the case of the tan tax, Washington Post reporter N.C. Aizenman reports on how the ridiculous blossoms into serious political movements:

The complaint surfaced on reader comment boards to blogs and news Web sites back in December, when it became clear that the levy — a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet tanning beds — was likely to be included in the new health-care overhaul bill. Since then, it’s been repeated by conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Doc Thompson, a fill-in host for Glenn Beck who intoned in March, “I now know the pain of racism.”

These days, White conservatives are finding an unusual degree of comfort in talking – rather explicitly – about race.  While they might argue it’s simply an attempt to insert alternative perspective on America’s controversial past time, Republicans privately whisper reverse racism is the move for 2010. Paint the perception that “Blacks” – with their Black President, Black Attorney General and pro-Muslim Black NASA head (following the “activist” philosophies of their late great Black Supreme Court justice) – have “taken over” and that scared Republican base voters and equally nervous White Independents should vote GOP as a collective defense mechanism.  The perceived quirkiness of the “tan tax” flap gives it away: “we’re surrounded.”  It’s a delirious run-for-the-hills strategy that could pay dividends for Republicans come November.