coverLet’s cut to the chase: This orchestrated grass-roots anger over health care reform is a flat-out hoax, and the equally phony political debate going on in Washington is just as spurious. Neither one is about how much reform will cost, personal choice, or how many government bureaucrats will come between a patient and his or her doctor.

This is about race, pure and simple.

And since nothing scares the right-wing-nuts in the Republican Party more than the prospect of racial equality in anything, health care reform has become the latest outrage for their talk-radio stooges and, in turn, their never-ending search for higher ratings.

In the absence of facts that support the health care status quo, the radio ranters have been forced to reveal the outlines of the alternate universe in which they exist, that scary place where American voters last November elected a black Muslim born in Kenya who is using reform of this nation’s perfect-as-is medical care system as a way to usher in a Marxist-Leninist state.

Those who agree—but who want to remain socially acceptable—cloak the issue in different terms. They torture arguments into discourses on socialized medicine, cutting taxes, smaller government, market-based solutions and personal liberty. This bunch would never say aloud that President Barack Obama wants to convert Americans into Godless Communists, rather they imply that he would do something worse: turn them into single-payer-loving Canadians.

Tragically, large segments of the American public have bought into this reactionary nonsense and honestly believe that health care reform is a singular issue, a one-time thing that understandably divides the political left and the political right over the question of who should control a major sector of the American economy, private enterprise or the federal government.

But the argument is much broader and markedly more insidious. The debate has nothing to do with the cost of drugs, rationing medical care, or that constantly flogged waiting list for elective surgery. Its tap root reaches deep down into a steaming pile of racial muck dropped more than 60 years ago.

After President Harry Truman desegregated the military following World War II and the Democratic Party inserted a strong civil rights plank in its 1948 platform, southern segregationists walked out of that year’s convention and formed the States’ Rights Democratic (Dixiecrat) Party. Meeting later that summer in Birmingham, Alabama, that party picked South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond to head its ticket, and the upstart organization succeeded in winning four Southern states that November. The effort was not enough to keep Truman from being re-elected, but the wound in Democratic circles festered for years.

Observing this fracture up close was a young man from St. Matthews, S.C., named Harry Shuler Dent. A devout Southern Baptist who graduated from nearby Presbyterian College, Dent went on to get a degree from George Washington University Law School in 1957, and a master’s of law from Georgetown University in 1959. By the time he graduated, Dent had long been an aide to Thurmond, who by then was a U.S. Senator.

In addition to his expertise in the law, which he used to help his boss thwart civil rights legislation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Dent had a sensitive ear for the political stirrings of the folks back home. And they were uneasy. When the Republican Party nominated Sen. Barry Goldwater for president in 1964, Dent caught a glimpse of the future. At his urging, Strom Thurmond switched parties, which leads to the other thread of the health care reform story.

After losing the 1960 presidential election to John Kennedy and the 1962 California gubernatorial contest to Pat Brown, former Vice President Richard Nixon was dismissed as a viable political candidate by pundits on both the left and the right. ABC News commentator Howard K. Smith even hosted a 30-minute, prime time television program titled “The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon.” But while others were dismissing him as a has-been, the Dark Prince of the GOP was plotting a return.

Nixon joined a New York law firm for cover and quietly spent years traveling the back roads of America, speaking at fund raisers and kick-off rallies for obscure Republican candidates seeking the most minor of offices. Over a period of time, he appeared in countless VFW halls, addressed hundreds of small-town coffees and endured thousands of photo-ops, all the while building up a huge cache of political IOUs. More importantly, Nixon was picking up on the vibe emanating from what would soon be called The Silent Majority. He and Harry Dent were destined to get on the same page.

Meanwhile, the nation was undergoing a revolution. In response to almost constant pressure from African-Americans, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed a Democratic-controlled congress into enacting the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which gave black folks access to public accommodations, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which guaranteed them access to the ballot box. Federal courts were ordering school systems to abide by Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka and desegregate their facilities, even if that meant bussing students from one district to another, and Stokley Carmichael, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was talking about something new and scary called “black power.”

racism-1Resistance to the civil rights movement was violent. During the “Freedom Summer” of 1964, members the Neshoba County Mississippi sheriff’s department, in cahoots with the local Ku Klux Klan, murdered three young civil rights workers and buried their bodies in an earthen dam holding a farm pond. James Chaney, 21, Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24, were guilty of registering black people to vote.

In California, Nixon’s home state, Cesar Chavez was leading the United Farm Workers union into a series of strikes and boycotts against corporate agricultural interests, feminists were publicly burning bras and demanding their own rights, and anti-war activists were marching in the streets to insist on an end to the nation’s involvement in Vietnam.

The six o’clock news was dominated by angry people: the poor, the black, the foreign, pushy women and sloppily dressed young people. Lurking in the background and reveling in every minute of the chaos were hundreds of thousands of rock-and-rolling, free-loving, dope-smoking “flower children.”

Something had to be done, and Richard Nixon believed himself the man to do it.

Seeking vindication for his election losses in 1960 and 1962, Nixon desperately wanted to become president in 1968, but the electoral map held little promise; the traditional GOP strongholds would not get him to the White House. He needed a strong showing in the states that historically voted Democratic, many of which were in the South.

For help in getting those Southern votes, he called on a man who had carried parts of the region in a general election 20 years before, the arch-segregationist Strom Thurmond, who turned the job of electing Nixon over to his right-hand man, Harry Dent.

20080519DailyKosSouthernStrategy-1Dent, who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007, is credited with devising the “Southern Strategy,” the infamous effort by the GOP to cash in on the anger of white Southerners upset with the Voting Rights Act in particular and the leftward drift of the nation in general. Nixon, who had been on the road for years listening to voices from the heartland, recognized early on that the strategy would play just as well outside the South.

The campaign devised by Dent had several recurring themes. The first was a promise of a new era of “law and order,” a direct challenge to the blacks, women, organized labor and anti-war activists out in the streets.

Another theme was support for “states’ rights,” an echo of Thurmond’s old Dixiecrat Party. There was no need to define the term in public; everyone of voting age remembered that when the states were in control of things, schools were segregated, blacks drank from separate water fountains, and poor people of any color had difficulty exercising their right to vote.

Dent’s Nixon was also opposed to “forced busing for the purpose of racial integration.” Inclusion of the word “forced” in this phrase allowed rednecks to deny that they were rednecks. If a local community wanted to voluntarily bus children across district lines to achieve integration, it was fine with the Nixonites. Of course, the odds of any majority white town adopting such a scheme were off the board.

Nixon also promised to name “strict constructionists” to the federal courts. He wanted people who would stick to the Constitution as it was originally written, not appointees who would rummage around in the nooks and crannies of the document and find new rights that “tied the hands of the police,” such as in Miranda vs. Arizona, which was handed down just two years earlier.

And, as icing on the cake, Nixon said he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War.

To the delight of Strom Thurmond and Harry Dent, Nixon narrowly defeated Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota, the man who, as mayor of Minneapolis, led the successful floor fight to include a civil rights plank in the 1948 Democratic platform, the effort that led Strom and his segregationist allies to walk out and form the Dixiecrats. In 1968, there was vindication and pay-back all around.

Meanwhile, back in South Carolina, a state famous for firing on Fort Sumter long ago and more recently for its ubiquitous “Impeach Earl Warren” billboards, a young Lee Atwater was making his way through Newberry College and rising to the top of the College Republicans National Committee. When he left that position to go to work for Thurmond and Dent, Atwater orchestrated a successful campaign that allowed his protégé to replace him as head of the group. That young man’s name was Karl Rove. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

After the disaster of Watergate and Gerald Ford’s loss to Jimmy Carter in 1976, the GOP got back to its winning ways in 1980 by reverting to form. Advised in part by Atwater, the party eagerly dipped into its bag of racially charged campaign tricks constructed with just enough wiggle room to allow its followers to pretend that they weren’t really prejudiced against black people at all.

For example, after the GOP nominated Ronald Reagan for president, his very first campaign stop after the convention was in Philadelphia, Mississippi at the Neshoba County Fair, the very same Neshoba County where Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman were slaughtered earlier.

“I believe in states’ rights,” Reagan told the gathered crowd. “I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to (the) federal establishment.” He went on to promise the cheering Mississippians that he would “restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them.”

Note the insertion of the word “properly” in that sentence. Its immediate antecedent was the word “forced” in Richard Nixon’s old school busing rant. Both provided racists with cover. In America, people have rights; they shouldn’t be “forced” to do anything they don’t want to do. And what citizen in his or her right mind would argue against “properly” balanced Constitutional powers?

But everyone understood the code.

After Reagan was elected, Atwater joined the new administration.

In 1981, he was interviewed about the Southern Strategy by the historian Alexander P. Lamis. Portions of the interview were published that year in The Two-Party South, without naming Atwater as the interviewee. Atwater died of a malignant brain tumor in 1991, and when the interview was reprinted in Southern Politics in the 1990s, his identity was finally revealed.

ATWATER: As to the whole Southern Strategy thing that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now…all you have to do to keep the South for Reagan is to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964, and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes…

QUESTION: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the (George) Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, cutting food stamps…?

ATWATER: You start out in 1964 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, all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a by-product of them is (that) blacks get hurt worse than whites.…I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, 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.”

And so, there it is in the words of one of the great right-wing GOP political operatives of all time, Harvey Leroy Atwater. The Southern Strategy is to use phrases like fiscal responsibility and cutting taxes as code for the totally economic things that hurt blacks worse than whites. And the racial problem is done away with one way or the other, because conservatives no longer have to say the word “nigger” to get their point across. With a straight face, they can talk about free markets and small government while pretending to be color-blind.

No person has been so vociferously opposed to President Obama and his effort to reform health care than fact-challenged, talk-radio showman Rush Limbaugh. Big Rush is a man of many words, so let’s allow his own words to tell us where he stands on the issues that really matter. Writing on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago, Limbaugh typed, without a trace of irony:  “I love being a conservative. We conservatives are proud of our philosophy. Unlike our liberal friends, who are constantly looking for new words to conceal their true beliefs and are in a constant state of reinvention, we conservatives are unapologetic about our ideals.”

And what are the ideals Limbaugh and his conservative friends are so proud of? Well, he wrote, “limited government,” “tax cuts,” “welfare reform” and “a color-blind society.”

Without once using the word “nigger,” Limbaugh admits to adhering to virtually every aspect of the Dent-Atwater Southern Strategy by endorsing all the “totally economic things” through which “blacks get hurt worse than whites,” and the racial problem is done away with because conservatives really want a color-blind society.

And his listeners thought Rush was only worried about socialized medicine.

###
Cliff Green

Cliff Green

Cliff Green is a former writer for The Atlanta Journal. He worked there when it was a real newspaper. His accomplishments since include the fact that he has never watched a minute of reality TV, and he has never been inside a Starbuck's. He owns no device onto which he can download music, nor does he know how to record a television show. He is not sure what an iPhone is. He is proud of all the above.

45 Comments
  1. Matthew Wright

    Great correlation between the arguments today and the Southern Strategy. The amazing thing is that it still works today.

  2. A great review of our Southern Political history over the last sixty years!

  3. The political left orchestrates and uses the same sorts of tactics to influence public opinion. It’s rather like calling the kettle black. In fact, this article is just playing another race card. The bottom line is performance. Is Obama doing a good job? He’s doing an acceptable job so far. However, the government bail outs didn’t work for Bush and they certainly are not working for Obama. The economy is still in the pits. It’s the economy, stupid! Didn’t your other icon for the poor say that? Bill Clinton? The fact of the matter is the social security and medicaid systems don’t work. What makes you think that government can do a better job running a broken healthcare system? Our laissez faire system of health care is not perfect. But people should take better care of themselves and maintain good health practices. I would rather have no health care than to pay higher taxes!

  4. Isn’t it odd that there are actually BLACK people who have EARNED their status in society, government, and the world because of the democratic system? And isn’t it odd that some blacks are politically conservative for good reason? They don’t want to be Uncle Toms to the liberal left which wants to hand everything to everyone without any effort or reward for personal achievement.

    If sports proves anything it is that winners win for a reason. It is because they have contributed to the team as a cohesive unit, not because they were entitled to win!

  5. If Mr. Green is looking for alternative phrases that have underlining meanings maybe he can explain “redistribution of wealth”.

  6. Matthew Wright

    Good points C Smith and Charlie Ray. Perhaps you two should write a piece detailing some of the undesirable strategies that the left use.

  7. Matthew Wright

    And for the record Charlie and C, that does not DISCOUNT the fact that the Southern Strategy was,and is deplorable. I would hope that you feel the same way, because you didn’t note that in your comments.

  8. well documented, researched and written and all so sadly true.

  9. Have you ever thought that perhaps the whole strife goes back even further than slavery. I mean honestly, the North had slaves as well. And let’s not pretend that the Northeast and West Coast are not equally (if not more) racist than the South. Unless you’re not paying attention, a lot of the black professional class are leaving to supposed bastions of enlightenment (West Coast and Northeast) and moving to Atlanta right in the middle of Dixie. Why, because they can get ahead better in ATL than in the don’t ask don’t tell racist culture of chadonnay liberal enclaves. In truth, this argument started before this country was ever settled. Much of New England was settled by people from England. Much of the south was settled by Scots and Irish. In the old country the English enjoyed dominating, enslaving and perpetrating upon the Scots and Irish and pretty much anyone else they felt like taking advantage of. Here in the new world they were the carpetbaggers, robber barons and an aggressor towards their own countrymen. Southerns made lives leaving oppression in one country for a new kind of oppression in a new country. In England, many of Georgia’s original inhabitants were enslaved debtors beholden to a vicious wealthy class. This situation continued in the new world as the south became the Northeast’s dumping ground. For good reason, many Southerners do not trust the supposed brilliance that flows from the North and West. When Southerners get concerned about the fad of the day ideals coming from New York and San Francisco, they are mocked as being stupid and backwoods.

    Anyone with any real familiarity of the South beyond seeing the film Sweet Home Alabama knows that racial life in the South is absolutely intertwined. We go to school together. We play sports together. We take care of each other. We might have come over on different boats, but we’re in the same boat now. That more than I can say to the high-rise dwellers overlook and ocean somewhere with equally high-minded ideals.

  10. This isn’t 1981. This is 2009. Frankly, I grow weary of having to walk on egg shells every time I say anything about race simply because I’m white. I’m appalled by some of the arguments used on the far right today like Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, etc. Those guys are expert spin doctors as much as any liberal. But when I see articles like this one it makes me wonder if ANYBODY cares about the truth rather than silly posturing back and forth, tit for tat, and the “you’re still a racist” attitude modern liberals have toward any white person who happens to think for themselves rather than give in to the current politically correct position.

    I’m not strictly in favor of laissez faire economics but neither do I think government can do the job with endless red tpae. Furthermore, most people of ALL races are prepprejudiced to one degree or another. Of course the onus is on the majority to behave. But that does not remove the repsonsibility of blacks to do likewise.

  11. If this article proves anything it is that no matter how much progress blacks make, whites with conservative opinions will be guilty by association of conspiracy theories of which they know nothing and probably couldn’t prevent even if they did know.

    In other words, you will be a racist in the eyes of the liberal black community simply because you happen to be white.

  12. I guess “all” Republicans are secretly members of the David Duke fan club??? Logical fallacies never cease to amaze me. Cliff Green should be ashamed of himself for printing this red herring piece of yellow journalism.

  13. Janet Ward

    Yes, there were slaves in the North. And, yes, the North can be as racist as the South. I remember being at Fenway Park in 1981, with the Red Sox playing the White Sox and losing 8-4. The only runs the Red Sox had were on two-run homers by Tony Perez and Jim Rice. Yet, the woman sitting behind us said to her husband, “You know what the problem with this team is? The problem with this team is there are too many niggers on it.”

    I couldn’t help myself. I turned to her and pointed out that the Red Sox had four runs, all of which had been produced by people of color.

    That said, whether you choose to believe it or not, the South became Republican in the 60s because of race and because of the Civil Rights Act. Go back and read Richard Russell’s comments on the Senate floor during the Civil Rights Act fights. Read the comments of any Southern politician during those years, and then tell me that race has nothing to do with the present divide between the South and everyone else. Then look at the census data: the South lags behind the rest of the country — and the liberal Northeast leads — in virtually every social category: infant deaths, graduation rates, poverty rates, cancer rates, obesity rates, life expectancy, divorce rates, and, most of all, the amount of money sent back to the states in federal funds as opposed to the amount sent to Washington.

    The South has been living off the largesse of the liberal states for decades.

    So defend the South if you will. God knows, I have spent my entire life here. But I know — and I have the facts to back me up — that, while Southerners may bitch and moan about seceding, we cannot afford under any circumstance to do so. We may be, oh, so proud, of our history and tradition, but, when push comes to shove, we basically suck at governing.

  14. Mr. Wright; Jeff Snowden has the idea that I found to be true when I attended college with students from New Jersey and other northern states including Connecticut that used words that I had never heard such as spec, mic, kike, greasers, and wop to identify other races. They also used a word that refered to black communities that I have never been comfortable with. The point is I am sick and tired of the south being sterotyped as racist when the bigot line starts at the Canadian border and not the Maso-Dixon line. If you are so down on the south why did you relocate here.

  15. Richard Russell is not “The south” nor is any politician. And the south continued to elect plenty of democrats past the 60’s so that argument does not hold water. And before you pat the Northeast on the back for social ills, remember that they started with most the wealth, were willing to tolerate slavery in some states to protect economic interests and even started a civil war later to protect their grip on shipping and trade. They have a head start and have done everything to protect it. If northern liberals are upset with paying for issues in the south maybe they should stop trying to nanny other people in other states.
    The facts don’t back you up and you’ve done nothing to debunk the idea that perhaps animosity between between southern conservatives and northern liberal might be about more than just race. It’s an apologist argument and a weak one at that.

  16. Janet Ward

    Richard Russell was the icon of the South. And the North did not start the war; the South did, with its secessionist talk. The North did not start the war; the South did, with the secession of seven states. In fact, Lincoln said in a speech that he did not intent to end slavery, but that he would not tolerate secession.

    And what the Northern states had during the 1800s has nothing to do with my point. My point is that, today, those states exceed Southern states in virtually every social category. To argue that they were more well off in the 1980s has nothing to do with today, and it is disingenous to argue that. Today, they have fewer divorces, less poverty, higher life expectancies, better education, fewer dropouts, better maternal care and a host of other social issues.

    The point remains — and I see you do not choose to engage on this — that Southern states remain “receiver” states, while the Northeastern states remain “donor” states.

  17. Janet Ward

    Oops. I meant “To argue that they were more well off in the 1880s…” Damn that wine.

  18. You’re right. The South is often the receiver of things from the north like the great depression and the current economic crash. It’s seems the only things the Northeast needs from the rest of the country is power, food (should have thought twice before they polluted so much land), tarp funds and bailout funds directed at labor unions.
    This is fun and all but you’re missing the point. I said that perhaps Southern animosity towards Northern and West Coast (let’s not forget get San Fran) liberals for reasons beyond race or political parties. I think the South has a long history of outsiders trying to come in with supposedly good intentions that have really bad outcomes. I think Northern liberals like to tell everyone else what to do about race relations while feeling good about them selves for giving their door man an extra $5.
    I think a lot of Southerners see a disconnect from what they hear from Northern and West Coast liberals and the eventual action that follows. Liberals start talking about how important fresh food is and the next thing you know California is trying to outlaw most of the livestock operations in the state. Liberals start talking about fairness in college admissions and the next thing you know kids are getting turned away from college because of the color of their skin.
    Have you ever thought Southerners might just be fed up with the drivel coming out of the mouths of liberals. Perhaps the south did not leave the democratic party for racial reasons. Perhaps they left when the party became a party of saying more than you actually do, not living up to what you actually say and doing all you can to get others to pay for your hobbies.

  19. Janet Ward

    You are an idiot. It makes no sense to argue with you. “The South is often the receiver of things from the north like the great depression and the current economic crash.” The Great Depression and the current economic crash have nothing to do with the South versus the North. I repeat, the South gets way more in tax dollars than it gives.

    “I think Northern liberals like to tell everyone else what to do about race relations while feeling good about them selves for giving their door man an extra $5.” That has nothing to do with racism. Sheesh. The issue here is where black men are sent to prison and, often, executed because they are black. They are dragged behind cars and murdered for no reason other than their skin color. It happens. It happens in the SOUTH.

    “Have you ever thought Southerners might just be fed up with the drivel coming out of the mouths of liberals. Perhaps the south did not leave the democratic party for racial reasons. Perhaps they left when the party became a party of saying more than you actually do, not living up to what you actually say and doing all you can to get others to pay for your hobbies.” I have no idea what this means. However, I will say that I think you are a moron.

  20. Jeff she has regressed to name calling—you win.

  21. I registered as a Democrat when I was 18, mostly because I was opposed to the Vietnam war which ended just before I was old enough to be drafted. I voted for Jimmy Carter and was proud to have a President from Georgia, the state of my birth. But when Carter revealed that he was not really an Evangelical Southern Baptist but a theological liberal who didn’t believe a word of the Bible, I grew disillusioned with “spin” politics. And Carter made a mess of the economy and foreign affairs. I was skeptical of Reagan at first. But I switched parties and voted for Reagan. I have not looked back since. I will vote Republican for as long as they oppose big government and government intrusion into religious freedom and states’ rights. Yes, I said “states rights.” All this silly political correctness has gone way too far. Anyone who questions the socialist idea of universal healthcare must be a raciest. Right???

  22. I agree but I’m willing to give her a break because she has admittedly had a little too much drinky drinky. But in all these slurred words there is a nugget worth talking about. There exist a viewpoint from more than a few people that us barefoot bubbas are a bunch of “idiots”, “morons” who “drag people we don’t like behind cars” and who should be happy and eager to be “receivers” of the enlightened brilliance tumbling downhill from the high-minded liberal enclaves. And before you repeat your speech over black southern prisoners at the coffee bar, take a nice long look at New York and California’s prisons. Crime and race are not as much correlated as crime and poverty. The South started off poor and still is poor for the most part thanks to even more Northern brilliance and plunder. African American’s started off even poorer and had a much later start. They are overrepresented in poverty and they are a big part of our population in the South so get of the whole KKK rant. Racism begins with over generalizing to an entire population with an otherwise small group of traits or activities. All black men are not prisoners and all Southerners are not David Duke. Funny Janet, in your whole rant about how racist everyone else is you’ve shown exactly how it begins. Again, my argument is that maybe the strife between Northern liberals and Southern Conservatives is not completely about race. I believe that many Southerners left the Democratic Party for reasons beyond civil rights. Charlie has explained his reasoning for the same action in much the way I’m suggesting. Are you going to argue or are you going to stamp around in your clogs and call names?

  23. Anyway, I’m done with this conversation. Cliff Green’s article just proves he’s another Rush Limbaugh, albeit his views are not far right but far left. If there is ever going to be any political progress, the radicals on the far right and the far left are going to have to move to the middle. Let’s see if Obama is smart enough to do that? Bush, sad to say, wasn’t that bright on that point. Even Clinton did a better job of moderating between the two extremes. But Obama? The verdict is still out. Universal healthcare didn’t fly with Clinton and it most certain isn’t going to fly today.

  24. From one Charlie J to another please note Mr. Green has not commented on his subject which draws me to the conclusion this was written to see how many “comments” he would get. I have been in one of these discussions with him in this format before. This is why I believe he is sitting back enjoying “What He Hath Wrought”.

  25. Ok, so I’m a racist…. that’s why I cannot abide this ridiculous Obama-crap, I mean, care. I didn’t realize that. The fact I have post-graduate degrees in economics and finance, inform myself with the current news developments of gov’t spending/policy, advanced understanding and reflection upon constitutional law, and participate in debates like these that led me to the conclusion that this universal healthcare, single-payor option, socialized medicine is an economic, moral, legal and personal-liberty trainwreck for this country. Oh, but no, my objections result from a font of racism.

    If you think notions like “limited government,” “tax cuts,” “welfare reform” and “a color-blind society” are some kind of trojan horse for klanism… then you got problems, buddy.

    Fact: the gov’t spending is fast approaching 50% of GDP, a dangerous overreach because it’s mostly unproductive. In the long run, this will result in increased borrowing, inflation and overall decrease of productive economic activity.

    Fact: productive Americans pay more than 50% of their incomes in federal, state and local taxes along with regulatory fees. Dangerous overreach.

    Fact: As a society is morally repellent to give handouts to able-bodied and minded working adults so welfare reform is A-OK. No matter what color they are.

    Fact: Blacks have achieved leadership positions in all spheres of American society, including PRESIDENT. I have worked for them, with them, near them my whole life. I don’t think racism is gone but it ain’t 1964 any more.

    This essay is such a worthless concatenation of irrelevant facts designed to silence the opposition. “Shut up, racist!” you repeat thinking that will cow your enemy. We come with arguments backed up by facts and figures, you offer only hollow emotional pleas and righteous indignation … Ridiculous polemical bullham… To which we say, “bwah-ha-ha!”. The only thing that recommends your arguments is that you’re again exposing the flimsy intellectual foundations of your position and yourself. Talk about the POLICY, the spending consequences and try to stay connected to reality, not some hazy version of it that’s 50 years old.

  26. Cliff: Great job of outlining the Republican rise to power in the South. I would be the first to say that the Republican Party stands for some very honorable principles. But many thoughtful Republicans now view the “Southern” strategy as one of the clear burdens of Republican Party history. They understand that, while the party might have won some elections as a result of this strategy, it has lost credibility and has worsened its position as a party of the future. Ironically, the Democratic Party — which long accommodated Southern segregationists before yielding them to the Republicans — now stands on higher moral ground than the party of Abraham Lincoln. Political affiliations aside, many Southerners, white and black and many other races as well because we are so diverse, view that strategy as an insult to Southern people in general. Historically, white Southerners long voted against their own interest because they succumbed to racist arguments, but a transformation is happening in the South and has been for some time. We’ve seen a welcome revolution in our lifetimes. I understand the naturally defensive reactions some people might have brought to this story. But I really do hope that after reflecting on what you’ve written some Republicans will want to divorce themselves from such deadend strategies and even more Southerners will see them for what they are.

  27. Matthew Wright

    C Smith,

    I totally agree with you. In the northeast, racism is much more covert, and as a result, it can be more insidious. I don’t believe one region is more “racist” than another. You cannot however, disavow history. History has shown that racism and segregation was the norm in the South. Do you deny this? I don’t believe that the south, and the good people who live here are racists. If I did, I would not be here. I do believe though, that there are people here, just like there are people in Connecticut and California and Michigan, that don’t like me because of the color of my skin. Such is life. Someone will always dislike you for something right? I don’t consider that an impediment to my progress or

  28. Matthew Wright

    Let me finish my thought. My point is, it is important to understand our history. We don’t have to dwell on it and use it as a weapon, we have to understand it in order to not repeat it.

    I’m not down on the South Mr. Smith. I love it here. You shouldn’t be sick of people stereotyping the South, because that will never change. There’s not much you can do about it. It’s just like people stereotyping Blacks, or Italians. Some things will never go out of style.

  29. But stereotyping is exactly what is going on here and the South’s past is the logic being offered as to why some Southerners are opposing Health care reform. It is a sad and old tactic. Don’t like a liberal policy? Well then you’re a racist.

  30. Matthew Wright

    Jeff,

    I don’t know if that’s the logic being offered by anyone, at least anyone with half a brain anyway. This poses an interesting question: How do you debate a subject without being branded a liberal, mealy-mouthed softy, that has no redeeming moral qualities, and holds anti-American sentiments? And how do you give your political point of view without being branded a rabid, ignorant racist, who is afraid of anything or anyone that does not look like you? Sadly, I don’t think we will ever solve this question. I don’t think we should stop trying though.
    Your past does not make you who you are, but you should always be willing to discuss it, no matter how difficult.

  31. Ahh, another liberal safe harbor. Call anyone who disagrees with your viewpoints a person “with half a brain”. You guys really need some new tricks beyond calling the people who disagree with you dumb or racist.

    The logic of using the history of the southern strategy to infer that those that oppose healthcare reform are pawns having their racist tendencies exploited by politicos is exactly the premise of this article and much of the argument. What is being conveyed is that just as Nixon riled up the racists to vote against Democrats by branding the Democrats a bunch of racial apologists, so too Republicans are trying to tap that same hatred of African American to stall healthcare reform.

    That is exactly what is being argued here and the argument depends on the conclusion that southerners are just a bunch of racists, incapable of voting based on anything but racial hatred. You can dress it up in as many words as you want but that is the premise of this article. I’m saying that perhaps Southerners don’t like the proposed healthcare reform because they don’t trust the democrats pushing it for a myriad of other reasons beyond racism.

    If you have another viewpoint of what is being said by this article, by all means tee it up. But don’t backpedal the failed logic and bigoted claim that Southerners are only motivated by racism. That makes you look like you have half a brain.

  32. exactly… libs cannot articulate substantive legal/economic reasons to advance gov’t takeover of society’s productive assets, so they engage in guilt-mongering and political accusations — attempting to dictate the terms of the arguments through thought-policing rather than reason. How can anyone claim the democrats stand on “higher moral ground” as they attempt to confiscate private property without due process, foment racial polemics and regulate speech? I mean, you say that like it’s commonly accepted wisdom when it could not be more false. The entire country has a difficult racial political history, equally staining all parties. I don’t think you understand the true reasons behind the appeals to political correctness and liberal emotive argumentation, which are actually designed to be a form political speech regulation and thought policing.

  33. Matthew Wright

    I think you are misguided Jeff. I’m not backpedaling from anything. What do you want me to say? Do you want me to say that you’re a racist because you live in the South, and you don’t support health care reform? I clearly said that I don’t take that position, but you seem hell-bent on foisting it upon me anyway. You are doing exactly what you don’t want others to do to you. Pretty sad. Read what I write next time before you jump to your conclusions.

  34. Matthew Wright

    By the way Jeff, I said anyone with half a brain would not offer that as logic. Meaning Anyone who believes that you are a racist because you don’t like health, has half a brain. Please read more carefully.

  35. Ahhh……another common liberal web goon tactic: try to insult someone’s intelligence by saying things like “read more carefully” and “pay attention”. Again, learn some new tricks. You said “I don’t know if that’s the logic being offered by anyone…”.

    Well scroll to the article we’re discussing at the top. That’s exactly the logic it is offering. you need to “read more carefully” and “pay attention”.

    Beyond that, I don’t see what you’re adding to the discussion beyond some sky-is-blue observations like “Your past does not make you who you are, but you should always be willing to discuss it”. Wow. Eureka. I never said we should not discuss the past. I said we should not allow the emotion of the country’s racist past be shanghaied into an accusation of not supporting healthcare reform being because one is racist.

  36. Matthew Wright

    I read the article. I’m talking about what I wrote, not the article. Don’t twist my words. I’m trying to tell you I understand your point, but I think you just want to argue for the sake of it. That’s fine. Thanks for the “liberal web goon” remark. That really props up your position nicely. Should we get Brenden’s thought police here to censor you? No, that’s okay I ‘m a big boy. I don’t have to resort to that. And what are you adding to this discussion? Besides being a blowhard that is. You can take whatever you like from my “obsersavations.” Don’t respond if you don’t like them.
    I am not one of those people who believes that everyone with a different viewpoint is a racist. I’m also not some “liberal web goon.”

  37. I forgot to mention the other common tactic of critiquing spelling. It helps add the appearance of contributing to the discussion in some sort of meaningful way while also allowing one to feel somehow intellectually superior. Great work!

  38. Jeff don’t let Mr. Wright bother you. He is a relocated yankee. I sure am sorry that Forida realestate overpriced itself and now the housing market failing has people from Florida moving to Georgia also. Man I hope I don’t start saying “youse guys” instead of “y’all”. Lighten up guys.

  39. Matthew Wright

    What? Okay, this was fun. Let’s move on. I did enjoy the back and forth. Thanks for that.

    C Smith,

    That’s pretty funny. They don’t say “youse” in Connecticut though.

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