The GOP’s Strategy For 2008, Racism And Fear

Posted in Around The Nation, Commentary, Immigration at 1:26 pm by wcnews

From the post on immigration last week, I will reiterated what EOW’s stance on the debate is: What is going on is a debate between the racists and the corporatists in the GOP and the Democrats should largely stay out of it.

David Sirota in his column last Friday, The Immigration Con Artists, did a damn good job of explaining the problem:

What is illegal immigration actually about?

The answer is exploitation. Employers looking to maximize profits want an economically desperate, politically disenfranchised population that will accept ever worse pay and working conditions. Illegal immigrants perfectly fit the bill.

Politicians know exploitation fuels illegal immigration. But they refuse to confront it because doing so would mean challenging their financiers.

Instead we get lawmakers chest-thumping about immigration enforcement while avoiding a discussion about strengthening wage and workplace safety enforcement — proposals that address the real problem.

As anyone who’s familiar with the “conservative” resurgence well knows a big part of that has always been about courting racists in the South, aka, the Southern Strategy.

There’s been much back-and-forth lately about St. Ronnie’s use of that strategy during his career. The modern GOP has used race to further it’s agenda by trying to make less affluent white people put aside their economic best interest out of a fear of “those people”. The current “those people” that their trying to make their new target are, of course, illegal immigrants.

And today in his column Paul Krugman, Republicans and Race, points out that this time it’s likely not to work:

Reagan’s defenders protest furiously that he wasn’t personally bigoted. So what? We’re talking about his political strategy. His personal beliefs are irrelevant.

Why does this history matter now? Because it tells why the vision of a permanent conservative majority, so widely accepted a few years ago, is wrong.

The point is that we have become a more diverse and less racist country over time. The “macaca” incident, in which Senator George Allen’s use of a racial insult led to his election defeat, epitomized the way in which America has changed for the better.

And because conservative ascendancy has depended so crucially on the racial backlash — a close look at voting data shows that religion and “values” issues have been far less important — I believe that the declining power of that backlash changes everything.

Can anti-immigrant rhetoric replace old-fashioned racial politics? No, because it mobilizes the same shrinking pool of whites — and alienates the growing number of Latino voters.

Now, maybe I’m wrong about all of this. But we should be able to discuss the role of race in American politics honestly. We shouldn’t avert our gaze because we’re unwilling to tarnish Ronald Reagan’s image.

For more evidence of how freaked out the “wing-nuts” are on this issue go watch this video at Crooks and Liars. See Rachel Maddow’s logic almost make Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan’s heads explode. (We all get a little window into Pat’s soul as he talks about taking corporate money on the speaking circuit, and then calls this the most important issue facing this nation, what a hypocrite).

With their “government is bad” mantra in a shambles, their “voodoo economics” exposed, let’s hope permanently this time, for the scam it’s always been, it appears all the GOP thinks it has to fall back on is fear mongering and racism.

1 Comment »

  1. remerson said,

    November 20, 2007 at 2:25 am

    There is NO quick, easy or snazzy fix for a terribly broken immigration system. A driver’s license cannot become a substitute for a green card. You don’t cure the immigration problem by destroying the safety of the driving public.

    Now here’s a thought–possibly a component of a sensible policy—if we hadn’t destroyed the labor movement (with some help from the union bosses), the corporations couldn’t discount wages to undocumented workers to increase corporate profits. And, as part of that mix, if the feds would stop giving tax breaks and interest free loans to corporations threatening to go off-shore, maybe we could achieve a balance of power in the “free” market we espouse! And it might, no, it would, serve to cure the polarization of rich/poor, and increase the middle class, which is the mainstay of a stable society.

    That would probably require going to public-funded elections, however, because the corporations now own the system with their bank-rolling of the candidates.

    I can’t believe Chris Matthews hasn’t figured this out. It’s not exactly rocket science.

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