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WaPo Persists on Ignoring the Racism of the GOP Elephant in the Room

I had a lovely laugh this morning at a Politco piece by Ben Smith that begins thus: "The once-cautious Washington Post has begun to invest heavily in the liberal blogosphere…" and then lists Dave Weigel, a writer for the conservative-libertarian magazine Reason (whose founders, particularly Bob Poole, were and are fans of conservative icon Ayn Rand), as one of the "liberals" recently acquired. As for the rest, they — with in my opinion the exception of Greg Sargent — are mostly centrist Democrats who aren’t likely to say or support anything that’s much farther left than the preferred position of the Obama White House; they are useful conduits for Rahm Emanuel, which almost by definition means that they can’t be true fire-breathing liberals.

The truth is that, online redecoration aside, Fred Hiatt’s Washington Post is increasingly a conservative fantasyland where good reporters like Dan Froomkin get run off and the blind spots are so huge you could hide, say, an elephant in them. A very big, stinky, racist as all get out elephant. To see this, one need look no further than this article by Amy Gardner and Krissah Thompson entitled "Tea Party groups battling perception of racism":

The challenge is made tougher by one of the defining elements of the tea party movement: No one person controls it. There is no national communications strategy. And incidents of racist slogans and derisive depictions of President Obama continue to crop up, providing fuel for critics who say the president’s skin color is a powerful reason behind the movement’s existence.

Okay, two things here:

Right off the bat, Gardner and Thompson repeat a well-worn myth about the tea partiers — namely, that they are totally independent to the point of being unorganized. While that may have been true early on, and still is true for a few rear-guard splinter groups protesting the GOP’s reabsorbing them into the fold, there is only one group with the funding to run fancy tour buses and hire Sarah Palin and field candidates and get on TV — and that group, Tea Party Nation, is nothing more than a de facto arm of the Republican Party that denies funding to candidates unless they back the Republican Party platform. As FDL’s own David Dayen said three months ago:

The tea party movement is nothing more than your standard-issue Republican Party apparat, which conservatives are attracted to because it allows them to stay distant from the persistent stigma of the GOP while basically doing everything an RNC volunteer would do. It’s not a third-party force in politics, or some new conception of a constituency looking for a better way. They’re loyal Republicans supporting the Republican Party platform. And when that Republican Party, should it return to power, balloons deficits and starts unnecessary wars and soaks up Wall Street cash and defends their claim to substantial portions of the federal Treasury and does all the other things that turned off the country the last time, the tea party will conveniently forget to notice.

Which brings me to my second point:

These people are not only Republicans, they are the purest expression of the Republican base — so much so that their insistence on ideological purity is threatening to saddle the GOP with a bunch of primary winners who are doomed to defeat in the general elections. So really, it shouldn’t surprise anyone at all that they might be sunk up to their necks in racism — actively fanning the flames of race hatred for political gain whilst cloaking oneself in the mantle of fiscal responsibility and deficit hawkery, aka the "Southern Strategy", has been the core of Republicanism for the past four decades, as even RNC Chair Michael Steele recently admitted. (His admission ticked off a lot of Republicans, as it blew to smithereens the politically-correct lie they like to push, which is that the conveniently-dead Richard Nixon was the only Republican ever to use the Southern Strategy. But I digress.)

This is how the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater described the GOP’s ongoing use of the Southern Strategy back in 1981, long after Nixon left office:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigg–, nigg–, nigg–.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigg–‘ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that 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 ‘Nigg–, nigg–.”’

Geez, I’m just this dumb-ass blogger with a modem. How come I know all this and Gardner and Thompson don’t?

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