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GOP Strategist Fred Davis

Think Progress

By Annie-Rose Strasser  on May 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

A group of GOP strategists is planning to pull out all the stops — including racism — in its campaign strategy to defeat President Obama, the New York Times reported today.

The Times obtained a proposal, crafted by race-baiting GOP media consultant Fred Davis, that says the group will go after Obama for his relationship to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor who has come under fire for controversial race-related comments.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) steered clear of these attacks during the 2008 election — even suspending a staffer who tweeted out a Wright video — much to the chagrin of Davis and his associates, who include Chicago Cubs owner/ TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts.

Davis’s proposal makes clear that no holds will be barred this time around, and that Rev. Wright will be prominently featured. According to the article, the group is seeking as “a spokesman an ‘extremely literate conservative African-American’ who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a ‘metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.’”

Davis, it turns out, has a long history of making ads that evoke racism, xenophobia, or general aversions to anything “other” or “different.” Here are his top three ads in that vein:

Alabama’s English-Only Governor: Fred Davis helped with Tim James’s gubernatorial bid, during which he ran this dog-whistle xenophobic, racist ad.

VIDEOS AND MORE HERE

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Earlier this year, Republican Party chairman Michael Steele admitted that the GOP has engaged in Southern Strategy politics: employing racial, anti-minority code language and fear-mongering as a means of energizing the party’s white Christian base.

This is a fact. The Southern Strategy is real, though it’s no longer exclusively “southern.”

There’s no disputing its widespread use. Come to think of it, for Steele to “confess” to the the GOP’s use of the Strategy makes it seems as though it was previously a secret. It wasn’t. Fact: the Republican Party routinely tweaks white fear, paranoia, prejudice and resentment in order to win votes and score political points at the expense of demonized minority groups. They engage in stereotyping and misinformation and they rarely, if ever, use the “n-word” these days, though they might as well. After all, as the Strategy goes, blacks and minorities aren’t voting Republican anyway, so… let fly.

And it works. So well, in fact, that it’s still actively used on AM talk radio and on Fox News Channel as a ratings-grabber, not to mention as a recruitment tool for the various tea party groups. If you can effectively convince the majority race that they’re being somehow victimized by the significantly smaller minority, you have a seriously powerful (and clearly immoral) psycho-weapon in your arsenal.

This year has to be some kind of high water mark for white antagonism against minorities, and evidence that the Republicans, along with the array of far-right apparatchiks, don’t really have a serious agenda for governing to sell or, for that matter, anything of value to say. And so they do this. They continue to tap into a mother lode of white majority self-pity and inchoate rage as a form of spackle over the gaping holes in their ridiculous policy arguments.

Take a good look at the big stories of the last several months — the stories that have been driven by the far-right machine, injected into the mainstream and subsequently debated by the rest of the country — partly as a result of the far-right’s money, loudness and tenacity, and partly because these arguments are too obnoxious and outrageous, and therefore too irresistible, to avoid. I’ve been hearing a lot about August being “crazy month,” but the crazy topics have spanned the entire summer and beyond.

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During her honeymoon speech at the Republican National Convention in 2008, Sarah Palin echoed a jab at Barack Obama that had been lurking around in Republican circles for most of that year. Earlier at the convention, Rudy Giuliani famously brought it up through his gigantically-toothy grin and childish giggling. But it was Sarah Palin who would get most of the credit for it.

I’m referring here to the emphasis on President Obama’s service as an urban community organizer. Clearly, this was a Southern Strategy-style racial dog whistle — a way of underscoring the president’s ethnicity, his race and his association with scary inner-city black people.

It’s worth mentioning again the Lee Atwater quote regarding the functional language of the Southern Strategy. Suffice to say, Atwater made it perfectly clear that Republican political tactics included (and still do) exploiting race — winning white votes by demonizing blacks. And the way to play this game in the modern age was to use code language. Dog whistles, because overt racial language would too easily “back fire.”

At the time, Atwater suggested the exploitation of issues like tax cuts or states rights with the implication that the Republican Party supported the preservation of white dominance. (Not surprisingly, tax cuts and states rights dominate the 2010 political discourse.) And the demagoguing of issues like welfare, affirmative action or Medicaid would underscore, to predisposed white voters, the fallacious notion of lazy black freeloaders horking white jobs and white tax dollars and not contributing anything to society other than crime.

And there was Sarah Palin in her prime time debut mocking the president’s early career as a community organizer — the implication being that the president was a product of black culture and not “real Americans.” Combine this with the ongoing emphasis on the president’s “spread the wealth around” remark to Joe the Plummer — the Republicans very obviously playing the “welfare queen” dog whistle here. And we all remember how Sarah Palin went “rogue” and fueled the Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim-terrorist myth (part of early Birther lore) by repeatedly telling her rabid white audiences that the president “palled around with terrorists.”

Sarah Palin is and was a Southern Strategist.

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I’ll take Rand Paul at his word. He’s opposed to racial discrimination.

However, he obviously supports allowing businesses to engage in racial discrimination with impunity. Evidently, if the government says it’s against the law to run a whites-only business, this is a bridge too far for Rand Paul.

Congratulations, Republicans. The man you chose to run for the vacant U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky and the man who delivered the highest profile political victory for the tea party movement has turned out to have some very twisted ideas about civil rights and race.

On the Rachel Maddow Show last night, Paul suffered an epic meltdown — more or less admitting that he doesn’t support the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which “prohibits discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” In other words, Paul implied that the First Amendment allows any business to be “white-only” if it chooses and the government isn’t allowed to interfere.

But he’s against racial discrimination. He said so.

Rand Paul’s extremist position on the Civil Right Act underscores a major flaw in libertarian ideology, and it further cements the connection between the tea party movement and race.

Libertarianism, which both Ron and Rand Paul famously embrace, suggests the free market is a significant and vital component of liberty. Private businesses are capable of accomplishing everything, and government can’t interfere or regulate those businesses in any way. The free market will police itself. Just leave it be.

Private industry can pave roads, educate children, put out fires and protect our streets from drunk drivers. It can shuttle our kids to corporate schools and back, it can provide clean water to our homes and they can guarantee our meat and vegetables aren’t contaminated with diseases. And by the way, in a nation that’s 70 percent white, private businesses can choose to do all of these things for white people only. Private businesses can provide everything we need, but only offer those services to white people.

And these businesses, according to libertarian ideology, can form monopolies if they want to. As we’re all painfully aware from the health care debate, monopolies occur even in our current government-regulated system. Imagine what would happen in a totally unregulated free market.

So, in Rand Paul’s utopia, not only can Woolworth’s prevent black people from sitting at its soda stand if it wants to, but a private, free market police corporation can set up shop in a community, buy up any competing police corporations and announce that it no longer serves black people or Jewish people or Hispanic people or gay people — any minority segment of the population.

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Crooks and Liars- By Nicole Belle Thursday May 20, 2010 6:00am

Normally, I’d cut this video down from its full 19 minutes, but truly, to appreciate the wonderfulness of Maddow’s approach and the sidestepping Rand Paul attempts to avoid the corner Maddow in which deftly places him, you really must watch the whole thing.

And boy, does Rand Paul squirm under the surgical questioning of Rachel Maddow. He never answers her questions, and how can he? His stance makes no sense. Taylor Marsh:

It’s the nakedness and naïveté of Mr. Paul’s views on civil rights laws, that legislation should not impact businesses, that is not only evidence that he’s unfit for Congress, but that he’s actually dangerous. To think that the United States would no longer require laws to protect minorities is just ignorant and lacking in experience in the real world.

As for his anti-women’s rights views, especially on individual freedoms, it’s absolutely discriminatory against women. It’s appalling in this day and age that a doctor would believe that women should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against her will. The editorial board found his views “repellent” and they are correct. To say that the unborn has “equal” rights to the woman is simply wrong.

I think Taylor hit it on the head: his naïveté is dangerous. Like many–if not most–“isms”, libertarianism may make sense on an academic level, but only when conceived in vacuum of intellectual exercises. In the gritty friction of the real world, the exercise falls apart. To say that only publicly owned entities should be legislated from discriminating ignores centuries of oppression and injustice. Glibly dismissing any real examples such as the Woolworth’s lunch counter by claiming his “abhorrence of racism” and saying that people would vote with their dollar to not patronize those business is laughably naive.

Obviously, the tea party adulation, in all its authoritarian and uncritical glory, did not prepare Rand Paul for prime time. He’s clearly uncomfortable with follow up questions and being confronted with his own stances. Even though he brought it on himself by telling the Louisville Courier-Journal and NPR that he thought the Civil Rights Act should be done away with, Paul whines about “red herrings” and that the act is forty years old, so why is anyone asking him about it? Joan Walsh:

You’ve got to watch the whole interview. At the end, Paul seemed to understand that he’s going to be explaining his benighted civil rights views for a long, long time – but he seemed to blame Maddow. “You bring up something that is really not an issue…a red herring, it’s a political ploy…and that’s the way it will be used,” he complained at the end of the interview. Whether the Civil Rights Act should have applied to private businesses – “not really an issue,” says Tea Party hero Rand Paul.

Methinks Paul better get used to having to answer for his tacit endorsement of racism and oppression of minorities, especially if Tweety’s outrage is any indication of the larger media response. That may play well with the teabaggers, but they’re not going to win Paul the elections. If I was Jack Conway, I’d be smiling right now.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Rand Paul On ‘Maddow’ Defends Criticism Of Civil Rights Act, Says He Would Have Worked To Change Bill (VIDEO)

Huff Post- First Posted: 05-20-10 02:13 AM   |   Updated: 05-20-10 02:21 AM

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul believes that the federal government blurred the lines between public and private property when it passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and made it illegal for private businesses to discriminate on the basis of race.

Paul explained his views on “The Rachel Maddow Show” Wednesday, just one day after wholloping his opponent in Kentucky’s Republican primary.

Maddow focused on the Tea Party-backed candidate’s civil rights stance after he publicly criticized parts of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Paul told Maddow that he agrees with most parts of the Civil Rights Act, except for one (Title II), that made it a crime for private businesses to discriminate against customers on the basis of race. Paul explained that had he been in office during debate of bill, he would have tried to change the legislation. He said that it stifled first amendment rights:

Maddow: Do you think that a private business has a right to say that ‘We don’t serve black people?’Paul: I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race. But do discriminate.

But I think what’s important in this debate is not getting into any specific “gotcha” on this, but asking the question ‘What about freedom of speech?’ Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent. Should we limit racists from speaking. I don’t want to be associated with those people, but I also don’t want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that’s one of the things that freedom requires is that
we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn’t mean we approve of it…

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Exposing the Christian Right’s New Racial Playbook

A diversity summit at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University reveals that the religious right’s survival depends on the black and the brown.
April 28, 2010 |
NOTE: A reel of video highlights of the Freedom Federation Summit, filmed and compiled by Sarah Posner, appears at the end of this article.

“When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line. The true Negro does not want integration.” That was the assertion made by a young Rev. Jerry Falwell in a sermon he preached at his Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1958, four years after the Supreme Court struck down school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. But at a gathering of the religious right earlier this month at the late preacher’s Lynchburg compound, integration was not only the topic of the day, but touted as the future of the conservative Christian movement.

Convened by the Freedom Federation earlier this month, the diversity summit, dubbed “The Awakening,” took place in the sanctuary of church that Falwell founded, and on the campus of his Liberty University. Sold as a gathering of “multiracial, multiethnic and multigenerational faith-based and policy organizations and leaders committed to plan, strategize, and mobilize to advance shared core values to preserve freedom and promote justice,” this “awakening” coincides with renewed efforts by the Republican Party to recruit African-American and Latino candidates for elected office. This year, 37 African Americans are running for seats in the U.S. House and Senate, according to the Associated Press.

The outreach to nonwhite evangelicals, spurred by Karl Rove’s strategy during the 2004 election and embraced by James Dobson during the same period, has been years in the making. As religious right leaders read the demographic writing on the wall, they are striving to broaden their movement’s base — and to create an environment appealing to the millennial generation of white evangelicals, who are far more accepting of LGBT people and their rights than the generation that came before them, but who remain steadfastly opposed to abortion. Once dismissed for their lack of orthodoxy, fast-growing charismatic and Pentacostal churches, where ecstatic forms of religious expression are displayed, are now regarded as fertile ground for growing the religious right. These churches have large numbers of Latinos and African-American members, often even when the pastor is white.

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White Racial Resentment Bubbles Under the Surface of the Tea Party Movement


The simmering movement is the whitest phenomenon on the national scene, evident not just in its Caucasian numbers but in the bedrock beliefs stirring its anti-government contempt.

February 5, 2010 |
Editor’s Note: Rich Benjamin’s commentary on the underlying “white grievance” currents in the Tea Party movement were buttressed Thursday by the statements of Republican Tom Tancredo, the opening speaker at the Tea Party convention. Tancredo told attendees that President Barack Obama was elected because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country,” an allusion to how Southern states used literacy tests as part of an effort to deny suffrage to African American voters before the civil rights era.

The Tea Party movement, holding its first convention this weekend, is angling to be the most revolutionary force in American politics in name and in deed, since at least the 1960s counterculture. Only this time, the political insurgents command a party of Flour Power, not flower power.

The simmering movement is the whitest phenomenon on the national scene, evident not just in the millions of Caucasians committed to its cause, but in the bedrock beliefs stirring its anti-government contempt.

How fitting, therefore, that Sarah Palin keynote the movement’s first organized confab. Neglected in all the fevered conversation around the movement’s meteoric rise, and Palin’s selection, is any useful reflection on what the cause and this figurehead stand for: white racial resentment. Packed beneath her beehive is a spitfire brew of optimistic, yet aggrieved whiteness. Palin embodies a bizarre, sometimes alluring, combination of triumph and complaint that many Caucasian Tea Partiers identify with through and through.

Deciphering the racial codes on the movement’s ubiquitous placards does not require a doctorate in semiotics. One popular sign shows the president’s face and a caption: “Undocumented worker.” Another combines Obama’s image with this caption: “The Zoo Has an African Lion and the White House Has a Lyin’ African!”

Aside from the festive, ad hominem attacks against President Obama, the Tea Party’s leaders and its rank-and-file rarely mention race in debate, instead tucking it just under the surface of “nonracial” issues like health care reform, public spending, immigration, and pointedly, taxes.

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