Friday, May 09, 2008

Southern Strategy...Is Hillary a Republican after all?

The center of gravity after the Indiana and North Carolina primaries has shifted to make Obama his party's nominee. Several primary races remain, so it is not politically prudent for either Clinton or him to fold the tent. West Virginia is expected to make a big showing for Hillary Clinton which would look bad if Obama were trying to bask in the glow of an already decided contest. No reason to make voters who might not like him feel as though they are being disregarded. Same goes for the Florida and Michigan voters. I look for the big tent to be unfurled sometime before the convention and welcome any and all who want to call themselves Democrats, including those who supported Hillary Clinton...for whatever reason.

Which brings up the question of how many former Democrats will now vote Republican in the general election. Mrs. Clinton's heavy play for "hard-working white working-class voters" is a hair's breath away from playing the race card, which thanks to both her and Bill Clinton's shrewd politics they may be the only two white people in America who can get away with such remarks.

I remember well the Republican Southern Strategy of the Nixon years and I look for a revitalization of that same ploy to raise its ugly head this year, thanks in part to Mrs. Clinton's last-ditch effort to win the nomination. She may not have done so deliberately, but she pushed the right buttons to inspire white voters with a streak of racial prejudice to look favorably toward John McCain.

I'm not alone. A Google Blog Search turns up a raft of others making the same observation.

All of us in the South have known what is going on from the beginning and we have failed to bell the cat. Whatever else the Republican Party may be, and much of it may be quite worthwhile, the fact is that it has turned its back on the legacy of Lincoln for a constituency of racists.
LINK (Outstanding post, by the way)

Formerly the dominant party in the U.S. south, the Democratic Party welcomed Civil Rights by the 1960s and lost the support of very large numbers of southern whites. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”, built on racist rage against Civil Rights, and in view of the electoral significance of the south, helped the Republicans build a majority that has lasted for a generation.

"This kind of comment is less a description than an agitator, it's meant to give white voters the impression that they would be "disenfranchised" by an Obama win. It's a not so subtle effort to evoke racial resentment over Obama's success.

And sure enough, Peggy Noonan made the same observation in her column today.

White Americans? Hard-working white Americans? "Even Richard Nixon didn't say white," an Obama supporter said, "even with the Southern strategy."
If John McCain said, "I got the white vote, baby!" his candidacy would be over. And rising in highest indignation against him would be the old Democratic Party.
To play the race card as Mrs. Clinton has, to highlight and encourage a sense that we are crudely divided as a nation, to make your argument a brute and cynical "the black guy can't win but the white girl can" is -- well, so vulgar, so cynical, so cold, that once again a Clinton is making us turn off the television in case the children walk by.
"She has unleashed the gates of hell," a longtime party leader told me. "She's saying, 'He's not one of us.'"

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