Bob Herbert Lays the Smack Down

And starts by recommending a march on the headquarters of the National Republican Party in Washington to protest the GOP having "spent the last 40 years insulting, disenfranchising and otherwise stomping on the interests of black Americans." Don't hold back, Bob: Tell us what you really think...

At the same time that the Republicans were killing Congressional representation for D.C. residents, the major G.O.P. candidates for president were offering a collective slap in the face to black voters nationally by refusing to participate in a long-scheduled, nationally televised debate focusing on issues important to minorities.

The radio and television personality Tavis Smiley worked for a year to have a pair of these debates televised on PBS, one for the Democratic candidates and the other for the Republicans. The Democratic debate was held in June, and all the major candidates participated.

The Republican debate is scheduled for Thursday. But Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson have all told Mr. Smiley: "No way, baby."

They won’t be there. They can’t be bothered debating issues that might be of interest to black Americans. After all, they’re Republicans.

We've had the occasional conservative who's tried to defend the GOP against charges of racism (specifically with regard to black Americans), and I've seen similar defenses on rightwing blogs, and every time I read about the GOP candidates refusing to participate in Smiley's debate, I wonder if the great defenders of the GOP Big Tent are at all frustrated with their major candidates making their protestations sound just that much more ridiculous.

Anyway, back to Herbert, who goes on to talk about the Republican "Southern Strategy," and shares a 1981 quote from dead conservative scumbag Lee Atwater, which I'd never heard before:

"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger,' " said Atwater. "By 1968, you can’t say 'nigger'—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 there it is.

Given that the results of the policies haven't changed, are we really meant to believe the motivations have…?

[Thanks very much to Blue Girl for turning me onto Bob Herbert. He is as precisely as splendid as you said.]

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