Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lee Atwater, Alive and Well?

I think that this analysis is spot on... beneath the anti-Obama 'socialist' stories that the right is pushing is an undercurrent of race-baiting. The writer feels that the ads are "aimed ultimately at white working class undecided voters who would construe 'spreading the wealth' as giving their money to blacks. It's the latest version of Reagan's 'welfare queen' argument from 1980. It if it works, it won't be because most white Americans actually oppose a progressive income tax, but because they fear that Obama will inordinately favor blacks over them."

It's always the '60s/'70s to the Republican party. They never moved on. As we've seen from their Reagan fetish-- less evident now than in the primaries-- they run every campaign like it was 1980. The reality of the country and the world today (ie. the last eight years, which they pretend hasn't existed) doesn't factor in.

And it's the same undercurrent that we see in many conservative 'voter fraud' stories.

It's the old dog-whistle approach. I can see it. And judging from many frantic posts and comments I've read on conservative blogs in the last day or two, they've gotten the message (this flyer plays to the same point). It's an issue Paul Krugman discussed at length in his 2007 book, 'The Conscience of a Liberal' in regards to the rise of movement conservatism.

The writer of that analysis goes on to say, however, that "I don't doubt that this argument will have some effect, but I suspect it's too late and that worries about McCain and Republican handling of the economy will overshadow these concerns." Let's hope he's right about that too. But definitely expect to see Obama's lead narrow because of this rhetoric.

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