Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Republican Dilemna: Being Pat Buchanan Without Appearing to Be

Pat Buchanan has a race-baiting article out on Sonia Sotomayor today. Here's the money quote:

Why did McCain fail to win the white conservative Democrats Hillary Clinton swept in the primaries? He never addressed or cared about their issues.

These are the folks whose jobs have been outsourced to China and Asia, who pay the price of affirmative action when their sons and daughters are pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors. These are the folks who want the borders secured and the illegals sent back.

Had McCain been willing to drape Jeremiah Wright around the neck of Barack Obama, as Lee Atwater draped Willie Horton around the neck of Michael Dukakis, the mainstream media might have howled.

Buchanan race-baits Sonia Sotomayor when he says that the children of Hillary Democrats have been "pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors." In criticizing John McCain for not draping "Jeremiah Wright around the neck of Barack Obama," Buchanan calls for more GOP race-baiting in the future.

Buchanan's premise for his call for a return to the ways of Lee Atwater is that the GOP would gain from a return to race-baiting by increasing its white vote:

In 2008, Hispanics, according to the latest figures, were 7.4 percent of the total vote. White folks were 74 percent, 10 times as large. Adding just 1 percent to the white vote is thus the same as adding 10 percent to the candidate's Hispanic vote.

If John McCain, instead of getting 55 percent of the white vote, got the 58 percent George W. Bush got in 2004, that would have had the same impact as lifting his share of the Hispanic vote from 32 percent to 62 percent.

And Pat Buchanan believes that could make John McCain president.

I don't think so. The Republicans also lost the majority white college-educated vote and youth vote. A growing percentage of the white population is offended by race-baiting and McCain would have risked losing that part of the white vote if he had gone into race-baiting overdrive.

This is the political judgment that Senate Republicans are making as well. I don't think they're particularly worried about retrieving any minority votes. African-Americans (95%), Hispanics, Asian Americans, and the Jewish population (all at about 67%) look like they're going to be locked in for the Democrats throughout the Obama era. What Senate Republicans worry about is losing even more of the white vote as whites from 18-25 and college educated whites become less and less tolerant of racism.

That's why Senators like Jeff Sessions of Alabama are trying to engage in as refined a version of race-baiting as they can imagine.
You voted not to reconsider the prior case. You voted to stay with the decision of the circuit. And in fact, your vote was the key vote. Had you voted with Judge [Jose] Cabranes, himself of Puerto Rican ancestry, had you voted with him, you could've changed that case.

The racism here is real in the sense that Sessions identifies Sotomayor almost exclusively with her ancestry, but it's also concealed by making the racial reference to the extremely conservative jurist Jose Cabranes.

This is also what's involved in the GOP emphasis on the "Wise Latina" comments in Sotomayor's speeches. By accusing Sotomayor of racism, they're trying to mask the racism of their own contempt for Sotomayor's benefitting from affirmative action, involvement in Latino organizations, and her general multi-cultural, "Obama-esque" profile.

By college educated and young whites aren't fooled by the ultra-refined racism of GOP Senators any more than they're attracted to Pat Buchanan.

What's happening with the attacks on Sotomayor is that the Republicans are basically involved in a "cutting" exercise in self-wounding.

Sooner or later, they'll just finish themselves off.

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