Bush Administration Dog Whistled Racism in GOP Strategy Dating Back to Nixon: Trump is Just a More Vulgar and Hateful Version

George W. Bush ( Self-portrait )

George W. Bush (Self-portrait)

Trent Lott was forced to resign as Senate Republican Majority Leader in December of 2002 after praising Strom Thurmond at his 100th birthday party. "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him,” Lott said. “We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either."

BuzzFlash wrote several analyses speculating that it was the Bush administration who pushed Lott out. (He was replaced by Tennessee Senator Bill Frist.)

At the time, BuzzFlash wrote that it was the Bush White House that forced him out, because they wanted to keep the inherent racism of their voter appeal to white males hidden under a cloak of civility. The Nixonian Southern Strategy of dog whistling race has run through GOP presidencies since Nixon.

Trump isn’t an aberration; he is more of a lanced pustule who brought the racist strategy out of the closet. Remember, Ronald Regan began his campaign for the presidency in Mississippi, making it clear that he was not on the side of the civil rights advocates (three of whom had been killed a few miles away in Philadelphia, Mississippi). Instead, Reagan evoked the Republican shibboleth of “states rights” and local government control. These have been traditional GOP code words for white empowerment against federal efforts to ensure racial equality.

The Republicans can't afford to have the white sheets of the Southern "Neo-Confederacy" Republican Party worn in public. The Republicans can't win a presidency without energizing the white racially-biased male vote of the south, while simultaneously working every angle to suppress the black vote during an election. That's been their primary presidential "Southern" strategy since Nixon -- and it was certainly George W. Bush's road to the White House (with just a "tiny" boost from the Supreme Court). — BuzzFlash, 2019

Originally Posted in December, 2002


Okay, so BuzzFlash was the first to tell you so. We'll brag a little.

Before anyone else, we pointed out that it was the White House (see http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/2002/12/12_Lott.html; http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/2002/12/13_Lott.html; and http://www.buzzflash.com/editorial/2002/12/11.html) that was putting a knife in the back of Trent Lott, not the Democrats.

Now that a Bush Cartel Go-fer, Senator Don Nickles, is calling for a "new vote" on the Senate Majority leader, what was invisible has become visible. The White House is pushing Good 'Ol Boy Trent Lott off the plank.

Nickles is now openly labeling Lott a "liability." " Nickles Seeks Lott's Ouster: GOP Agenda at Risk, Senator Says," according to the headline on the Washington Post. (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59566-2002Dec15.html)

Well, just consider Nickles a dummy, with Karl Rove as the ventriloquist.

In a BuzzFlash commentary (cited above), we listed the reasons that the White House has been eager, despite Bush's delayed criticism, to cut Lott loose. They are reasons that the strategically inept Democratic leadership can't fathom.

But let us repeat the primary reason. The Republicans can't afford to have the white sheets of the Southern "Neo-Confederacy" Republican Party worn in public. The Republicans can't win a presidency without energizing the white racially-biased male vote of the south, while simultaneously working every angle to suppress the black vote during an election. That's been their primary presidential "Southern" strategy since Nixon -- and it was certainly George W. Bush's road to the White House (with just a "tiny" boost from the Supreme Court).

However, they need to accomplish this political maneuver without showing their white sheets to the public at large, because exposing the true racist roots of the neo-confederacy GOP in the South would alienate moderate voters (particularly women) in the North, Midwest and West -- and, simultaneously, energize the black vote in key states, particularly in the South. (Blacks make up 1/3 of the population in Mississippi, for instance.)

You see, demographics are not on the side of the Republican Party in a national election. The white male vote is a decreasing percentage of the national vote -- but as the white male, particularly the southern white male, feels more besieged, he has become more frustrated and resentful and more likely to turn out on election day, egged on by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, and to vote Republican.

With this in mind, Rove's strategy of projecting Bush as a "compassionate conservative" was born. One of the main vehicles for projecting this false image was to have Bush frequently involved in photo-ops with young black children (as was the case the morning of September 11th, 2001) and black ministers. Indeed, before and after the election, Bush seemed to be spending more time reading to and hugging black children than he did in the White House. All of this was carefully planned to reassure moderate white voters that Bush was someone who embraced minorities.

Of course, while Bush's advance team was selecting a black kid for Bush to hug each day, Bush's staff was kicking the legs out of programs that benefit many black children and black adults. Bush's staff was working on plans to dismantle the public school system, as we know it, disenfranchise blacks, reduce educational and day care opportunities for moms trying to get off welfare, increase taxes for the poor, appoint bigoted federal judges, implement a de facto government affirmative action plan for white males (just consider George W. Bush "Exhibit A"), toss more black men in jail through draconian "anti-drug" laws, appoint a neo-confederacy attorney general, cut back on winter heating oil support for the poor...well, you get the picture, don't you? It was all done with a wink and a nod to the neo-confederate white males.

Naturally, the Democratic leaders in Congress -- being the bashful type -- let the Bush cartel get away with this racist charade. The Democrats are so afraid of "offending" the declining "anti-multi-cultural white-male vote" that Tom Daschle almost tripped on his way to assure Americans that Trent Lott was just a regular guy and didn't mean anything when he supported the pro-lynching, pro-segregation platform of the Dixiecrats. But that's Tom for you, so politically tone deaf to what is needed to win on the national level that he's become a predictable enabler of the implementation of Karl Rove's Machiavellian strategies.

The Democrats didn't understand the political threat that Lott's remarks posed for the Republicans. (Of course, we won't even get into the issue of the Democrats standing up for justice and condemning Lott's remarks immediately, instead of waiting to see which way the wind was blowing. Even then, the belated "disapproval" comments of the Democratic leadership sounded like they were coming from Southern Republicans who had to make pro forma objections for the sake of not energizing the black vote.) But Karl Rove knew immediately that once Lott wore his white sheet in public, the White House had a problem on its hands.

That's the reason, BuzzFlash has contended, that Rove's public relations machine (despite initial statements of support for Lott from Ari), started to feed damaging material on Lott to the press. (Oh please, we don't want to hear from anymore readers who think that the media actually started to dig up stuff on Lott on their own. Not when they had Kerry's $75 haircut to talk about. And the Democrats don't have the will or the strategic ability to stoke the flames on a story like this. This was a White House "knife-in-the-back" operation from the get-go.)

By the way, the best proof of BuzzFlash's perspective is that most of the press stories included a sentence along the lines, "Despite a Democratic outcry for Lott's resignation as majority leader." Well, since the Democratic leadership wasn't calling for Lott's resignation, this appears to be a story line planted by Rove. In fact, more Republicans, particularly the right wing "amen chorus" of columnists, were the ones calling for Lott to step down in an apparent orchestrated, behind-the-scenes media strategy.

In the end, Bush will get the credit for denouncing racism and de facto pushing Lott overboard. Daschle will get "credit" for hugging Trent Lott in his time of need, which won't translate into any votes for the Democrats. Bush will go on hugging black kids while smiling and continuing -- ironically -- to enact Lott's neo-confederacy agenda, particularly through the federal courts, the implementation of regressive agency regulations, "retooling" the civil rights division of the Justice Department, and enacting cuts in the budget for programs that support minority education and advancement.

Meanwhile, the Bush Cartel will have Lott replaced, as BuzzFlash predicted last week, with a senate leader who will be on a short leash held by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney -- and have a more palatable image than Lott. In the end, the selection of another "compassionate conservative" as senate leader will enhance the ability of the Bush Cartel to further dismantle civil rights, equal opportunity and social justice in America. You can certainly expect the new senate leader to be hugging a lot of black kids as he helps Bush pull the rug out from under them.

And the Democratic leadership in Congress will go on being clueless.


Mark KarlinComment