Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What the Republicans Have Already Figured Out: "Arrogance" Equals Allowable Racism

What you will be seeing in the coming days:

The Republicans have already figured it out.

They know that precisely because Obama's greatest strength is in the fact that he offers something new, a change from long-held traditions of the past--that it is also his greatest weakness.

They know that the fervent bubbly enthusiasm is a concern--deeply buried ambiguities about race, deeply held racism, especially among older voters.

For a time, they were caught by the dilemma that Obama seemed invulnerable--that any attack, particularly the attacks that they have honed and used for so long, steeped in insinuation and vicious invention, would be regarded as racist.

Hence, the dilemma for the usual swift boat strategy.

Now they have found it. They have realized that:

1) Americans want to be free of the burdens and division of racism;

2) Many of them--including many of those who wish to be free--are not;

3) Republicans cannot raise racist issues frontally, because many people hold such views at the same time that they do not wish to see themselves as holding them;

4) They need a substitute--distanced enough from overt racism to be acceptable to those who wish to see themselves as egalitarian but still hold deeply seated racial prejudices, and fears, yet close enough to evoke those very doubts and fears--yet one that they can claim is *not* racist--with the traditional smug pose of Republican innocence, hands up, pleased at their cleverness at providing one message while claiming another, the tradition of attack over thought and truth that carried us all the way to Iraq--and beyond.

The substitute is "arrogance".

As the 527's gear up, look to see "arrogance" and "elitist" used again and again as this cycle's dark touchstone to evoke the deepest and unspoken doubts and fears, as they work in the mental demilitarized grey zone between racism and rationalization, calling up the vitriol with that classic combination of the pose of "clean hands" inevitably broken though by the barely contained, smug, blunt, adolescent glee of insinuated attack.

Elitist. He who grew up with a single mother. Who earned his academic progress through scholarships. Who turned down top law firms for the streets of Chicago.

No matter--the term itself will be enough to unleash the self-satisfied vitriolic scrawl--just enough of a peg to hang itself on to loose the traditional and safest prejudices, as always, so boldly feeling their unloosed anger as they ironically turn to the most familiar and comfortable shibboleths.

"Arrogance" equals acceptable racism here. One that can always be disclaimed. In other words, hiding truth behind a known facade, in the most common and seemingly pleasurable Republican tactic--fear inducing insinuation behind a known facade--and pleasure and pride in the manufacture of the known guise.

Wise up. Don't buy it. Turn such insinuated doubts away. If they need to manipulate you to stimulate your belief, question their motives.

If you didn't do it for Iraq--if you fell for the directed manipulation of fear, of the use of innuendo to stir undemonstrated and unrelated fears--you now have a second chance.

Do it now.