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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The new War Between the States

George W. Bush talked about "soft bigotry." Newt Gingrich embraces the hard stuff.

It seems appropriate the state where the Civil War began handed a demoralizing loss to a "Massachusetts moderate." That's because Gingrich swept to victory on the wings of a campaign that pushed every conservative hot button, particularly the one we are squeamish to talk about except in code words like "Kenyan socialism."

The right's refusal to let go of the birth certificate issue, even after Barack Obama produced documentation of his Hawaiian origins, reflects how deeply the issue of the president's skin color resonates in the minds of conservatives and the people who vote for them.

It resonates even louder in exit polls that show people who identify themselves as evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported Gingrich, despite his well-known disdain for traditional marriage that is allegedly revered on the right.

Gingrich, who is a key player in creating the polluted tone of today's politics, knows how to use words to sow discord. His attack on Obama as the" food stamp president" is thinly-veiled racism. In his victory speech, he dressed it up a bit to pull in others who still harbor grudges over losing The War of Northern Aggression:
The American people feel that they have elites who have been trying for a half-century to force us to quit being American and become some kind of other system.
Gingrich is the latest in a long line of "populists," who include Charles Coughlin, Joseph R. McCarthy and Pat Buchanan to prey on the fear of those who are "different" from "real Americans."

His victory no doubt sends shudders down what's left of the spines of "traditional" Republicans who encouraged the rise of the Tea Party as a tool to victory, only to see the hard right hijack the party.

Expect the next 10 days to be spent furiously bucking up Mitt Romney with a barrage of negative ads aimed at Florida voters who go to the polls on Jan. 31. Thanks to South Carolina, the soul of the party of Abraham Lincoln -- and the nation itself -- is on the line.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gingrich likes to play this game, and is a natural at it. Romney is an effete politician who stutters when he tries to appear tough. He's going to leave it to his political surrogates to do the dirty work his seems incapable of doing himself. He calls it unbecoming. It doesn't look good when you appear incapable of carrying the fight to your opponent yourself.

January 22, 2012 9:48 AM  

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