Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

The Weird Obliqueness Of The GOP

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 24, 2009

I’m sure by now you all have heard about the rather strange Republican National Committee attack ad leveled against Nancy Pelosi as part of their grand and deeply misogynistic GOP/Media pile-on intended to distract our attention from Bush/Cheney crimes.

What’s unusual here is that it’s a stupid ad, and fails at its task. If the RNC wants to strike fear in the hearts and genitals of white male blue-collar voters, they can’t do so by comparing Nancy Pelosi to Pussy Galore. Ms. Galore is a sexy, smart, sympathetic character, and a good girl at heart who Bond winds up redeeming. If they wanted to use a Bond villainess to hit the various misogyny and homophobia buttons in the Joe Sixpacks of the nation, Rosa Klebb would have been the smarter choice by far — see, Rosa Klebb’s a lesbian, and Pelosi lives in San Francisco, which has lots of lesbians!

But aside from whether the ad itself actually works, it seems to be typical of a new iteration of their long-standing habit of obliqueness from the Republicans — similar to what the late Lee Atwater referred to in 1981 as “getting abstract“:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.”’

Ever wonder why Republicans pushed the Obama’s-A-Muslim and Obama’s-A-Foreigner storylines? It’s because, as Lee Atwater said back in 1981, you can’t say ‘nigger’. Just as “cutting taxes” became oblique, abstracted Republican code for oppressing black people, Republicans use Muslims and foreigners as stand-ins for black and brown people in America.

And Al Giordano notes yet another facet of the GOP’s abstraction diamond, in that the hysteria whipped up over housing Guantanamo detainees in US prisons is made to subtly piggyback onto not just general fears of The Other, but onto the fears previously whipped up against undocumented workers from Latin America.

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