October 03, 2011

For prez: The token vs. the racist - with dogwhistles

The culturally amnesiac black token, Pizza Man Herman Cain, based on superior debate performances and other things, has surged in Florida past the "some of my state Supreme Court appointees" are black (more below) racist Rick Perry. And it really gets fun now.

First, although Fox played up Cain's tepid ("insensitive" is all you can say when you lived in Civil Rights Georgia) response to the Perry family's hunting lease, wingnut bloggers are turning on ... Cain! Apparently, "insensitive" is stepping too far outside the token role, as a Mother Jones roundup notes.

Second, Pizza Man, after some of these wingnuts said he was playing the race card, ... caved.
"I really don't care about that word. They painted over it," he said, referring to a sign painted on a rock at the property the Texas Governor once leased. The Washington Post first reported Sunday that the slur appeared on the hunting grounds' gated entrance.

The matter "doesn't bother me at all," Cain added, emphasizing that he was satisfied by Perry's explanation of it and that he was "not playing the race card. I am not attacking Gov. Perry."
 Then why DID you raise it? Either you were playing the race card in a bank-shot way, or you have even less backbone to stand up to wingnuts than .... Obama does.

Next, we have the saga of Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Jefferson, fluffing Rick Perry in a way that would get a defendant in a case before Jefferson's court up on a perjury charge.

Jefferson, appointed by Perry, claims he's not a racist. So do black Dems in Texas like Ron Wilson and Royce West. Well, I don't know Ron Wilson, but I do know Royce West. And, it's not surprising he'd say this, whether or not it's true.

What all these people ignore is ... stuff like this:
In his first statewide race, Perry defeated Jim Hightower for agriculture commissioner in part by highlighting Hightower’s endorsement of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson for president, filming a television ad that aired across East Texas — and that many believed was meant to alarm white voters.
While Perry was agriculture commissioner, his deputy was accused of using a racial slur while talking to two men seeking a loan. Perry called the allegation “vile and offensive”; the assistant commissioner resigned.  
Later in his term, when Perry was attacking Bill Clinton for accepting campaign contributions from trial lawyers, Perry was quoted as saying, “Every Jose in town wants to come along and sue you for something.” (He later apologized.)
And he has at times gotten crosswise with minorities for what has appeared to be his defense of the Confederate flag. Most famously, at his 2007 gubernatorial inaugural ball, Perry dismissed the outcry after rock star Ted Nugent showed up to perform in a shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag. Later, a Perry spokesman said the governor would never wear the flag himself, but that Nugent was perfectly entitled to do so.
These stories all have the same "dogwhistle" to them that the Niggerhead rock does. Do/tolerate/support/put up with something racist, or racist-lite, or racist-winking ... until the public outcry rises, then, have an apology if necessary, but a carefully nuanced one that never fully admits to a change from the original stance.

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