The latest Romney campaign dog-whistle (fog horn???) below. Of course, Newt Gingrich is involved. Here come the criminalizing, racialized archetypes, as predicted, so many months ago, by Kay Whitlock CI: Criminalizing President Obama:
Welfare Queen/Lazy Black People Wanting What Belongs to Whites
As he sought the presidency thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan famously invoked images of a “welfare” queen” who drove a Cadillac, had one child after another out of wedlock, scammed public assistance programs by using bogus Social Security numbers, falsely collected veteran’s widow benefits, gave various addresses, and the like. He didn’t say this mythic person was black; he didn’t have to. He often featured this story while campaigning for “states’ rights” in the South. This woman wasn’t real; she was a toxic, public relations amalgam of already-existing racist criminal archetypes and hatred for the New Deal, the War on Poverty, and other public initiatives aimed at helping poor and low-income people. To do this, Reagan tapped into a long legacy of pathologizing, criminalizing views of black women – including Jim Crow images and Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report for the Lyndon Johnson administration, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” (popularly referred to as The Moynihan Report).
Infamously, this report identified black family structure – not the intersections of virulent poverty and systemic racism – as “destructive.” Blame was placed squarely on the growing numbers of families headed by single mothers who, Moynihan claimed, were increasingly giving birth to “illegitimate” children and becoming dependent on welfare.
Newt Gingrich refers to President Obama as “the food stamp president” and refers to poor [read: black] children having a “poor work ethic,” suggesting they might replace school janitors.
He’s invoking the entire racist, criminalizing archetype, and this kind of GOP stoking of racial resentments is widespread. Public commentator Juan Williams, who is not generally known for his progressive politics and who regularly appears on FOX News and offers his opinions in the Wall Street Journal and other conservative media makes note of the tactic:
Race is always a trigger in politics, but now a third of the nation are people of color — and their numbers are growing. With those minorities solidly in the Democratic camp and behind the first black president, the scene is set for a bonanza of racial politics.
The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any for the racial content of his message. The code words in this game are “entitlement society” — as used by Mitt Romney — and “poor work ethic” and “food stamp president” — as used by Newt Gingrich. References to a lack of respect for the “Founding Fathers” and the “Constitution” also make certain ears perk up by demonizing anyone supposedly threatening core “old-fashioned American values.”
Newt Gingrich, perhaps unsurprisingly, is not the most consistent surrogate. The former House speaker, whose presidential primary stump speech labeled President Obama the greatest “food stamp president,” re-emerged as a GOP surrogate Wednesday attacking Obama for dismantling welfare reform — Romney’s latest attack on Obama.
But even Gingrich admits that Romney’s attack ad might go too far…..
Gingrich went on: “We have no proof today, but I would say to you under Obama’s ideology it is absolutely true that he would be comfortable sending a lot of people checks for doing nothing.”
This isn’t completely out of step with the Romney campaign’s own claims. Over the last few days, it has emphasized Obama’s opposition to welfare reform and the “culture of dependency” line emerged in one of Romney’s campaign speeches. Still, Gingrich’s comments don’t match Romney’s allegation that Obama has gutted welfare reform — as opposed to suggesting he would like to. Obama took “the work requirement out of welfare,” Romney said on the stump Tuesday. “That is wrong, if I’m president I’ll put work back in welfare.”
I smell desperation.
What a shame that the GOP nominee has seen fit to slum in this manner. It’s bad enough that the welfare ad bears no resemblance to factual reality. What’s worse is that he has dredged up the racially coded tactics that Republicans employed so often in the ’80s and ’90s, including Ronald Reagan’s loaded references to “welfare queens” and George H.W. Bush’s TV ads equating crime with blacks. Romney is traveling the same low road, tapping the old stereotypes about how Democrats supposedly want to shovel taxpayer money to shiftless welfare recipients – now with a black president wielding the shovel.
The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether.
Mitt Romney’s campaign has hit new depths of truth-twisting with its accusation that President Obama plans to “gut welfare reform” by ending federal work requirements. The claim is blatantly false, but it says a great deal about Mr. Romney’s increasingly desperate desire to define the president as something he is not….
This could not be more wrong, but this is what happens when a flailing campaign searches for a wedge issue to gain popularity among blue-collar voters. Mr. Romney’s empty promises to magically turn around the economy are losing effectiveness, so why not vilify welfare recipients and portray the president as coddling them?
That approach was favored by an earlier generation of Republican operatives, and it helped divide the country into warring political classes. Mr. Romney, no less cynical, seems bent on repeating the past