Wednesday, July 6, 2011

David Duke -- he's ba-ack! (well, maybe ... )

You may soom be able to drive another nail into the coffin of the GOP's attempt to wrest the presidency from Barack Obama.

Recently, the Daily Beast reported that David Duke, the notorious white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klansman from Louisiana, is considering throwing his hat into the ring. What's worse from that perspective, Obama's election in 2008 has spurred considerable "white-rights" activity," and not just from Duke. If he does, that can only hurt the Republican Party.

Indeed, the GOP has had a race problem since its "Southern Strategy" first took hold in 1966 but especially since Ronald Reagan kicked off his ultimately successful 1980s presidential campaign in Neshoba County, Miss., where three civil-rights workers were murdered 16 years earlier. During his stump speech, Reagan told the people who supported him that he supported "states rights" -- in that context, a code word for racism because the primary legal argument against the civil-rights movement was its tramping on state sovereignty. That eventually led to an unwelcome endorsement from a Klan leader in Georgia who said, "The Republican platform could have been written by a Klansman."

And this wouldn't be Duke's first stab at elected office, either. He ran for president as a Democrat in 1988 -- making little headway -- but again four years later, as a Republican, which caused considerable consternation in the party, the Florida GOP trying to get him off the ballot. In 1990 he won a special election for the state legislature (but proved ineffective). In 1991 he ran for governor and, while he received less than 40 percent of the overall vote in the state-mandated runoff, he crowed afterward that he got 55 percent of the white vote. (In fairness, he was running against Edwin Edwards, who was the epitome of "laissez les bon temps rouler" and who got most of the black vote.)

While modern conservatism isn't inherently racist, all of your "racial realists" -- their preferred term -- are conservative in every possible way and today vote Republican. And according to the Daily Beast article, Duke has quite a following, with his YouTube videos going "viral." That's especially the case since Obama became president.

The tea-party movement in particular has a reputation for racist behavior that its leadership has categorically denied. But according to Stormfront founder and radio host Don Black, it shouldn't because, frankly, there are indeed racists who participate.

"Many of our people are involved in the tea party," Black explained to the Daily Beast. "But much of [its] leadership is skittish when it comes to talking about racial realities. The tea party is a healthy movement, but too many are conditioned to run like scared rabbits when called racists."

You see the difficulty. On the one hand, you have a party that's trying to build a coalition to regain the highest office in the land and arguably the most powerful political post in the world. On the other hand, you have forces of intolerance, a form of "religion" if you will, that won't accept anything less than capitulation. The GOP simply can't and won't have it both ways, so get ready for a major split.


asutton said...

I believe you have approached the Tea Party as though it was an organized group. It was initially supposed by Democrat leaders to be astro turfing by the GOP. That is completely baseless. It has no foundation in the GOP, in fact the GOP doesn't quite know what to do with it and would like it to go away. The TEA Party has as much to do with getting RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) in line or out of office. It is a third entity, outside established parties, with no established central membership roll. You want to join? show up at a meeting. They are trying to keep lunatics out but since it is truly grass roots that is difficult. In short, it is where people go who are fed up with the status quo in politics.

BlueDeacon said...

It certainly is organized now and since proven to be "astro-turfed" -- where there's potential power the "big boys" will always take notice and try to take over. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, published by a well-known conservative financier, placed the first local tea-party rally on its front page; that should tell you something.