Give Mitt Romney props. Of his gazillion flip-flops, the one thing he couldn’t pretend to be (and to his further credit, he didn’t even seem to try), is be a racist.
But Newt, the South Carolina primary is made for a guy like him.
Then the religion card: the increasing anti-religious “bigotry” of the elites will be his enemy. He will deploy race and religion and nationalism as his themes. No wonder South Carolina loved him. And rather than retreating on the racially charged “food stamp president” line, he reiterates it.
This is what the GOP now is, and it deserves its spokesman. But do not under-estimate the appeal to some of the idea of humiliating and removing the first black president. That's what Gingrich is really about. He is giving them what they want. And it's meat that has barely seen a skillet.
Then we hear about Obama's “extreme left-wing allies from San Francisco” and now he is a “danger to this country”. “He makes Jimmy Carter look strong.” He wants the final showdown between America and socialism/Marxism/radicalism/Jihadism/Obama. And the rage among some about a black president actually exercising authority is real. This man can roil it brutally, shamelessly, mercilessly. And he will.
Of course he will. Whether he believes any of it or not, I don’t know, and it doesn’t even particularly matter. He’s the golfing buddy you want to be talking to about making sure your dumb-ass kid gets that summer job. As Andrew Sullivan wrote last night, Gingrich, “knows in his bones how to work this constituency”. He’s the id of the Republican base, and its relaxed-fit avatar.
- 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”.