The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any responsibility 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.”
Yeah, any time I hear someone talk about the “Constitution” I can tell they’re racists.
The fact is, if you hear the n-word every time someone talks about our entitlement society, the person with the race problem is YOU. If you hear “American values” and think “bigot” then the person with the race problem is YOU. If talking about the Founding Fathers seems racist, the person with the race problem is YOU.
If everything sounds like racism to you, Juan Williams, you might be a racist.
[Posted by Karl]
On the eve of the Florida primary, RCP’s Scott Conroy reports on increased support for Mitt Romney among the Sunshine State’s Hispanic community. Conroy’s story is corroborated by the weekend’s Miami Herald/Mason-Dixon poll, which has this pivotal demographic breaking for Romney over Newt Gingrich by a 52-28% margin.
This split echoes the 2008 primary in which McCain tied Romney among non-Hispanics, but won approximately 54% of the Hispanic vote. Indeed, Rudy Giuliani was the second-place candidate for Hispanics; Romney was a distinct third.
Thus, it appears that for a second cycle, Florida Republicans will likely back the nominally establishment candidate over the nominally non-establishment candidate, due in large part to the Hispanic vote. “Nominally” is the key term here, as the former Governor can argue he is less of the Beltway than the former Speaker of the House. Nevertheless, perception often passes for reality in politics . Moreover, the degree to which the GOP elders have sided with Romney over Gingrich is a reality, and Newt (for all his heresies) arguably has more conservative policy achievements to claim than Romney.
Yet the similar dynamic does not produce an identical result. For all of the grief Romney gets — much of it justified, imho — the right should take stock of where Florida and the GOP stand now when compared to 2008. In the last cycle, East Coast moderate neocons like Jennifer Rubin was flacking for John McCain over Mitt Romney, but now flacks for Romney. Conversely, grassroots talkers like Rush Limbaugh were backing Romney as the conservative alternative to McCain in 2008, but now back Gingrich over Romney.
If Romney wins the Florida primary as expected, some on the right will surely grumble about the party apparat having its way again. But the apparat is arguably having to accept more conservative candidates as time goes on.