Wait, what's that I hear? It's faint, but growing louder....
Oh, that's it. It's the dog whistle of racial politics entering the 2012 presidential race, courtesy of Mr. White Privilege himself, Newt Gingrich.
Earlier this week, Gingrich spoke at a Georgia Republican Party convention and distinguished his potential presidency from President Obama's thusly:
At one point during the speech, Gingrich derided progressive economic policies that value public investment and spending to get back to work, saying that “we’re at the crossroads” and that “down one road is a European centralized bureaucratic socialist welfare system” and the other road is a “proud, solid reaffirmation of American exceptionalism.” He then went on to declare Obama to be a “food stamp president”:
GINGRICH: President Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history. [...] I would like to be the most successful paycheck president in American history.
"Food stamp president"? Nope, no loaded imagery there. Every sentient being with an IQ in the triple digits saw that statement for what it is: a racist dog whistle. Even David Gregory couldn't ignore it and had to ask Newtster about it. Newt predictably protesteth too much and doubled down on the dog whistle by saying that we just don't want all of America to be too much like Detroit.
Yeah, that made the racist overtones all better, didn't it?
I have to admit to having a ridiculously naive point of view at Obama's election that we had reached a point in our country where we could have post-racial discussions. I didn't think we were color-blind, so much as color-indifferent. How stupid I was. The last two years have really opened my eyes to the deep and entrenched the undercurrent of racism is in this country and how these dog whistles systematically re-confirm to people of color that they are the Other. So while Newt clutches his pearls and declares that he's never said anything racist about President Obama, let me just say for the record that it is not for the privileged white man to decide what is and is not racist. The words he consciously chooses come with a history of neglect and exclusion for people of color and it is absolutely their right to find them racist.
Furthermore, if David Gregory was worth his salt as a newsman (*cough, cough* still can't bring myself to call him a journalist), he'd point out to the Newtster that the reason we have so many people on food stamps is because we HAVE been victimized by his plan of lowering taxes on corporations (note that he contradicts himself later, blaming things on GE paying no taxes) and less regulations. We've tried these Reaganomics notions for thirty years and frankly, you can't blame Obama that they haven't worked. Obama's policies have resulted in positive job growth for thirteen consecutive months. All that job loss? Happened during the Bush administration with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. Hard to run on that record, Newt.