Lee Atwater is the real architect of the modern Republican/wingnut election strategy. His work for Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan and Bush the Elder created the road map of code talking that is now the foundation of every Republican candidate for virtually any office. This strategy is rooted in the idea that working class white folks should identify their primary enemy as some dangerous “other”. The name that Lee Atwater gave this invented threat to the white working class was “nigger” and he built code-talking campaigns around how to convey that message without ever using the word: “nigger”.
Here is how he explained the game plan:
The entire GOP debate last night—the ugliness of the crowd and the code-talkers on the stage—is all firmly rooted in putrid soil of Atwater’s legacy. When Gingrich says Food Stamps he means “nigger”. When Perry says states’ rights he means “nigger”. And when Romney says President Obama doesn’t “shares our values” or that the race is about “saving the soul of America” he means “nigger”.
The Republican code-talking of 2012 closely follows the road map Atwater made for the Party decades ago (with a few innovations like using “immigrant” as a synonym for “nigger”). It is disgusting and yet, it is all the wingnuts have to offer as a reason to vote for them. The big question is are there enough working class whites who are still dumb enough to believe this crap. I hope not, but that does seem to be the entire rational of the Republican Party—and it did work out for them in 2010.
Time will tell how the vote breaks for these shameless weasels and I wish them a lot of luck: all of it bad.