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Republican Party Transformation

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Despite what the average voter doth protest, American presidential political campaigns are notorious for their uncivil, condescending and vicious methods and tones. Negative campaigning buttressed by billions of "soft money" and a lack of accountability to "we the people" has made these contests simply corporate political jousts between the Democrats or Republicans every four years. And three month from 2012 polling day the bloodfest is pretty a standard diet of daily gore and goo from both sides of the political divide.

It's also standard fare for Republicans to dust of the old Strom Thurman "Southern Strategy Book" and dredge up something to scare the base and paint Democrats as unpatriotic, tax and spend immigration-loving-can't-be-trusted idiots. And that's happening now in the 2012 Presidential campaign as Republicans and Democrats battle for supremacy in a handful of "swing states."   But this time things are different. For one there's the Tea Party Movement (?) that is dragging the GOP rightwards in the direction of a new form of Jim Crowism.

America is rapidly moving to a caste system for all the ballyhooed touting about the middle class. The explanation is breathtakingly simple: Jim Crow refers to the racial hierarchy that defined American life through a set of laws and practices which operated primarily, but not exclusively, in southern and Border States between 1877 and the mid-1960s. This hierarchy, with whites at the top and Blacks at the bottom, was supported by millions of everyday objects and images.

Enter new voter ID laws. Urged by Tea Party zealots, Republican governors in a number of southern states are now moving to disenfranchise mainly Blacks and immigrants by insisting on a new and revised Jim Crow-type "poll tax" -- ostensibly called a voter ID card -- which each voter will have to show before being allowed to cast his or her vote in the 2012 Presidential elections. Ironically, these laws, IDs etc. was not even a discussion point the past 15 years before Obama but are now floated as necessary in the Age of Obama.

Not satisfied to undermine the gains of the Civil Rights Movement and a Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in a demonstration of true bi-partisan cooperation -- only Republican Strom Thurmond voted against -- Republican governors are today embracing the racism of Thurmond's "Southern Strategy." Ironically the Voting Rights Act of 1965 will be 47 years old on August 6, 2012.

Instead of looking at ways and means to encourage and promote voter registration and participation, Republicans are waging a new kind of war -- make President Obama a "foreigner and outsider" and therefore un-American, while simultaneously move legislation to depress Black, student and immigrant voter turnout in states like Pennsylvania. Of course, it does not take a scientist to see that these moves target ONLY Obama Democratic supporters and voters. That's the new Southern Strategy.

Demonization of the Democratic president and painting him as "un-American" is standard operating procedure from the Republican Playbook. Recall that Michael Dukakis was literally hounded from the race with sustained and unrelenting Republican attacks on his "foreign" name, suggestions that he was a drunk, mimicked and ridiculed about his height and floating the idea that he was so un-American that he did not even know the Pledge of Alliance very well and did not repeat it.

John Kerry suffered a similar fate when he was painted as "French" and so "foreign" and therefore un-American because he favored French wines, Swiss cheese, and Philly cheese steaks. The Swift Board Veterans finally derailed his campaign by suggesting that he lied on his military service and that his record was suspect.

Today, President Barack Obama is a tagged as a raving commie, a socialist, whose birth certificate is a fake, thus making him "un-American" and unpatriotic. But don't take my word for it. Here's how Mitt(ens) Romney's surrogate John Sununu put it:

"I wish this president would learn how to be an American," said the former New Hampshire governor during a Romney campaign media conference call. (He later apologized.) Sununu then when on that trusty Republican station, Fox News, to claim that President Obama "has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn't be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and frankly, when he came to the U.S., he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure."

There you have it. President Obama is a former youth drug addict (or close to it) and when Mitt Romney chimed in on the same day with the statement that the president's ideas about the economy is "extraordinarily foreign" then the red-baiting, xenophobia of the Republican "Southern Strategy" reached fever-pitch. Of course, this delights the Tea Party Movement -- that incestuous amalgamation of far-right nut jobs, sundry "birthers," fringe lunatics, and nativist dreamers -- who want to "take back America."

This is loaded code for "Black people to stay in their place" and to return to the "conservative era" of Jim Crow -- only in a new, remade and dressed up form branded as "American patriotism and exceptionalism." In 2010 the Tea Party stormed the political barricades with people like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and others leading the daily steer-crazy charge and hogging the political discourse. Moderate and conservative Republicans (if there is such a thing) were shackled and hog-tied to extremist positions that are unworkable and untenable in the U.S. Congress.

In a game of vicious, partisan one-upmanship Tea Party favorites vied for who could cast President Obama as the most Black communist radical socialist un-American and unpatriotic president influenced by his DNA ties to Kenya. Such that today the very tone of the 2012 US Presidential elections are racist to the core. Before the age of the Tea Party Movement and the birth of its special brand of fringe lunatic's racism, while still a part of the American body politic, was deemed impolite and unacceptable to openly practice it in the political arena. Not so now. The Republican Party has wed itself to its hybrid bastard child, the Tea Party, and like Frankenstein, resurrected a new and more evil reincarnation of Jim Crow.

And the sad thing is that Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican standard-bearer, is enabling, encouraging and empowering this strident, virulent cabal that is cacophonously shouting from the rooftops that President Obama is a coddler of homosexuals, countries and movements that hate America, "has lost his way" and deserves to be kicked out of office. This collection of homophobes, nativists, outright racists and others are united with their Republican sponsors and collaborators over one thing -- making Barack Obama a one term president.

Hear the darling of the Republican/Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh: "I think it can now be said, without equivocation -- without equivocation -- that this man hates this country. He is trying -- Barack Obama is trying -- to dismantle, brick by brick, the American Dream."   He gushed: "He was indoctrinated as a child. His father was a communist. His mother was a leftist. He was sent to prep and Ivy League schools where his contempt for the country was reinforced."

No proof needed; no back up documents to substantiate this seriously outrageous charge bordering on sheer unadulterated lunacy. Just the Doctrine according to Rush, gospel, fact, uncut and unabridged - the Viagra of the Republican/Tea Party.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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