G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Blogger Ulysses expressed minor frustration that in this entire dog whistle debate, few have asked the question: who is the target of these so-called whistles? If conservative voters are as dumb as liberals say they are then they’d already be in the pocket of the GOP. The GOP establishment would merely be whistling Dixie to the choir.
Mickey Kaus writes on the topic:
Would a “dog whistle” tactic even make any sense? As John Ellis notes, it can’t be about white working class men–Romney’s already got them in his pocket. The ads are more likely to appeal to disillusioned women who voted for Obama last time–and to anyone who thought the welfare issue had been settled, or who worries more broadly that Obama was not the neoliberal he appeared to be in 2008 (when he ran ads boasting about … slashing the welfare rolls). If there are millions of racists in the electorate, it’s hard to believe they were seriously thinking of voting for Obama until … wait,! the dog whistle!**
It goes something like this: the Republican Party assembled a national majority by winning over Southern white voters; Southern white voters are racist; therefore, the GOP is racist.
Welfare reform is deliberately anti-black (or anti-minority or anti-poor) only if conservatives secretly believe that welfare actually does help its beneficiaries and are being deceitful when they argue that long-term dependency devastates inner-city communities. Tax cuts are part of a racist agenda only if conservatives do not believe that lower taxes will enhance economic growth and social mobility for all. Conservative opposition to raising the minimum wage is anti-poor only if free-marketeers are feigning concern that increases will price less-skilled people out of the workforce (as when Milton Friedman called the minimum wage “one of the most . . . anti-black laws on the statute books”) and secretly agree with liberals that increases will benefit the working poor over the long term.
To be condemned as racist “code,” the GOP’s position would have to come across as proxies for these views [such as positions on busing and affirmative action], and in turn these views would have to be racist. The problem is that these views are not self-evidently racist. Many scholars simply treat them as if they were.…In effect, these critics want to have it both ways: they acknowledge that these views could in principle be non-racist (otherwise they wouldn’t be a “code” for racism) but suggest they never are in practice (and so can be reliably treated as proxies for racism). The result is that their claims are non-falsifiable because they are tautological: these views are deemed racist because they are defined as racist…One suspects these theorists would, quite correctly, insist that people can disagree with the Israeli government without being in any way anti-Semitic. But they do not extend the same distinction to this issue. This is partisanship posturing as social science.
“If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us,” Spencer Ackerman wrote. “Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”