No More Dog Whistles

To my readers: Watch President Obama’s eulogy to John Lewis, and remember what a President looks and sounds like.

Now I return you to my regularly scheduled screed….

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Can you stand one more post on Republican bigotry? I ask because there’s a new story every day.

For example, there was a recent report from The Hill about a display in the office of Representative Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.)–  an 1897 book, “General Robert Edward Lee; Soldier, Citizen and Christian Patriot.” People waiting for a meeting with the Representative reported that

the book was opened to a page that read: “The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially, and physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race, and, I hope, will prepare and lead them to better things.”

Just another day in GOP-land.

A post devoted to enumerating explicitly anti-Black  behaviors by multiple Republican officeholders would be both long and redundant. There has been less focus on the party’s growing willingness to express its anti-Semitism, despite the fact that prejudice against Jews is another reliable element of White Nationalism.

I was reminded of the prevalence of that anti-Semitism by a recent news article–also from Georgia.

A political Facebook ad for Republican U.S. Senator David Perdue’s campaign has been pulled after sparking controversy and charges of antisemitism. 

At the helm of the controversial ad is a photo of Perdue’s Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff with what appears to be an exaggerated nose. In an investigation lead by The Forward, a media outlet geared toward a Jewish audience, it was determined that Ossoff’s nose was both “lengthened and widened.” 

Perdue’s campaign team says the ad was designed by a third-party vendor and that any distortion of the image was unintentional. The campaign team added that incumbent Perdue has a strong record of standing against antisemitism and all forms of hate.

 On Monday, Ossoff addressed the offensive photo seen in the ad by tweeting, “I’m Jewish. This is the oldest, most obvious, least original antisemitic trope in history. Senator, literally no one believes your excuses.”

Perdue said that Ossoff’s nose was “inadvertently” widened when the picture was resized for use in the ad; however, observers pointed out that the nose was the only part of the photo that was affected. They also noted that the ad showed Ossoff together with Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (who is also Jewish), and accused them of trying to ‘buy Georgia,’ a not-so-subtle allusion to centuries-old anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish people.

The Intercept recently had an article  about Trump’s ironic attack on Muslim Representative Ilhan Omar, calling her anti-Semitic for two insensitive tweets about Israel (for which she has “unequivocally apologized”) and saying she should resign. The article highlighted six Republican members of Congress it said “should resign first” for having exhibited far worse anti-Jewish behaviors.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, representative for California’s 23rd Congressional District, has promised to “take action this week” against Omar over her tweets.

This is the same McCarthy who took to Twitter in October 2018 to accuse three Jewish billionaires — George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Michael Bloomberg — of trying to “buy” the midterms. He posted his tweet just a day after Soros received a pipe bomb at his home in New York.

McCarthy never apologized.

The article listed five others: Steven Scalise, who in 2003 spoke at a convention of the white supremacist European American Unity and Rights Organization, a group founded by David Duke; Louie Gohmert (enough said); Matt Gaetz, who invited the notorious Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson* to be his guest at the State of the Union, and who has appeared on Alex Jones’s “Infowars” show. (Among other canards, Jones has accused George Soros of funding the caravan of migrants from Central America); Steve King (again, enough said); and Paul Gosar,

Rep. Paul Gosar, the Republican who represents Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, has claimed that the far-right rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 — at which marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us” — was “created by the left” and led by an “Obama sympathizer.” He has also suggested that Soros funded the event and falsely claimed that the Jewish billionaire “turned in his own people to the Nazis.”

In fact, Gosar is so brazen in his conspiratorial, anti-Jewish bigotry that his own family has felt the need to publicly denounce him.

Republican anti-Semitism has become so widespread and obvious that a new website has been developed to track it.

The website — which is part of a broader campaign against white nationalism launched earlier this year by progressive Jewish group Bend the Arc — aims to educate the wider public on the explosion in far-right antisemitic incidents since Trump became the Republican presidential nominee.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the GOP has abandoned its dog-whistle in favor of an out-and-proud White Nationalist bullhorn.

In November, we’ll see how many Americans endorse that bigotry.

17 thoughts on “No More Dog Whistles

  1. I’m predicting around 55 million Americans will not only endorse but will actively support the spread and hold that bigotry has on our communities by voting for people who are anti Semitic, racist and classist. It’s a national tragedy and international embarrassment.

  2. The miracle of electronic devices, especially phones which do everything but pay for their service, have options for playing games and photo shopping. Fun and games have no place in any political campaign but…there they are and they are being used to discriminate and spread distortions and lies. Racism, Antisemitism and bigotry in all its ugly forms are primary targets today; had not the distortion of Jon Ossoff’s photo not been called out, it would have remained public to be the butt of jokes.

    Progress does not always mean improvement; too often it is used as a tool to destroy people’s lives and careers. We are being inundated with evidence of this during this Trump miss-administration and dangerous reelection campaign than any other time in this country; support of Antisemitism by a fool whose own daughter and her family are Jewish. Are people forgetting that fact; did David Perdue forget that the First Daughter is Jewish and she and her husband are the closest advisers to the racist, bigoted president?

    “It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the GOP has abandoned its dog-whistle in favor of an out-and-proud White Nationalist bullhorn.”

  3. I urge everyone to read John Lewis’s op-ed in the NY Times. He requested that it be published on the day of his funeral. As Bill Clinton said yesterday, “He has given us our marching orders.”

  4. It would seem the political class has many prejudices toward others – including the working class and the poor. Why be surprised?

    They are the best money can buy, so those who fund them get their allegiance while those who don’t contribute toward their bottom line are victimized. It’s all fear-based prejudice. Reactionary.

    Their floor speeches, books, rants on Fox, and MSNBC are all theater to appease the Oligarchs who put them in office. Look at the political classes campaign finance reports to see who the show is for or look at their gerrymandered districts to know the base.

    Should we be surprised that a GA representative would have a book on General Lee?

    They still have civil war reenactments all across the south. Not sure why they want to relive this horror every year, but many travel from one site to another, playing out battle’s so that they can keep the confederacy alive and well.

    And, many of the white oligarchs still use blacks to help raise their kids and lawn maintenance, cooking, cleaning, etc.

    I’ve been in the south the past month, and once you leave the big cities, you get the feeling you’ve stepped back in time where “liberals” never existed. I’ve heard liberal used as a derogatory term often since I’ve been here in the past three weeks. I suppose the further you get away from the Yankee influence, the more bigotry you’ll find.

  5. LOL,
    Look, this is the worst kept secret of a known known!

    When Ivana Trump told the courts that her soon-to-be ex-husband was a fan of Nazi literature, that should have been a red flag for every one right there! He used money and threats to muzzle her from continuing to release this information.

    Comparisons to the Jon Ossoff photo and the Nazi propaganda posters from the 30s are strikingly similar. “It’s all in the nose!”

    And, as has been brought out before, Adolf Hitler fully expected the United States to join with Germany during the second world war. One reason was, there were more Nazis in the United States than any other country besides Germany. Another was the American and British embrace of eugenics in the 30s. Or slavery, Or Manifest Destiny, or that American industry was building quite a bit of the Nazi war machine!

    And just to make things a little more comfortable for the defeated Germans after the second world war, the United States imported tens of thousands of German men to work in the United States so they could collect social security and live well back in Germany when they retired.

    What was the reason behind this program? Why weren’t they in Germany rebuilding their country? While they were here, they were spreading even more viral and viral hatred towards any minority group they could set their beady eyes on! Lincoln square was a prime example in Chicago. They called it Germantown, and it was not a place you wanted to wander into if you are not a Nazi.

    I remember the Greeks from the greektown area, coming into contact with those Nazis in Germantown, and it was like world war 3! Because you know how the Greeks really despise Nazis! And if you don’t, look it up!

    When individuals cannot see the lights flashing at the railroad crossing, you are going to get run over by a train.

    There is another issue that I’m sure you’ll touch on eventually, there are white nationalists actually running guns into the cities! They are promoting conflict and circumventing local law enforcement. These organizations could be taken down using our antitrust laws, but that doesn’t seem to be a priority in this current justice department.

    Never let some good civil unrest / murders / baby killings, go to waste!

    What I’ve seen on some of these comments, is an oblivious herd mentality led by a few, which doesn’t accomplish anything whatsoever. And, on top of all of that, they have completely missed the mark.

  6. One name not mentioned, but should be is Trump’s newest chief of staff, Mark Meadows. He was one of the original Tea Party idiots that allowed themselves to be purchased by the Koch brothers. He was also one of the original Obama-haters and flouted his bigotry openly before and after the 2008 election. He toned it down when he was up for re-election, but his “performance” during the impeachment hearings showed that he was a Trump toady through and through.

    I think Meadows is behind much of Trump’s most recent attacks on “the other”, especially the one about housing values and neighborhood deterioration. It’s no surprise, really. Trump’s team consists of nothing but very, very bad people with evil intent.

    Todd’s right. Redneck Nation still lives in the 19th century. I credit Republicans with making sure that the rural South stays that way. It is their most faithful constituency.

  7. One of our (CommonGoodGoverning) candidates is running against the Libertarian/Tea Party/GOP House Representative Thomas Masse in Kentucky. In helping her with opposition research we found he retweeted an image of a Black woman holding an assault rifle with the headline “gun dealers report a 52.8% increase in Black customers in 2020”. Can you hear the whistle blow? [wanted to show it, but the blog won’t take images]

  8. Thanks, Vernon.

    The Republicans have expanded “Redneck Nation” beyond the rural South. It has been spreading across the nation. I would classify much of Indiana as fitting the description of rednecks with their only claim to fame being ‘at least we’re not black or Hispanic’ and not being a stoopid libral.

    When I reminded my high school friends who use “liberal” as a derogatory term that “liberal” means open-minded, they usually ask what happened to me after graduating high school.

    After pointing out their racist, sexist, and misogynistic posts on Facebook, I would immediately get threatened with fists or guns, and then blocked. Who wants to have their bigotry and character flaws exposed on social media?

    There must be a correlation between closed-mindedness and being thin-skinned. 😉

  9. I would point out that the Koch Brothers (actually one of them is now dead) have always strongly supported criminal justice reform, immigration reform and have steadfastly refused to support Trump, even after he won the Presidency. People may not like everything the Koch Brothers have supported, but they’re certainly not the boogeyman so many on the left make them out to be. Liberals obsess about the influence of the Koch Brothers and conservatives obsess about George Soros. Different sides of the same coin.

  10. Paul,

    You’re right about the Koch’s “coming to Jesus” shift after 2015, but read Jane Meyer’s great book, “Dark Money”. Add to that Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” and you’ll discover that the Kochs heeded the call of Lewis Powell to literally purchase education and the government with their “foundations” and “colleges” within universities – who were ever so eager to take their money. That’s not obsession. It’s paying attention.

    Anybody, even the Kochs, with half a brain knew that Trump was big trouble. The fact remains that the Trump “deadheads” still number in the tens of millions. That fact is not paying attention. It is obsession.

  11. Its Republicans last stand, isn’t it? If they don’t win this time, the rules in 2022 and going forward will all change to their detriment. Then throw in demographics.

    When Republicans lose an old racist/bigoted white man (or woman) they can’t easily replace them. Instead they have to attempt converting millenials or Z’ers and whatever comes next. Not so easily done.

    The Republican death march……death of the Republican Party. Can’t say they weren’t warned. They just didn’t want to hear it. Now its really too late

  12. Honesty about racism is not on the table for discussion, its to useful as a political tool.

  13. Good one today from Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac”. The subject of one entry is writer PRIMO LEVI, born in Turin, Italy, in 1919. Levi had plenty of Holocaust experience. Keillor says, “He was deeply concerned with people’s ability to remain passive in the face of injustice.” The Levi quote that Keillor closed with is eerily pertinent for us right now: “Monsters exist, but they are too few in numbers to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are [those] ready to believe and act without asking questions.” You may wish to listen or subscribe to “The Writer’s Almanac”.

  14. Personally, I don’t care where or if my candidates for office go to church, temple or mosque. I am bargaining for their ideas and proposed policies in governance, not some Bronze Age philosoply or some one of its offshoots. The same applies to gender, sexual orientation etc. After all, my favorite economist of all time, John Maynard Keynes, was a homosexual who became enamoured with a Russian ballerina and, to the astonishment of his friends, married her. Apparently he as well paid little regard for such inconvenient and meaningless distinctions, and however he spent nights, he was a brilliant economist daytimes.

    Thus Ossoff’s nose and its size are immaterial; it is his brain and ideas on governance that count, that and the truth that his opponent is a crook who plays the stock market from the inside, as did the other Republican candidate for the Senate from Georgia this year, whose defeats I hope happen come November. It’s not often two Senate seats are up the same year in the same state and that, along with the fact that this is a decennial year and we need heavy down ballot voting to thwart Republican gerrymandering should, I hope, cause those breathing to vacate the couch and go to the polls. Vern often and rightly complains that we have millions of citizens who don’t bother to vote. They are fined in Australia; perhaps here we will have to threaten a removal of their citizenship, and why not? They’re not playing citizen anywhoo. Uh. .

  15. It doesn’t surprise me at all – but then again

    I get annoyed when I am told that I am “white” – the more accurate description, back in the day, by a “black” student (the term at the time) was that I was lucky I could “pass”
    I also found my government employment application from the ’70’s – “race” was an “optional” question – I put Hebrew

    Georgia has changed in the past many years – the question is how much – Atlanta was the site of the lynching of Leo Frank in 1915. White men in Georgia got different justice, but Frank was Jewish, a “northerner” (born in Texas but grew up in Brooklyn, NY), and ran a factory – hatred in that order. They might not lynch Ossoff, or want to dismember and burn him, but how much hatred is still there.

    Paul – Koch Bros. versus Soros
    Koch – activities little know to the public – their efficacy way beyond what is generally believed
    Soros – name is widely known – his efficacy is way less that what is generally believed

    In terms of “buying” the change they want, Soros is a 10; the Koch Brothers are 100
    Liberals are just jealous that our money man is so much less effective

  16. JoAnn…

    “ The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” — Isaac Asimov

  17. Stu; Washington Post, 12/7/19: “Trump creates evidence faster than the House can draw up Articles of Impeachment.”

    And our legal system hasn’t yet caught up with this electronic world, scientific knowledge or medical advancement. That one is my own; it is the wisdom of many in today’s society about scientific knowledge that knows not how to deal with the current administration’s lack of basic knowledge on any subject.

    Attributed to W.C. Fields; “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

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