The GOP's 'Black People' Platform

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow dissects the GOP's latest anti-black rhetoric, arguing that inciting racial anxiety and fear energizes the Republican base.

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Newt Gingrich, GOP presidential hopeful (Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Racial politics energize the Republican base, Charles M. Blow writes in his New York Times column. This explains why GOP presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum resorted to hurling racist stereotypes just before the Iowa campaign, he writes. The move played well with conservatives for Santorum, who came in a close second.

As we’ve gotten around to casting votes to select a Republican presidential nominee, the antiblack rhetoric has taken center stage.

You just have to love (and despise) this kind of predictability.

On Sunday, Rick “The Rooster” Santorum, campaigning in Iowa, said what sounded like “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” At first, he offered a nondenial that suggested that the comment might have been out of context. Now he’s saying that he didn’t say “black people” at all but that he “started to say a word” and then “sort of mumbled it and changed my thought.”

(Pause as I look askance and hum an incredulous, “Uh huh.”)

Newton Leroy Gingrich has been calling President Obama “the best food stamp president” for months, but after plummeting in the polls and finishing fourth in Iowa, he must have decided that this approach was too subtle. So, on Thursday in New Hampshire, he sharpened the shiv and dug it in deeper, saying, “I’m prepared, if the N.A.A.C.P. invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” On Friday, Gingrich defended himself, as usual, by insisting that exactly what he said wasn’t exactly what he said. He was advocating for African-Americans, not disparaging them …

Read Charles M. Blow’s entire column at the New York Times.

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