Saturday, December 21, 2002

To the Barricades has another post worth reading.

Just remember: It ain't just the South. It's in the mountains of Oregon and Idaho; it's in the sandhills of Nebraska; it's in the central valley of California. It's everywhere that change comes and frightens people and makes them yearn for days that never happened.

UPDATE: David Neiwert adds:

To the Barricades, who writes from Nebraska, certainly knows whereof he speaks.

It is becoming increasingly clear that among the voters to whom George W. Bush and the GOP make appeals are right-wing extremists. There have been a number of instances well outside the South (where the neo-Confederate appeal has been clear) in which leaders of various extreme right-wing factions, from militiamen to neo-Nazis, have indicated a clear identification with Bush.

This of course is not to say that Bush sympathizes with their philosophies. Rather it is simply clear that certain gestures and appeals that he makes are enough to persuade these voters that he is their kind of president.

The mass of these votes used to go to the Reform Party, until Pat Buchanan took over and ran with a black woman for a running mate. That, combined with the "dire threat" posed by Gore's selection of a Jew as a running mate, drove many of these voters to the GOP in 2000. Witness, for instance, the presence of Don Black's Stormfront folks protesting on Bush's behalf at the Florida recount fiascoes.

The significance of this is the way the increased traffic between the extremist and mainstream right wings is transforming each faction. And since the mainstream is by far the larger faction, one has to be concerned about the amount that the poisonous ideologies of the extreme right are seeping into the mainstream.

This trend began to emerge in the 1990s on two fronts: first, the white-supremacist movement was remaking itself as the "militia" movement as a way of gaining entree into the mainstream; and the mainstream right's excessive attacks on Bill Clinton, which often emerged from a radical-right echo chamber. The Bush-identification phenomenon means that the mainstream and extremist right have become even tighter in their associations.

This will become an important factor, I fear, if the Democrats pose any kind of serious threat to the Bush regime in 2004.

Note how Bush distances himself from the Anti-lott contigent:

No bigotry. Lott's withdrawal as Senate leader gives the president the opportunity to renew his campaign to prove he is a different kind of Republican, without the complication of working with a man tainted as a sometime defender of segregation. In the interview, Bush was eager, for the first time, to detail his views on America's continuing racial divide. But just 48 hours before Lott stepped down, Bush said Lott "shouldn't leave his position." The president did not want to give Lott the final public shove, even while his allies were working behind the scenes to force Lott out. "My attitude about race is that we ought to confront bigotry, all forms of bigotry," Bush said, "and I believe the American–I know the American people are good, honorable, decent people. And occasionally the bigot has his day. I don't think Trent Lott is a bigot. I find him to be a, you know, he's a friend. . . . My job is to continue to work for an America that welcomes all and that is nondiscriminatory, and I will do that."