Dogwhistling the Inquisition

So Perry is out of the race. What a coward. It’s not as if it’s just a matter of not throwing good money after bad. The election is in a couple of days. He obviously just couldn’t face the humiliation of losing.

On paper he was the perfect anti-Romney and everyone expected him to make it a real race. But he was a flop from the very beginning, his poor showing in the debates and obvious lack of basic knowledge made him too much even for the neanderthals. Actually, I think that was his real problem — on a subliminal level he just reminded everyone too much of George W. Bush and that particular personality type was just too uncomfortable even for the folks.

To mark Perry’s departure, Corey Robin reprises a post he did about Perry’s bizarro statement comparing climate change denial to Galileo that I missed the first time out:

Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, famously invoked Galileo in defense of the slaveholders’ conviction that “the negro is not equal to the white man” and “subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”

The comparison between Galileo and the slaveholder was as far-fetched as Perry’s, but like Perry, Stephens defended it on the ground that his position was a fugitive knowledge, a heresy that would one day become orthodoxy. “This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science.”

Other slaveholders (Josiah Nott, John C. Calhoun) made the same comparison; Calhoun also invoked Francis Bacon, Stephens also invoked William Harvey. Their point was that like those great heresies of early modern science, the southern science of race would one day triumph and be recognized the world over. It’s the way the white southerner has always negotiated his contradictory self-understanding of being both victim and victimizer. (read on…)

That’s really fascinating. I’m beginning to think that virtually every crazy thing a white Southern conservative says is really some kind of dogwhistle. They don’t even know they’re doing it — it’s just the politician’s subconscious speaking to the collective subconscious, totally cutting out the middle man: reason.

Speaking of white supremacy — in my opinion, nobody is going to care that Newtie’s wife said he wanted to swing. In patriarchal circles, let’s face it, it’s just one of the perks. (As Limbaugh said today: “everybody has an angry ex-spouse.”) And in any case, they’re liking what they hear about “food stamp president” and telling black kids they need to get a job cleaning toilets so much that they’re probably going to overlook that ancient history. Newtie knows what’s important.

The interesting thing about Newtie’s surge is that until now South Carolina was supposed to be the firewall, where insurgents go to die. The GOP power structure is changing. And not in a good way for the country.

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