Nixon’s piano

Scott Lemieux makes the reasonable point that it’s impossible to know whether conservative politicians who make covert or overt appeals to racism for political purposes are actually personally racist.

Not always so impossible, actually. From the diaries of Richard Nixon’s chief of staff Bob Haldeman’s diaries, May 24, 1969 (the DVD edition of the diaries, not from the original book version, from which it was cut):

“Went through his whole thesis re: blacks and their genetic inferiority and the hopelessness of any early change in the situation. Have to wait for in-breeding-in the meantime just take care of them and help the few good ones to rise up. I firmly believe he’s right.”


Interesting to think about, now that a watershed appears to have passed: as the Baltimore Sun first argued Sunday, with a twin-barreled “amen” from Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman, the Republican Party seems to have stopped even trying to pretend it cares about Americans of color. Appearing in black churches, reading to black school children, festooning convention stages with black bodies, used to be one of Karl Rove’s favorite tricks—not towards the fruitless end of winning black votes, but to at least try to convince socially liberal suburbanites that they weren’t voting for an apartheid party. Read Krugman, Herbert, and the Sun, and you wonder whether the Republicans even maintain the capacity to pivot towards this shopworn general election strategy, even if they wanted to.

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