(But do they have a full deck?)
The GOP’s not-so-subtle play of the race card in the 2012 campaign has just become three of a kind. It’s been their game since the 2008 election handed the White House to someone who wasn’t white male.
They played their first card in the president’s first month in the White House. In the spirit of bipartisanship he offered to meet with House Republicans to explore issues of common interest. How audacious of a black boy in the White House to think they’d be open-minded! They met all right, but in a vote taken in advance, the Republicans voted unanimously to reject anything he might propose.
In the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky gave the same card another flourish. With no reservations whatsoever, he said his agenda had only one aim: to make sure the black boy in the White House served only one term.
In light of such partisan posturing, one can only wonder whether the voters have forsaken the principle that in a democracy the first duty of every elected official is to serve the greater good.
The Republicans’ second race card has been the steady drumbeat denying the validity of the president’s Hawaiian birth certificate. Its sole intent is to tweak Americans into feeling that the president “isn’t one of us.” If they can’t prove the lie that he was born instead in Kenya, they at least can spread the bigotry that he’s one of those island people that our only island State has yet to fully Americanize.
Now, the third race card is being played in an orchestrated purge of voter rolls, led by Republican governors, who want to deny minorities, the elderly, and the poor their right to vote — wherever they can get away with it. They want every voter to carry a photo ID, knowing that the target groups are the folks least likely to have driver’s licenses or any other form of such identification.
The Democrats could counter by getting friendly notary-publics to walk neighborhoods and punch out ID that shows both address and photo for every citizen who asks for it. It would be an herculean effort, but it would make the Republicans wish they’d never started the purge. But sadly, the Democratic National Committee has not so far come up with an offensive of its own making to nullify the purge. It’s much too late to expect the courts to act before the election. The purge clearly holds the promise of putting Romney in the White House and a GOP majority in the Senate and House. Such an outcome would leave the future of the noble American Experiment entirely in the hands of the One Percent oligarchs and the global players who do their bidding.
The election will tell us whether the GOP played a winning hand of three aces, or were bluffing us with three deuces. It will also tell us whether we’re truly ready for anything but a white male in the White House. Should Mitt win, it will mean that just about any white boy will do, as long as the opponent is a black or a woman.
– Frank Mensel, June 2012