Politico: Rep. Davis: GOP a ‘white, rural, regional party’


Rep. Davis: GOP a ‘white, rural, regional party’

Virginia Republican Congressman Tom Davis said Tuesday that the GOP will have to “retool” after the election because it has become “a white, rural, regional party.” 

“We’ll have to see what happens, but I suspect in urban areas across the country, Democrats will continue to make gains that they’ve made the last decade,” Davis said during an interview on MSNBC. 

“We’ve become a regional party, basically become a white, rural, regional party, and not a national party. And we’re going to have to retool ourselves,” he added. 

Davis, a leading moderate who is retiring from Congress this year, said that Democrats have for now boxed the GOP mostly into the South, though he cautioned that the party’s gains may not hold for long. 

“A lot of what happens will depend on how the Democrats govern,” the Republican said. “You know, there have been high-water marks before where records get broken, 1928, but because of governance after that the South went back to a one-party South.” 

BAGNews Notes: Obama, Race, And Moving Beyond The Webb

BAGNews Notes

Obama, Race, And Moving Beyond The Webb

The caption to this illustration in The New Yorker back on the 12th (accompanying the article“The Appalachian Problem,”) read:  Will Jim Webb’s Scots-Irish populism work for Obama in the hill country? 

In spite of the latent racism and the dripping sarcasm about subterfuge, you can sense the answer in a single line in yesterday morning’s piece in theNYT by Obama critic, Michael Powell.  Writing from Roanoke, Powell choked out:

The Obama of the campaign trail is at once more prosaic and perhaps more proficient.

If you sidestep Mr. Powell’s racist allusions to Obama as a black charmer, a political Miles Davis playing through a mute to effect just the right strains for his white rural audience, and you can get beyond the harsh description of Obama “backstroking in the regional accent pool,” what emerges is the answer to the question.


Well, I think the idea it’s the white conduit that effects the connection is incomplete at best, and falls short of acknowledging the slow, but steady shift in consciousness taking place in America.  On the contrary, I think it’s the historic experience and lesson of this campaign that people are inching that much closer to the understanding we are all “one of us.”

Besides, if the bridging and representing implied in this image was all Webb’s doing, the same “coming around” wouldn’t be happening now across rural America.


Think Progress: Allen on Macaca incident: ‘I should have never called him anything but yellow shirt.’

Think Progress

Allen on Macaca incident: ‘I should have never called him anything but yellow shirt.’

In 2006, then-Sen. George Allen (R-VA) seriously damaged his re-election campaign when he was caught on video disparaging a young Indian-American as “macaca.” “This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt,macaca, or whatever his name is. He’s with my opponent,” Allen told a crowd of supporters. Asked about the incident while speaking in Florida yesterday, Allen said that he “screwed up” and “should have never called him anything but yellow shirt“:

“I screwed up,” Allen said. “It wasn’t an intentional thing, if I had any idea that they’d make such an issue out of a non-existing word … I should have never called him anything but yellow shirt.”

Allen continues to claim that macaca was “a non-existing word,” but the fact is that macaca was a pejorative epithet that existed before Allen used it.

Democratic Strategist: GOP Plays the Felon Card

Democratic Strategist

GOP Plays the Felon Card

The determination of Republicans to get racially-inflected themes embedded in the minds of voters in the home stretch of this presidential campaign is truly impressive. The latest example is the noise being made by the McCain campaign about Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s restoration of voting rights to a small number of non-violent felons.

Here’s the Washington Post‘s report on the saga:

On Thursday, the McCain campaign accused Kaine (D), a co-chairman of Obama’s campaign, of restoring voting rights for almost 1,500 felons in an effort to help Obama win Virginia’s 13 electoral votes.”This is a question of judgment,” said Trey Walker, McCain’s mid-Atlantic regional campaign manager. “Senator Obama and Governor Kaine have assembled a felonious coalition of attempted murderers, kidnappers, rapists, armed robbers and wife beaters in order to win Virginia. This dangerous lack of judgment has no place in the White House.”


The lies here are pretty amazing by any standard. Virginia actually has the strictest standards in the nation for restoration of voting rights by non-violent felons; it’s one of just two states (the other is Kentucky) that permanently disenfranchise all felons, violent or non-violent, with action by the governor being necessary to restore rights. And note the word “non-violent” in terms of Kaine’s actions: Virginia isn’t restoring rights for “attempted murderers, kidnappers, rapists, armed robbers and wife beaters,” as McCain’s flack knows full well.

The fishiest thing about this “story” is why it’s coming up in the final phases of the presidential campaign. The Washington Times published an inflammatory article on this subject three weeks ago, and the McCain campaign refused to comment on it. Now they are out there pushing it hard, as polls consistently show the Republican trailing Obama in Virginia. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Jack and Jill Politics: Chris Matthews Schools Ms. ‘ Real Virginia’

Jack and Jill Politics

Chris Matthews Schools Ms. ‘ Real Virginia’

Hot off the Trail: George Allen redux? Welcome to real Virginia

Hot off the Trail

George Allen redux? Welcome to real Virginia

I just watched the video of George Allen’s infamous macaca gaffebecause something a McCain campaign adviser said Saturday reminded me of it.

Nancy Pfotenhauer, the adviser, told MSNBC that she was certain John McCain would triumph in Virginia — he’s trailing in the polls — because of his support in “real Virginia,” by which she apparently meant those areas far removed from Virginia’s urban areas, where Obama is expected to do well.

Here’s what the AP says she said: “As a proud resident of Oakton, Va., I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia, and that’s really what you see there. But the rest of the state, real Virginia, if you will, I think will be very responsive to Sen. McCain’s message.”

Allen, you will remember, made much the same assumption when he pointed out a videographer of South Asian descent at a campaign rally during his 2006 Senate re-election campaign. He called the man “macaca,” a derogatory term, then said, “Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”

Allen, of course, lost to Jim Webb — largely because of overwhelming support for Webb in northern Virginia. Had Allen won, some think he might have been the Republican presidential nominee today. Maybe he’d be pushing for the votes of “pro-America” Americans.

Nashville Post Politics: Is Virginia Ready For A Black President?

Nashville Post Politics

Is Virginia Ready For A Black President?

Newsweek: The Stumper: The ‘Evil’ Eye

Newsweek: The Stumper

The ‘Evil’ Eye


Pop quiz, hotshot: Whose peepers are peeking out at us over the words “America Must Look Evil in the Eye” on this new mailer from the Republican Party of Virginia?

Not sure? Either am I. And that’s probably the point. 

The mailer hits “Democrats who want to control Washington“–translation: Barack Obama–for wanting to appease terrorists and rogue leaders, so it’s natural that some readers would conclude that it’s Barack Obama in the picture. Then again, the pamphlet also boasts glamor shots of Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Hugo Chavez, so others might assume it’s Osama bin Laden. Either way, when TPM’s Greg Sargent asked Virginia GOP spokesperson Gerry Scimeca whether the photo was bin Laden or Obama, “he couldn’t immediately say.” Based on side-by-side images of the two figures, both guesses seem reasonable. 

That ambiguity is sneaky–to put it mildly. Virginia Republicans could’ve chosen to use a full facial photograph on this page of the mailer–just as they did with Chavez, Kim and Ahmadinejad. That would’ve cleared up any possible confusion. Referring to either Obama or bin Laden in the text, like the party did with “the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea,” would’ve accomplished the same task. Given that they didn’t–deliberately, I’m assuming–I only see three possible readings of the photo:

1) It’s an image of Obama cropped to evoke bin Laden (no mouth, no hair, no identifying characteristics)–in which case the Virginia GOP is explicitly equating Obama with “evil.” Strikes me as highly unlikely.

2) It’s an image of a random, unidentifiable dark-skinned individual–in which case the Virginia GOP is implying that anyone with darker skin (a group that would include both Obama and bin Laden) is an “evil” threat. Still not sold.

3) It’s an image of bin Laden cropped (and darkened, much like Time magazine’s famous O.J. Simpson cover) to plausibly pass as Obama–in which case the Virginia GOP is explicitly (and appropriately) equating bin Laden with “evil” while implicitly (and inappropriately) equating Obama with bin Laden. By far the most likely explanation. 

Again, the Virginia GOP could’ve easily preempted any confusion by either a) showing a full headshot on this page (just like they did with Chavez, Kim and Ahmadinejad) or b) identifying either Obama or bin Laden in the text (just like they did with the other people pictured). That they didn’t–and, when asked, refused to confirm or deny that it was an image of Obama–suggests that the ambiguity was intentional. There’s already a small group of right-wing extremists who seem attached to the idea that the Illinois senator is, in fact, an evil Islamist. McCain supporters have shouted “terrorist!” at rallies; the Sacramento County GOP ran a “The Only Difference between Obama and Osama is BS” web ad. With that in mind, it’s hard not to conclude that Virginia Republicans are deliberately appealing to the worst elements of their party here. 


Talking Points Memo: Did Virginia GOP Mailer Shade Pic Of Osama To Look Like Obama?

Talking Points Memo

Did Virginia GOP Mailer Shade Pic Of Osama To Look Like Obama?

A bunch of you have written in to say that the cropped image in the Virginia GOP flyer depicting Dems as appeasers of terrorists, which we posted on below, is actually Osama Bin Laden.

Here’s a stock picture of Osama, next to the flyer’s pic:


If this is indeed the source of the flyer’s picture, note that in the flyer’s reproduction, the skin is darker, the words artfully cover up the nose, which is faded, and the beard appears much lighter, so that it’s like a facial shadow.

Keep in mind that the chair of the Virginia GOP was the one who made national news the other day for comparing Obama and Osama by saying that “both have friends that bombed the Pentagon.”

Given that, it seems fair to at least wonder if this is an Osama pic shaded to ambiguously resemble Obama.

As noted below, we asked a Virginia GOP spokesperson who the image is, and he couldn’t immediately say. We’ve checked in with him again to ask if the pic is a photoshopped version of Osama, and we’ll let you know when we hear back.


Talking Points Memo: Virginia GOP Mailer Depicts Dems — And Obama? — As Appeasers Of Terrorists

Talking Points Memo

Virginia GOP Mailer Depicts Dems — And Obama? — As Appeasers Of Terrorists

In the race’s final stretch, much of the real sludge and slime that floats to the surface will be the work not of the campaigns but of under-the-radar operations run by state parties and the like.

Here, for instance, is a new mailer from the Republican Party of Virginia that has to be seen to be believed. It hits Dems — and by extension, Obama — for wanting to appease terrorists and rogue leaders.

But the key is the last page, which displays a man who looks like Obama but with the same dark and sinister aspect as the bad actors depicted elsewhere in the mailing. Note the words superimposed over his face (click on the images to enlarge)…