The New Dogma of the GOP

The New Dogma of the GOP

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Do you really think that racism is a thing of the past? Or at least, just a convenient excuse to explain failures in one’s personal life? Still believe that racism doesn’t matter in politics and isn't being used as a dog whistle for conservative, bigoted voters?

John Sununu, former White House Chief of Staff, didn't fire the first rhetorical shot at Barack Obama by questioning the president's Americanness. We've had four years of Birther bigotry for that. But it was the opening salvo and excuse for Mitt Romney, presidential candidate, to start using it that charge of not really being an American as a campaign strategy. Republican leadership has been flirting with the Birther libel when it's convenient, but now, openly stating that Obama doesn't understand what it means to be a Real American(TM), and insisting about how "foreign" his entire mindset is--well, it's all now official GOP dogma.

As ugly as it is, here's the way to understand it. Imagine for a moment that you're at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, arguing with those from slave-owning states who demand this "peculiar" institution be kept intact before anything moves forward. But let's pretend everyone decided that slavery needed to end: what are all those freed Negroes going to do? They can't open shops or engage in business. They aren't going to be accepted by their former slave owners as equals in any measure. Not even in those states where slavery wasn't part of the social fabric were these people going to find equality or any true freedom. The reason is that Negroes aren't **American.** They are foreigners, brought here against their will and who have no place in American society. So if you're at the Constitutional Convention, you're going to wind up making concessions to slave-owning states to keep the status quo and kick the can down the road for a future generation to deal with.

This is why it's easy for the GOP, and its presumptive head, Mitt Romney, to declare that Obama isn't a real American. A black man in this country is not truly free here because he doesn't belong here. The hatred against Obama **is** racially motivated, despite the lying naysaying of Republican apologists: the Birther movement is proof positive that nothing the President can do will make him acceptable. Just as a freed slave in the Deep South could never be a true American, he's an alien, a stranger in a strange land that does not want him. He is illegitimate.

This is the proper way to understand what Mitt Romney means when he refers to the President as having foreign ideas. This is what John Sununu--who was born in Cuba, by the way--is referring to when he talks about the foreign country called Hawaii and throws out some red meat when he mentions Indonesia (that weird Muslim land): Birthers already get it but nod in assent. Closet bigots--at least the few that remain in the GOP--understand it as well. Obama doesn't work for America because he can never know what it means to be a true American. It reminds me of a caller to the Mark Levin radio show back in 2008: "I would never vote for Hillary, but at least I *know* she's an American." This perversion was abetted by the GOP back then and it's official propaganda now.

The GOP has embraced an undeniable racism, and it's no longer barely subtle ("I take the President at his word that he was born in the US."). Looking at the problem of what to do with freed slaves because they could never integrate into American society is the other side of the coin about Obama's innate foreignness.

The black man in the White House is an imposter, a foreigner, a stranger **because** he's a free black man. And for the GOP, this will not do.