Questioning Liberal "Expertise" On White Voters And Race ...
NOTE: flyerhawk is one of my favorite on-line liberals; he can be seriously annoying and frustratingly sopistic but I believe he adds more than he subtracts from Redstate and we're all the richer for having him here.
That said, I'm curious as to his (and most liberals') apparent expertise as to hidden racial "overtones" and "messages" in political ads, speeches and even venue selection (i.e. the Neshoba County Fair) for political events.
How come and why are liberals always so certain that Southerners (or whites in general) actually react or even perceive the racial "angles", "overtones" or "messages" in political ads, speeches or policies the way liberals do or think they (white voters) do?
I remember this thread on the Harold Ford campaign's charges that the Playboy bunny ad that the RNC ran against him was pandering to latent Tennessean racism - Chris Matthews on Hardball raked Ken Mehlman (who had a deer in the headlights reaction) over the coals on it, repeatedly arguing that the people who created the ad knew without any doubt that it would somehow incite ... something ... that would automatically make otherwise normal white swing voters in Tennessee go into the polling booth and pull the GOP lever.
flyerhawk commented up and down the thread that we need to "face reality"; that an ad which features a white woman asking a black man to "Call me!" is surely bound to incite racial tension/hatreds and automatically induce the average fence-sitting or non-voting white Tennessean to go to the polls and vote Republican.
I confess that this particular theory simply doesn't make sense to me. Try as I might, I didn't see any racism in that ad or perceive any hidden subliminal racist messages. So I guess I'm confused because my reality doesn't seem to be the same reality as flyerhawk's or Chris Matthews'.
Is it that flyerhawk and Chris Matthews (or liberals in general) have some special insight into the white Southern (or Northern) mind that Conservatives or Republicans lack, or is it something one can pick up from reading a book, conducting studies, or something that everyone just knows?
This is virtually the same argument with regard to the Willie Horton ad eighteen years later. And the claim here, to me at least, is just as ... odd.
My interpretation of flyerhawk's words and that of most liberals who have spoken and written about this is that they're saying that the fact (written in LARGE letters) that Willie Horton was a first degree murderer, who was released from prison on some sort of weekend holiday (a furlough), who then went and raped, tortured and repeatedly stabbed a couple over the period of a whole hellish weekend would have mostly sailed right over the average white person's head - if he/she were from Mississippi.
According to flyerhawk, the Democrat Party and most members of the Press, the only thing that that typical 1988 white voter from Mississippi, or Alabama, Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, etc. would have noticed from seeing that ad would have been the color of Willie Horton's skin.
In other words, what flyerhawk, Howard Dean and every member of the New York Times editorial board is saying is that Michael Dukakis would have done much better against George H. W. Bush in, let's say, South Carolina, in 1988 if Willie Horton had looked like either one of these people;
... instead of this;
Well, again I admit that I do not find this particular theory that convincing - I certainly don't see much of a difference. A murderer, rapist and torturer is a murderer, rapist and torturer whether he be black, white, blue or purple with green polka dots. But maybe that's just me; I'm neither white nor Southern so I may not think like the supposed primary targets of the Willie Horton ad. flyerhawk, on the other hand, like Chris Matthews and most other liberals, is basing his arguments on an apparent knowledge of the average white Southerner's (or white voters' in general) thought processes. But I haven't seen any credible studies or reports (maybe from exit polling?) that support this theory.
Honestly? The only people I've ever seen who have said that their perception of the Willie Horton ad as being about crime or race was entirely dependent on the color of Horton's skin ... are all on the Left.
Me? As someone who happens to be black, I think that if you can watch the Willie Horton ad, and the primary detail you took away from it is not that Willie Horton is a first degree murderer, not that he viciously beat and stabbed a man multiple times over a weekend "furlough" from his maximum security prison, not that he savagely raped a woman (the man's girlfriend) over that same weekend period ... but the color of his skin, then I think you have more of a problem with race than anybody on the Bush 1988 campaign.
But then again, I'm no expert on the white mind like Chris Matthews (or flyerhawk).