Santorum Tampa Speech Sets Tone For Republican Racial Divide Campaign

Former Pennsylvania Senator and 2nd place 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Rick Santorum took the stage in Tampa in advance of the Keynote address by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and set the underlying tone for the Republican campaign going forward.  Unlike what the Republicans have claimed of the Obama Campaign, i.e. that it is “class warfare,”  Santorum’s speech evoked visions of “freedom,” “personal liberty” and the virtues of “hard work” in a society without government.

Santorum seized on the Romney Campaign’s proven “Big Lie” that has prompted five separate false campaign ads, charging Obama with gutting Welfare Reform enacted under President Clinton and a Republican controlled Congress in 1996, by eliminating the “work requirement” and simply mailing out checks.  Despite the fact that many more White Americans receive some form of public assistance…such as, Food Stamps, Santorum’s speech was replete with unabashed “dog-whistle” phrases and language designed to play to the basest, racist stereotypes in American history to solidify their base and appeal to White Voters willing to accept these lies and distortions.


Knowing that recent polls have given Obama a 94-0% of the African-American Vote, a more than 30% gap in support by Latino Voters and as much as a 15% gap in the Female Demographic, and renouncing fact-checking, the Romney/Ryan Campaign has decided to double-down on the racial stereotyping “Welfare Message” lie, designed to sway White Male Voters in sufficient numbers to overcome the fact that they have no significant majority support within any other major voter demographic…except perhaps the very wealthy.

Santorum described his grandfather coming to America,… “In 1923, there were no government benefits for immigrants except one:  Freedom.”  Blasting the role of government and extolling “freedom” and ‘hard work, with reference to “God-given potential,” he continued the anti-government ‘self-reliance’ theme, “Even today.  Graduate from high school, work hard and get married before you have children and the chance you will ever be in poverty is just two percent.  Yet if you don’t do these three things you’re 38 times more likely to end up in poverty.”

Of course what Santorum conveniently neglected to mention (despite his acknowledgement of their being “no government benefits”) is that 1923 was the height of the “Gilded Age” when there were no meaningful labor laws, mine safety regulation, water and air standards, Social Security, Medicare, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, job training programs, college tuition assistance…and on and on.

In the South – and indeed even in other parts of the nation – Racial Segregation was a matter of fact and miserable daily life for tens of millions of Americans, deprived of basic civil rights…even extending to infringements on their right to vote (Jim Crow Laws).  If you were rich, you got richer and stayed rich.  The future of their children and grandchildren was assured.  It was an American Oligarchy.

H e also very conveniently neglected to mention that we are rapidly approaching today the same income gap between the rich and the poor and middle-class.  Hell, he neglected to mention that essentially, there was no middle class in 1923.  The Wall Street Crash of 1929 changed all that.  The unbridled greed of wealthy Wall Street speculators brought the whole American economic and banking system crashing to earth and precipitated a World-Wide depression and massive unemployment for tens of millions of Americans.

Then came F.D.R. and the New Deal and America began a miraculous transformation, where government began to play an active role in correcting the abuses of generations.  Sure, recovery was slow going and it took years of common effort and a World War to create an America where everyone shared in American prosperity…not just the mega-wealthy and their children and grandchildren!

So Santorum set the tone…and encapsulated the Republican Ideology that would return us to the wealth imbalance and social injustices of the “Gilded Age.”  A call to return us to an era where – as under the draconian Ryan Budget – the wealthy investor class (like that of their party standard-bearer Mitt Romney) will not have to actually work with their hands for a living (like Rick Santorum’s coal miner grandfather).   Capital gains and inheritance taxes will disappear altogether and corporate taxes and regulations will be virtually non-existent.  They want to return to “the good old days” of unbridled, uncaring wealth and a system that won’t promote opportunity and advancement for all Americans like F.D.R. envisioned, but rather, hand-me-down hereditary wealth, privilege and political power for the fewest and wealthiest, and for their children and grandchildren…not for yours or mine!

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