Audio of Lee Atwater’s infamous 1981 interview on the Southern Strategy unearthed

This might be old news to some of you, but many have no idea just how insidious the GOP has been (for many years) about race and politics.  The following audio was found by the same guy that gave us the Romney 47% tape, James Carter IV.

Democratic Underground

Poppy Bush’s top operative and Karl Rove’s mentor spells out the Republican plan to win the votes of southern racists for a generation.

Keep this one in mind any time Hannity, Coulter or any GOP hack tries to claim the GOP was really the party of civil rights.

More background on this at The Nation:

The back-story goes like this. In 1981, Atwater, after a decade as South Carolina’s most effective Republican operative, was working in Ronald Reagan’s White House when he was interviewed by Alexander Lamis, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University. Lamis published the interview without using Atwater’s name in his 1984 book The Two-Party South. Fifteen years later—and eight years after Atwater passed away from cancer—Lamis republished the interview in another book using Atwater’s name. For seven years no one paid much attention. Then the New York Times’ Bob Herbert, a bit of an Atwater obsessive, quoted it in an October 6, 2005 column—then five more times over the next four years.

Those words soon became legend—quoted in both screeds (The GOP-Haters Handbook, 2007) and scholarship(Corey Robin’s 2011 classic work of political theory, The Reactionary Mind). Google Books records its use in ten books published so far this year alone. Curious about the remarks’ context, Carter, who learned Lamis had died in 2012, asked his widow if she would consider releasing the audio of the interview, especially in light of the use of race-baiting dog-whistles (lies about Obama ending work requirements for welfare; “jokes” about his supposed Kenyan provenance) in the Romney presidential campaign. Renée Lamis, an Obama donor, agreed that very same night. For one thing she was “upset,” Carter told me, that “for some time, conservatives believed husband made up the Atwater interview.” For another, she was eager to illustrate that her husband’s use of the Atwater quote was scholarly, not political.

2 comments

  1. I’m sick and tired of all these racists.

    My city has an Apartheid government … w systemic racism deeply ingrained; and then we have to attend w these racists (Atwater) ..
    .
    Depressing sometimes … I’m grateful that we have a lot of progressive groups watching and fighting on behalf of all people.

    Like

    1. I’m sick and tired of all these racists.

      I’m grateful that we have a lot of progressive groups watching and fighting on behalf of all people.

      Me too mhaagazette2…me too.

      Like

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