Lee Atwater, former advisor to Ronald Reagan and veteran of South Carolina politics was tape recorded in an interview in 1981, while he was working in the Reagan administration, by a Case Western Reserve professor. The recording has been in hiding until now, and has been outted by James Carter IV, President Carter’s grandson - the same person who released Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% video.
What Atwater revealed is truly astounding. Atwater opined to the prof an analysis of how the Republican Party can appeal to racists in an era where overt racism is political suicide.
Take a listen to this YouTube recording, your hair will stand on end.
What Atwater essentially said was that you could appeal to racists in 1954 by shouting the N-word, but not in 1968 – nor 1981, nor now. Now, Atwater said, you have to be more abstract, more coded.
The code at the time, as revealed by Atwater was “forced busing” and “state’s rights.” Either of these codes appealed to racists. But now, or in 1981 (and apparently ongoing until this day), Atwater claims that a more abstract, but equally appealing code word that appeals to racists is “cutting taxes.”
Cutting taxes, he explains, is an economic issue but an abstraction that appeals to racists as it hurts African-Americans more than most of us. How that happens I will leave up to the racists.
So it’s quite a revelation, isn’t it? All of this talk of cutting taxes is just code words to appeal to racists to vote for the Republican Party.
As if they needed a code word.