Friday, May 01, 2015


Mike Huckabee's PAC just put out a pugnacious ad for his presidential campaign. It blames Bill and Hillary Clinton for the poor treatment of Huckabee by then-majority Arkansas Democrats when he was elected lieutenant governor in 1993 (the ad implies that the Clintons were personally responsible for the mistreatment, but Bill had been president for nearly a year by then). The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza is extremely impressed by this ad, though it's no nastier about the Clintons than every other Republican's ads will be, and it sacrifices some of what used to be one of Huckabee's natural advantages -- his nice-guy persona -- for standard-issue GOP slash-and-burn.

But that's not why I'm writing about the ad. I want to direct your attention to something Huckabee says about 36 seconds in:

In Cillizza's words:
Ask yourself who in the current 2016 Republican (or Democratic) field could say the following words without sounding like a total phony: "Any drunken redneck can walk into a bar and start a fight. A leader only starts a fight he's prepared to finish." The answer is, aside from Huckabee, no one.
The problem isn't that anyone else in the field who said that would sound like a phony -- the problem is that anyone else who said it would be offending rural Southern voters. Jeb can't say it. Marco and Scott and Rand can't say it.

So why can Huckabee say it? Because he's a genuine son of the rural South. He's eaten squirrel. It's his group. So he can use a word for members of the group that would be offensive coming from an outsider.

Which is precisely how the N-word works. Black people have a certain leeway regarding its use that we white people don't, and it's not because black people are special -- it's because in-group members always have a certain leeway regarding in-group slurs.

I've said this before here, but I grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood, and when I was a child I regularly heard Italian-American adults use words like "guinea" and "greaseball" in reference to fellow Italians when talking to other Italians. Within the group it was fine. Outside the group, not so much. Whether you like the logic or not, that's how it works.


Carol Ann said...

I am also a genuine child of the South. I also have eaten squirrel. I have used the term "redneck" more than once, but those are not my proudest moments. Too often it's mental shorthand for "poor" or "rural." In today's South, the white guy in the overalls with his chubby wife and tow-headed kids may be welcoming their black friends who join them at the Mexican restaurant. Meanwhile, the investment banker who drives a BMW, lives in a giant house, and attends a giant church votes to send people like Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black to Washington.

So, who's the redneck?

Missy Vixen said...

White people know this. The complainers are simply being disingenuous whiners using the discussion as an excuse to use the N-word.

Victor said...

Our Reich-Wing racists are upset, because the one word they'd love to use - over, and over, and over again - is verboten to them!

And their dogs have heard so many whistles, that they've tuned their owners out.

Victor said...

For the love of the FSM, get rid of that CAPTCHA using food!

Now I want some sushi and sashimi - and it's not even 10am yet.
Never mind that I can't afford it...

Numbers only, please.

Steve M. said...

I din't even know Captha was on. Blogger comments are very hard to manage.

Never Ben Better said...

Food, Victor? For me, Captcha provides a little box to check with "Please prove you're not a robot" above it and "I'm not a robot" next to the check box.

That's it.

Maybe Captcha likes me better than you? Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!

Philo Vaihinger said...

Good try.

But there is a difference.

Marco would at worst lose votes if he used that line.

Actually, there are other differences, too; but never mind.

Victor said...

I've seen all kinds of CAPTCHA'S, but the food ones are new - and very annoying.

Unknown said...

Redneck a n_____ are in no way equivalent.

aimai said...

What strikes me about that ad is that he promises not to touch Social Security and Medicare.He also tries to juggle the minimum wage issue by creating a new concept "the maximum wage...each person deserves." Its a completely absurd neologism but he is clearly afraid of the accusation the democrats are making that the Republican party is against workers and against an increased minimum wage. Almost the entire ad is a rebuttal to a perceived attack by Democrats (and demand by voters) that Republicans stop fucking people over and hurting them. He says right in the ad that his (presumably horrible) economic policies "increased the average income in AK by 50 percent." That has to be a lie because AK would be a paradise if so and its not. But the interesting thing is that he feels he has to make the argument.