Exclusive: Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy
The Nation Published on 13 Nov 2012 In 1981, the legendarily brutal campaign consultant Lee 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. In this audio, made public for the first time ever, Atwater lays out how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves. Listen to the full audio and read Rick Perlstein's analysis here;
FULL ARTICLE - The Nation: Exclusive: Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern StrategyThe forty-two-minute recording, acquired by James Carter IV, confirms Atwater’s incendiary remarks and places them in context.
It has become, for liberals and leftists enraged by the way Republicans never suffer the consequences for turning electoral politics into a cesspool, a kind of smoking gun. The late, legendarily brutal campaign consultant Lee Atwater explains how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Now, the same indefatigable researcher who brought us Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks, James Carter IV, has dug up the entire forty-two-minute interview from which that quote derives. Here, The Nation publishes it in its entirety for the very first time.Read full article and hear full audio HERE.
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