From the Washington Post:
Dog whistle politics. That's what is behind the racially-insensitive word etched onto the flat rock at the entrance to the hunting ranch west of Fort Worth, owned by secessionist Rick Perry and his family. Since the rock is painted over, obscuring the offensive word, Perry can claim that he does not approve of it. But at the same time, since the word is still visible, he sends a signal (a "dog whistle," if you will) to the rednecks in the GOP base. You know? "Never mind what I say in public, y'all. In Rick Perry's Texas, the darkies had better keep to their side of the street."
Paint Creek, Tex. — In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance.
“Niggerhead,” it read.
But the name of this particular parcel did not change for years after it became associated with Rick Perry, first as a private citizen, then as a state official and finally as Texas governor. Some locals still call it that. As recently as this summer, the slablike rock — lying flat, the name still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint — remained by the gated entrance to the camp.
When asked last week, Perry said the word on the rock is an “offensive name that has no place in the modern world.”
But how, when or whether he dealt with it when he was using the property is less clear and adds a dimension to the emerging biography of Perry, who quickly moved into the top tier of Republican presidential candidates when he entered the race in August.
--Read the entire article here.
Just another echo of the "southern strategy" that the Republican party cooked up in response to the civil rights movement of the '60s. Over the years, the southern strategy has paid big dividends for Republicans. No one can deny that. But now it looks like it might just come around and bite Rick Perry in the ass.
His campaign is already looking wobbly. Initially, Perry got a warm welcome from a Republican base that sought an alternative (any alternative) to Mitt Romney. But after several debates in which Perry fumbled and stumbled and confirmed public suspicions that he really is just a dumber, more ignorant version of Junior Bush, GOP rednecks are playing the field again. (Chris Cristie, anyone?)
However, now that the media has turned up this painted rock, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, fresh off a Florida straw poll victory (whatever that may be worth), seems to be using the dust-up to offer himself up as the GOP flavor-of-the-month.
Lord knows there is nothing that will raise redneck hackles so much as being confronted about the racism, cruelty, and lack of compassion at the core of their doctrine. Rick Perry knows that well enough. Just about a week ago, he suggested that people who objected to public education for the children of undocumented immigrants had "no heart." The ensuing uproar from the base is one of the many pebbles that initiated the political landslide that threatens to crush Perry's campaign beneath it.
Herman Cain, perhaps, recognizes an opportunity. Since Cain is African-American, those in the GOP base who choose to support him would be inoculated from any charges of racism. (At least, to their way of thinking.) Now that Perry isn't looking to work out for them, why not Herman Cain?
It just might work. Very clever, Mr. Cain!
Oh, and Governor Perry --give it up, dude.