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The Republicans' not-so-quiet storm in the Sunshine State

Jonathan P Hicks | 2/3/2012, 3:58 p.m.
It's time to make youth unemployment the focus of our national attention

While the Democrats might feel encouraged by the Republican infighting, there is no cause for joy here. The Republican front-runners have already demonstrated that they have no inclination toward courtesy in their campaigns, particularly where Obama is concerned. The Republican primary in Florida has made clear that the country is in for a fall campaign that, whoever the nominee is, will leave no stone unturned in demonizing the nation's first African-American president.

If the nominee is Romney, it's clear that he will spend obscene sums of money to attack Obama, despite his own spotty record of failing to offer any sensible vision for the country. If it is Gingrich, we should be prepared for a campaign that will rival the presidential campaigns of George Wallace in its appeal to the fears and insensitivities of Southern white Americans. It is symbolic of how base and how low the level of political discourse has dropped in this country by politicians who are only too happy to stoke irrational fears in the age of Obama.

This week, Gingrich offered another racially coded criticism of Obama, calling him the "entertainer in chief." This was a clear reference to the president's performance of a line from the Al Green hit "Let's Stay Together" at a fundraiser in Harlem. But, in fact, it's the Republican front-runners who need to start singing a different tune. As a nation, we deserve far better than the road show we've witnessed thus far.