By MARC McDONALD
Leading GOP activist Grover Norquist caused quite a stir Friday with his racist comment that Barack Obama is "John Kerry with a tan."
But Norquist's remarks become even more offensive and racist when you take a look at the long history of the word "tan" in racist rhetoric and hate speech.
For example, the word "tan" often makes an appearance in racist "humor." An example (which is popular on a number of the Web's racist/white power sites):
Q:Why do white people tan if they get some sun, but burn if they get too much?
A:God didn't want any more n*ggers.
In fact, the word "tan" has a long history in ugly racist rhetoric. For example, the street lingo/slang reference site, UrbanDictionary.com has an entry for the expression, "n*gger box," which it defines as a "slang term for a tanning bed."
GOP defenders of Norquist may deny that his remarks were in any way racist. But America's bigots have long used coded racist language like the word "tan," in their ever-creative ways of dancing around the "N" word, without actually saying it.
Of course, a sizable chunk of the Right-Wing Web has no such qualms and has already embraced the "N" word in its attacks on Obama.
The bottom line is that it's going to be a long, ugly election season. It's clear the GOP has already dusted off the Lee Atwater playbook to go after Obama.