Saturday, March 30, 2013

GOP: Never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity

Abba Eban, Israeli diplomat and author, famously (and many believed unfairly) uttered the quote: Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Well, with a slight tweak, this quote can aptly describe the current GOP:

Republicans rarely miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to make racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, sexist and hateful remarks.

Enter this week's shameful utterances:

1. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) used an ethnic slur for Latinos in a radio interview Thursday.

“We used to hire 50 or 60 wetbacks and — to pick tomatoes,” Young said in the interview with KRBD. “You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.” source

2. Famed surgeon and black conservative du jour, Dr. Ben Carson, stated on the Sean Hannity show:

"Well, my thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality. It doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition."  source

3. Earlier in the week, an RNC official from Michigan argued that being gay is an unhealthy lifestyle — posting an article to his Facebook page that labeled homosexuality as “filthy.” The RNC committeeman, Dave Agema, declined to take down the post. source

Even though the GOP leadership scrambled to apologize, the damage was done. But to state the obvious, there are multiple teachable moments in the long string of GOP rhetorical debacles. Foremost: you can not both encourage this bigotry and suppress the bigoted words.

You can not run from your self

For the last half of a century, GOP campaigns, rhetoric and policies have frequently appealed to middle-America's anger, insecurity, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism and other garden variety hatreds. If you did not or could not neatly comport to GOPism you were aggressively demonized.

Case in point: in their universe, President Obama has been configured into an anti-American, pro-Muslim brotherhood, non-citizen, socialist, anti-Christ set upon to destroy the America way of life; and make no mistake, the GOP leadership has been directly complicit in shaping this narrative.

So now the GOP wants to hit the reset button.

My advice: if you want to change who you are, you gotta change who you are!

Aaron Blake and Juliet Eilperin -- of the Washington Post -- write about the GOP's Archie Bunker problem:

The message: whatever effort they make toward modernizing their brand, there will always be a few Archie Bunkers out there — people, like the lead character in the 70′s sitcom “All in the Family,” who are unconcerned with or unwilling to moderate their tone. And these days more than in the past, their offhand remarks can derail the most carefully orchestrated PR campaign.


The fact is that the GOP has much more to prove (and much more room for improvement) when it comes to minority outreach. And you don’t have to look too far into the past to find instances of prominent Republicans taking pretty hard-line and often bluntly stated positions against the issues which gay people and Latinos care about most — same-sex marriage and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

That recent history isn’t going to be forgotten any time soon, which places a much greater onus on the party to watch what it says and how it says it.


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