Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Party of NO? The Party of Hate!

As the ranks of the Republican party shrink and become more concentrated with right-wing extremists, hate-mongers and racist are becoming the voices and the faces of the Republican Party of the twenty-first century.

Couldn't be right you say? Must be wrong you think. Sorry to say, there’s a pattern from the GOP leadership and grassroots that supports this position. First, let's go back to the 2008 presidential campaign. There are many examples available to prove the point, i.e. the Obama "Waffles" pictured above and the "Obama Bucks" pictured here.

As recently as three weeks ago, former South Carolina State Election Director and Richland County GOP Chairman Rusty DePass “joked” on his Facebook page that first lady Michelle Obama was descended from a gorilla which had gone missing from a local zoo.

Days later, Tennessee state legislative aide Sherri Goforth emailed out an image labeled “Historical Keepsake”—showing august portraits of all the presidents of the United States, ending with a pair of googly-eyes peering out from a black background to symbolize President Obama. When confronted, the aide to State Senator Diane Black said only that she regretted sending the image to the wrong email list and from her government address. She was “reprimanded” by her supervisors but not otherwise punished (a forced furlough at Memphis’s National Civil Rights Museum would have been an inspired penalty). And of course, all this has taken place after Chip Saltzman’s bid to be RNC Chairman was derailed by his decision to mail out a parody CD featuring the song “Barack the Magic Negro.”

More recently, we have the tale of Audra Shay, accused of endorsing racism hate and bigotry on Facebook. Shay, a 38-year-old Army veteran, mother, and event planner from Louisiana had been endorsed by her governor, Bobby Jindal (R-LA)
to chair the party's committee of Young Republicans. The Daily Beast and other media outlets spotlighted Shay's Facebook exchanges which highlighted her racist inclinations. John P. Avlon, the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics wrote several articles for The Daily Beast about Shay's internet exchanges. His conclusions are quoted as follows:

Collectively her comments are products of an increasingly common GOP mind-set I call Obama Derangement Syndrome, the right-wingers’ version of a virulent strain of obsessive presidential hatred that many liberals exhibited during the Bush years. Symptoms include comparing the president to Hitler and ascribing to him every evil and unconstitutional intention imaginable. It is accompanied by the belief that such a partisan fever is patriotic.

Avlon likens Shays LOL responses and her blantant racist remarks to "the online equivalent of nervous laughter, the kind of passive response to racist jokes that may have once been considered acceptable in pool halls and country clubs of the past." He continues to caution Republicans. "In the Internet era, it offers indelible evidence of acquiescing to something evil in our politics. There is a fear-based paralysis, a lack of moral clarity, which is in direct contradiction to their historic role as the Party of Lincoln."

Shay's responses were pale compared to those from RNC Chairman Michael Steele,through his communications director Trevor Francis who stated simply but firmly, “This type of language is inappropriate, and is not representative of the views of the Young Republicans.”

Well, the Young Republicans expressed their views by electing Shay in a vote of 470-415, effectively endorsing hate, racism and bigotry as the now and future platform of the GOP.

While this pattern of racist remarks goes unchallenged and without consequence by Republican "leadership", one Young Republican objects to such negatives from his Party. “There is a culture war going on inside the Republican Party,” says Lenny McAllister, a co-founder of

“It seems like some of us Republicans are taking our conservative message, mixing it with personal prejudices and racist views, and calling it patriotism,” says McAllister. “You can cover cyanide with chocolate, but you still can't call it candy.”

Elections in 2010 and 2012 will tell the tale of the voter's response to the GOP's message.

The GOP's Young Hatemonger
by John Avlon
The Daily Beast, July 10, 2009

The GOP's Day of Reckoning
by The Daily Beast
July 12, 2009

Bullying Behind GOP "Racist" Win
by John Avlon
July 12, 2009

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