Freeper Madness and Young Republicans: Racism Rears Ugly Rear End

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Update 2: Michael Shaw at HuffPo thinks everyone except the racists should be ashamed of themselves, including us.  He says we escalated the story, and then tweets by Shuster, et al, took it to 11.  I’m not sure how that works, though, since we reported those tweets, and the attendant escalation.  In other words, we reported what Shaw reported, only sooner and more accurately.  Shame on us.

Update:  The plot thickens.  Gawker reports that Chris Parry, the Vancouver Sun reporter who broke this story, was also a blogger for Daily Kos, and has suggested, in the past, posting hate speech and blaming it on conservatives.  This does little to change the facts in this story, as Parry could hardly have pulled, then reinstated, the offensive thread.  It might mean a rough week for Parry, though.  Parry responds here. Two high-profile stories about the intersection of racism and the Republican Party are exploding all over the internet.  The flap over comments at Free Republic and the Young Republicans’ election of a new president make for a sour cocktail this weekend. Most of the heat is being generated by this Vancouver Sun story about the comments on a Free Republic article featuring 11 year-old Malia Obama:

“A typical street whore.” “A bunch of ghetto thugs.” “Ghetto street trash.” “Wonder when she will get her first abortion.” These are a small selection of some of the racially-charged comments posted to the conservative ‘Free Republic’ blog Thursday, aimed at U.S. President Barack Obama’s 11-year-old daughter Malia after she was photographed wearing a t-shirt with a peace sign on the front.

You might think that this is the same as the lame attacks that Bill O’Reilly levels at commenters on DailyKos and/or Hot Air.  There are key differences.  The Sun report says that the offensive comments overwhelmingly outnumbered those critical of the vitriol, but the real problem is this:

After attention from other blogs, the thread was suppressed and placed under review, but before long it was returned to the site intact, and attracted a new series of racial slurs when the original complaint email was posted publicly to the site, with the sender’s email address intact.

So, they knew about the comments, put them back up, and apparently made the complainer a target for harassment. Very ugly.  Eventually, they took it down again. As disgusting as this story is, it didn’t stand to hurt Republicans that much on its own.  Freepers are not exactly considered the bellwether of mainstream conservative thought. Then, even after an impassioned plea by very young Republican Meghan McCain, the Young Republicans elected a new president with serious racism problems

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The Young Republicans faced a stark choice at their convention in Indianapolis yesterday as they chose their next leader: a center-right twentysomething interested in greater outreach, or a self-described “true conservative” who is almost 40 and spent last week dealing with Daily Beast reports about her beliefs, which are, at best, often hateful, and at worst, downright racist. The delegates, in a vote of 470 – 415, chose the latter.

Fair or not, the effect of these two stories is devastating.  Already on Twitter, I’ve seen comparisons of the Freeper story to the Letterman/Palin feud, with liberals asking where the conservative denunciation is.  The Young Republicans story serves to neutralize the “few bad apples” rationale on the freeper story. As a liberal with a lot of conservative friends, I hate to see conservatives get painted, en masse, with this brush.  While this makes them understandably defensive on the subject, that defensiveness can lead to tone-deaf handling of these situations.  While some liberals’ idea of the GOP as the Ivory Soap of racism is way off the mark, many conservatives are also in denial about their party’s race problems.  The truth, as they say, lies somewhere in the middle. On the issue of racism, the truth can be elusive.  I think there’s always more racism, in general, than white people think there is.  On the other hand, I think there’s a lot less of it in the Republican Party than most liberals think.  Part of the perception problem that  the GOP has today is that the Democrats have a black President.  Where else are the racists supposed to go?  Just because most of the racists belong to one party doesn’t mean that that party is mostly racists. Still, when your party stands in opposition to policies that are seen as benefitting minorities, this kind of thing can really be damaging. I’ll tell my liberal friends exactly what I told conservatives who asked me where the liberal outrage was on the Playboy story:  Give it a minute.  This story broke on a Saturday afternoon.  Two of my conservative friends who write for very influential blogs just heard about it this morning, from me. To my conservative friends, I hope their reactions, and those of the Republican leadership, veer away from the kind of persecution complex stuff that Newsbusters’ treatment portends, and closer to this.  This story is already drawing attention from media heavy-hitters like Jake Tapper, Major Garrett, and David Shuster.  The conservative response can be a big win. As for the Young Republicans, I think Meghan McCain’s got their number.

Limbaugh: Obama Eyes Third Term, Made Jacko Die

I’ve never been that interested in Rush Limbaugh as a source of my political angst. People with actual power were always way better at getting me fired up. With the last vestige of the Bush administration, the android Dick Cheney, slowly fading from public view, I can’t help but notice that Limbaugh has been really trying lately. He’s tossing out redder meat each day and I think it’s time he was (briefly) recognized, especially since the satirical Presidency of Barack Obama that Rush reports on daily from a parallel universe just got a whole lot more interesting over the last 24 hours.

Continue reading

Today’s Quickies and…the Return of Quickies

Obama’s Little Helper: Sex Scandals – Jonathan Alter runs down all the ways the President has benefitted from OPOPP (Other People’s OPP), but I was particularly amused by his take on the ripples of the Lewinsky affair, a kind of Venus Butterfly Effect. (h/t Scoop44)

Joe the Plumber is Back! – The money quote is about having Sen. Chris Dodd “strung up,” but I was more amused by his Terminator-esque take on our Founding Fathers, who apparently came from the future to stop communism and socialism.

Is Wall-to-Wall Jacko Coverage “Off the Wall?” – This guy thinks so.

Stop the Presses! Democrats Undercutting Selves! – In other news, Sky Rumored to be Blue.
HuffPo’s (Unintentional?) Gay Porn Headline – But not as bad as their hed on passing the budget, “Government Gets Money Shot.”

What the Unemployed Have to Watch While You’re at Work Dicking Around on Youtube – HuffPo’s hilarious roundup of The Week in Hoda & Kathy Lee, “America’s most useless hour of news.”  Better than SNL.

Religion and Rush

alex01thumbDear internets: Though the bacon flu popped up within the World Bank, where my mother works and where I’ve been hanging out a lot in the past couple of weeks, we are both non-infected. (We hope.) If I start shambling around and drooling, however, please note that the only way to really kill a zombie is by removing the head or destroying the brain. And, as a tip, they can be easily distracted by Michael Jackson.

But on to the real point. (Yes, occasionally I do have one.) Continue reading

Rushing to Conclusions

alex01thumbI heard this mentioned on the news, and I just wanted to say: Rush Limbaugh…meet me at paragraph three for an important lesson in Latin and debate.

“[E]verywhere Obama is spreading Obamaism there is a deadly disease taking place, either in the TARP community or the newspaper business. Obama goes to Mexico; they have an earthquake. Obama goes to Mexico, they get pig flu. I mean, the fact is that Barack Obama is bad for business. He is poison to prosperity.”

Rush. Rush, honey. Pay attention, because I only have enough patience to say this once. Continue reading

New York Times: Ann Coulter’s Makeup Takes 40 Minutes

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As I was looking for info about Ann Coulter’s refusal to curse Sean Penn out in a movie, I ran across this throwaway line in a New York Times story about eminent domain.  The subject of the story, Susette Kelo, was appearing on Fox News, and Coulter happened to be in the green room.  I think this is the kind of “pull” that appeals to both sides:

They watched as another guest on the show, Ann Coulter, commanded attention — a makeup artist required a full 40 minutes to prep the glamorous basher of liberals. When it came time to apply the blush to the other woman in the room, Ms. Kelo said, “I haven’t worn makeup in 10 years.”

It made me laugh, because it was such a random swipe. The author of the story doubles back once to smack Coulter while she tries to get up:

Mr. Benedict thought of other contrasts between the two women. There was a great buzz in the building when Ms. Coulter arrived. Ms. Kelo was greeted as any ordinary citizen off the street, without heads turning. Yet Mr. Benedict wrote in his journal that night that 50 years from now the name Susette Kelo will be far better known than Ann Coulter.

Um, yeah, maybe the day after she cures cancer or something.

I am definitely no fan of Coulter’s, but I’ve thought for a long time that my liberal fellows diminish themselves greatly when they make fun of Coulter’s looks.  Let’s face it, in a gallery of political rabble-rousers, there aren’t a lot of supermodels.  If you put Coulter in a lineup with Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Al Franken, and Michael Moorann_coulter_thumbe, she fares very well.  I actually like the gritty photo she has of herself on her website.

I’ve also dismayed at the gender-based cracks about Ann.  For a group that claims to care about equality for all LGBTQ people, it seems like an odd choice.

So, to my fellow liberals, I know it seems like a tough needle to thread, but you can be the better person and still land a good metaphorical punch.

Besides, does it diminish your argument in some way if Coulter’s bod gives you a feeling up your leg?  Do you think Sean Penn didn’t get some kind of charge out of the idea of being lashed onscreen by Ann?

Today’s Quickies and…Janeane!

What happened to Janeane Garofalo?  Or what happened to me?  I used to listen to her on Air America, and while I teaprty2always found her a little strident, I enjoyed that about her.  Now, she seems like one of those soldiers on Okinawa who doesn’t know the war is over.  And why didn’t Olbermann utter even a syllable of retort?

I’ll be the first to admit that the amount of hostility toward Barack Obama that is connected to his race is much higher than anyone is admitting, but to paint the entire movement, or even a majority of it, that way is ridiculous and counter-productive.  Some guy brings his kids out to the park dressed in colonial garb to bitch about his taxes, and suddenly he’s a racist?

Media Matters listens to Limbaugh so you don’t have to.

Talk about burying the lede.  The GOP’s VP questionnaire is shorter than a Playmate questionnaire.

Politico thinks liberal groups are like the terrorists?

Yep, that’s really Marcia Clark.

Concern-trolling Palin.  Still don’t believe me?

(Shakes fist) KUTCHER!!!!

Taibbi’s mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take this anymore!

Oh, HEYYYYYYYYYL no!