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Today in Republican Outreach on Race and Ethnicity… (with a Helping of PR for AL, too)

republicans-elephant-flag-shadowReally, I am not even sure where to begin, so here is Representative Mo Brooks (R ) from right here in Alabama. It starts with this via TPM:  House Republican: Democrats Have Launched ‘War On Whites’

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) on Monday accused Democrats of making the Republican party’s push for stronger border security about race, the Huffington Post reported.

“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else,” Brooks told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. “It’s part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true.”

Then, after having had some time to think about it, he continued with Al.com:

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks accused blacks and Hispanics in the Democratic Party today of waging a “war on whites” by invoking race to split the nation.

“In effect, what the Democrats are doing with their dividing America by race is they are waging a war on whites and I find that repugnant,” Brooks, R-Huntsville, said this afternoon in an interview with AL.com.

“We should not be dividing anybody based on national heritage or race. Rather, we should be bringing us all together. That’s what the melting pot ideal of America is all about. A person’s skin pigmentation is something acquired at birth that has absolutely nothing to do with the merits of the person of how one should vote.”

Indeed, he went on for quite a bit in this vein (see more at the link).

I really don’t know what to say, save to note that a) this will not help the GOP’s image with black and Hispanic voters, nor b) it will not help the reputation of Alabama.

One thing is for sure:  Brooks does not understand (or does not wish to acknowledge) the way in which certain factors tend to align (such as race, economic status, and policy preferences) and he, like many conservatives of his ilk, have no self-awareness of how the structure of US historical development might have sorted persons by color into certain economic strata.  He certainly lacks a tremendous amount of self-awareness if, in a multi-paragraph manifesto of how there is a “war on whites” he can say “I don’t know of a single Republican who has made an appeal for votes based on skin color.”

In general, I want to say something intelligent and helpful in terms of maybe getting some readers who really don’t get how problematic these views are, but really all I can think are various insults (and the ones in Spanish are the most fun, given the context).

I do know that Republicans don’t like it that Democrats have accused them of waging a war on women, but this is decidedly not the way to level that particular playing field.

I will say this:  it is easy to dismiss race as relevant when one is part of the dominant group which has benefitted from long-term racial exploitation.  Still, it is galling when one is part of the dominant group and then states that a war is being waged against that group.  This will, however, play well with any number of his constituents.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. DrDaveT says:

    Am I the only one who tastes the piquant irony of an appeal to “the melting pot ideal of America” as part of a speech defending closed borders? Apparently Mr. Brooks feels that this particular fondue is already sufficiently seasoned…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    Even Laura Ingraham thought he was nuts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Rob Prather says:

    I tweeted this earlier, but I saw a tweet earlier today where someone said Congressman Brooks was “throwing white meat to the base”. Still love it.

    Yeah, he’s making Alabama look bad.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  4. Jr says:

    “I don’t know of a single Republican who has made an appeal for votes based on skin color.”

    I can’t believe he said that with a straight face.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  5. C. Clavin says:

    I’m betting Mo calls himself a Christian.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  6. anjin-san says:

    If only the negroes understood where their best interests lie…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  7. Janis Gore says:

    From The Onion store”

    http://store.theonion.com/p-5531-sticky-notes-shit-list.aspx

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. DC Loser says:

    Alabama has some really whacked out politicians. I find the people there, of all colors and backgrounds, to be very nice an decent. Why do they keep sending these whackos to congress?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DC Loser: because in their hearts they’re not really that nice or that decent? (it’s what people do when nobody is watching that tells what they truly are, and nobody is watching in the voting booth)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What I love is how when somebody asks to treated the same as white men, it is the equivalent of demanding “special rights”, but when a white man is subjected to the same indignities that a black man receives on an almost daily basis it is “THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD!!!!”

    I also like how so many in the GOP insist they aren’t racist when so many of their policies so obviously are.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  11. Tony W says:

    This is right in line with the “Victimization” meme we’ve seen so much of from the right. Christians are being persecuted, white people are defending themselves against a “war”. It is very effective. People would much rather hear that they are a victim than that they hold responsibility for their own predicament. Liberals make the mistake time and again of telling truth in these matters, to their own demise.

    No, better to say that you are poor, mister white Southerner, because of those uppity blacks and those liberal Californians who tax their citizens so high out there in the wild west. Instilling some fear and loathing of those folks only helps the cause. If only we could bring back lynching – those were the days!!

    Your plight can certainly not be due to your benevolent employer’s willingness to play your poverty against that of your neighbors to keep your wages suppressed. Certainly not because the wealthy folks lobbied for policies that keep their taxes to a minimum (but somebody has to pay – thanks again) and prevent you from organizing.

    So, we all know what the problem is – what do we do about it? The best I can come up with is to shine a light, brightly, on the situation and hope our tea-drinking friends find their way – or die off. Justice delayed and all notwithstanding, I just don’t know what other option we have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    And meanwhile, in Kentucky, the Democrats who are looking to unseat Mitch McConnell want to make absolutely certain that everyone knows that his wife is Asian and wasn’t born in the United States.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 26

  13. superdestroyer says:

    Another way to look at Alabama: The Republican Party gets over 80% of the white vote in presidential election. The Republicans dominate in the state wide elections. If the Democrats in Alabama followed the same logics that progressives always give to Republicans, then the Democrats in Alabama would be going out of their way to try to appeal to white males. However, that is not what the Democrats in Alabama have decided to do. The Democrats have decided to double down on appealing to blacks, Latinos, public sector workers, and academics. Of course, no one in the media is going to bother to point out of hypocrisy of progressives telling the Republicans to pander to non-whites while the Democrats do not bother to pander to whites.

    Of course, in the long run it does not matter. The Democrats have set the country on a path of changing the demographics to benefit themselves without thinking about the long term consequences of that policy decision. Mr. Brooks may be a bigot and an idiot but that does not change the direction of all of the demographic changes in the U.S. and does not change the fact that the Republicans are irrelevant to policy or governance in the U.S.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  14. Neil Hudelson says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Yes, and the Democrats tend to lose there, don’t they?

    You can’t seem to wrap your head around the fact that when people are calling for the Republicans to improve their outreach to minorities and understanding of minority issues, we aren’t saying “we should do this b/c they are black/latino/etc.” We are saying it because being beholden to one very specific demographic (older, white, male, Christian) makes for an increasingly extremist party that is out of touch with reality.

    If, as you say, Democrats in the state are not reaching out to caucasians (a premise I find incredibly hard to believe), then they would and should lose votes as well, since they aren’t trying to understand more than the specific voter base they are beholden to. And from my scant understanding of politics, this is true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The Democrats have set the country on a path of changing the demographics to benefit themselves without thinking about the long term consequences of that policy decision.

    The Founding Fathers were Democrats? The things I learn here…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And meanwhile, in Kentucky, the Democrats who are looking to unseat Mitch McConnell

    Did you follow your links to the original article? Turns out “Democrats” is exactly one. I wonder, did this one single person propose any laws that would have denied Ms. Chao her right to vote, as whole legions of Republicans have proposed with their voter ID laws that would negatively effect thousands of US citizens? No?

    Methinks thou dost protest too much.

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  17. Mr. Prosser says:

    Mr. Brooks must be listening to Texas patriot Thomas Korkmas and his Ethnic Replacement worries. http://www.motherjones.com/blog

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Janis Gore says:

    @Mr. Prosser: These people seem to have no awareness that they sound like demented clowns to the rest of us.

    I think these people were invented by Stephen King. How he got them walking around among us is something I’d like to find out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I linked to two postings on Instapundit, which in turn had four links. Links 1, 2, and 3 discuss Democratic operative Kathy Groob’s attacks on Chao’s ethnicity and nation of birth. The fourth shows SuperPAC Progress Kentucky’s repeated race-baiting over Chao.

    Here’s that link that you couldn’t find on your own.

    Methinks thou doth think too little.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  20. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You’re right. The two situations involve people making vile comments. Though I will humbly point out two key differences you are choosing to gloss over:

    1. Mr Brooks is a Federal Congressman and Ms Groob is a state level fundraiser/PAC organizer. So the two are operating on slightly different scales.

    2. The parties reaction to the comments — from your latest link:

    The head of the Kentucky Democratic Party is coming out against Progress, telling WFPL their comments have no place in the 2014 Senate race.

    According to Politico a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee called the tweets “inappropriate.”

    Progress Kentucky issues an apology, acknowledging inappropriate comments about Chao’s ethnicity.

    And from another one of your links:

    As the controversy grew on social media, a statement was released on the Kentucky Democratic Party’s Twitter account, denouncing the comments.

    “These comments are abhorrent and have no place in Kentucky politics. We strongly denounce them,” the statement read.

    I look forward to you posting all the State and Federal Republicans party actions to police Mr. Brooks words. Because I’m sure that any moment those comments will start flying in and that Mr Brooks will issue an apology.

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  21. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Matt Bernius: I was drawing a parallel to examples of racist attacks. I don’t feel any particular compulsion to defend or denounce every single kook who happens to fall on “my” side of the ideological fence, just like I don’t expect liberals to constantly denounce the nuts on their side — like, say, Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), just to pick one that’s a regular source for lunacy.

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  22. stonetools says:

    Sounds like Jenos ( annd his puppetteer Instapundit) can’t distinguish between isolated arguably racist comments by individual Democrats and race-baiting as policy and propoganda by the Republican Party. Fortunately, Asians can make that distinction, which is why 75 per cent of them voted for Democrats in 2012.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  23. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    The problem with the parallel you drew *again* is the reaction of the party in question. I’m not asking you to denounce Mr. Brook’s statements. But the fact that the Republican party doesn’t seem to want to police it’s own when they make these sort of racially charged statements *is* all the difference.

    And your quick changing of topic indicates that you must agree.

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  24. ElizaJane says:

    I read, quickly, through the whole “Mitch McConnell’s wife” thing. Interesting. I suspect that if you dug further (which I do not have time to do) you would find that these comments grew out of something that was nationalistic rather than racist; ie., the situation could have been utterly identical and if she had been Russian (rather than Taiwanese), the comments wouldn’t have ended up being racist. This doesn’t make them good, not at all, but it is a context. The context was Chao’s actions as Labor Secretary under George Bush, and her connections to the Chinese business community which has given a great deal of money to McConnell. I think the implication was that his interests were not fully with KY but were corrupted by these Chinese contacts.

    The comments would have been equally stupid and offensive if you substituted “Russian” for “Asian”‘ but they wouldn’t have been racist because that wasn’t the motive here.

    BTW, I didn’t know much about Chao before I looked all this up — what an amazing and accomplished woman!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  25. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    just like I don’t expect liberals to constantly denounce the nuts on their side

    Actually, that’s exactly what you expect, as you frequently condemn those who have not denounced whatever you’ve got a bug up your ass about on any given day, regardless of its relevance to the topic at hand.

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  26. al-Ameda says:

    “This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else,” Brooks told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. “It’s part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true.”

    Steven, are you sure that this isn’t a spoof by The Daily Show or the Colbert Report? The Democratic Party couldn’t ask for much more than this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. Mu says:

    Mo has more problems, he also doesn’t like it that we allow people to earn a green card via serving in the military
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/mo-brooks-says-dreamers-shouldnt-military-because-theyre-not
    Maybe his next act is to revoke citizenship for the Marquis de La Fayette, Casimir Pulaski or Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Uhhh no. You linked to ONE instahpundit post, and sorry wading thru that slime is my limit for the day. I’ll take your word for it that a SuperPAC Progress Kentucky exists. I wonder how many people are behind it and who they are? Oooooopps I forget, thanx to the wonderful conservative justices on the Supreme Court, we can’t find out!!!!

    Funny how that works

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  29. Scott F. says:

    This is EXACTLY it, Matt Bernius. The problem isn’t U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL). It’s the Republican Party that allows his vile statements to go without comment, because to challenge his views would upset their base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. Mark says:

    Please share some of your Spanish insults.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0