18 April 2007

Batting practice

There are days as a blogger when you want to take it easy and beat up on some Republican empty suit without having to think too hard. That's why there are people like Indiana's secretary of state Todd Rokita who are made for days like this.

Rokita swung by my stomping grounds last week for a GOP fundraising shebang, and in the process, unloaded some of the greatest steaming whoppers you'll ever hear. Granted, I'm trusting the local paper for these, but as you'll see, these are going to need a lot of massaging to make them a believable victim of the local rag.

“We need to be absolute and proud of our history,” Rokita said. “I think we’ve forgotten how to do that. I think we’ve forgotten sometimes what we’re about and the national media doesn’t help us in that regard and the liberals certainly don’t help us in that regard.
Yes, liberals should be reminding people of the great history of the GOP. But they aren't the only ones with a history-comprehension problem, as we'll see in a bit.

Rokita spent some time revisiting the party’s history, especially concerning the African-American vote. He said that African-Americans vote 90 percent Democrat and questioned why.

“How can that be?” Rokita said. “90 to 10. Who’s the master and who’s the slave in that relationship? How can that be healthy?”

Maybe there's something I don't understand; I'm not a public figure, after all. But it just seems to me like it shouldn't be that hard to avoid saying stuff that is so obviously racist. I can understand how people's subtle prejudices might lead to an occasional remark slipping out which is less than egalitarian. But it has to be something that everybody knows not to do; if you're going to use an analogy involving black folks, you don't, at any point, invoke slavery. It doesn't matter what the relationship is, you're not going to be clever or edgy, you're not going to be subversively "politically incorrect," you're just going to look dumb because comparing black people voting for the Democrats as being enslaved was the best you could do.

This is just the most recent in a long line of hilarity in which Republicans try and try to figure out why African-Americans won't vote for them. They're the party of Lincoln! Doesn't anybody alive remember him? Nah, must be because black folks r teh stOOpid!, they say as they mindlessly vote straight-ticket Republican.

Lincoln, Rokita mentioned, was a Republican and asked spectator Kelci Newton, 14, if she knew the abolition and reconstruction movements were created by Republicans. She said “No.” Then the Secretary of State made what he called a “strong statement.”

“We have everything to be proud of,” Rokita said. “And the reason is because — to the core — this party is made up of more true leaders than any party on the face of the earth.”

Yeah, but Lincoln opposed the Mexican War. What a surrender-eatin', cheese-monkey traitor! New bumper sticker: The Grande Ole Party: We Ain't Done Crap for 140 Years! What Ms. Newton must know, and what Rokita must have forgotten, is how all those Publicans* crossed over because the dirty lib'ruls done went and busted up Jim Crow. But that's not why black folks don't vote for Republicans, nosir.

He challenged local Republicans not to accept the status quo, but to be true leaders, like President George W. Bush and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels because they were not afraid to make the tough decisions while in office.
Despotism: Not Just for Balkan Warlords Anymore!

Now, here comes the Grand Finale:

He noted that some great civilizations such as Rome and Constantine, thrive about 200 years and then a new civilization emerges. The United States has been around for 240.

“It is Republicans under God that will save this country if it is to be saved,” Rokita said. “Just as we did when we founded this party in the mid 1800s.”

First of all, I'm going to assume this is a minor misprint by the reporter. It's not corrected on the web, and I haven't checked the print version to see if it's been corrected there, but it just has to be. "Constantine" just doesn't make any sense coming from the mouth of anyone who's ever read a book. (But do we have confirmation that Rokita has?) He must mean "Constantinople," which is still nonsense, but he must have misspoke and meant the Byzantine Empire. Still, the Byzantine Empire lasted almost 1000 years, though in various stages of decay, so I'm still at a loss.

Rokita may or may not be a racist (8-ball says "it's a good bet,") but what's undeniable is that he is irretrievably, monstrously, stupid. Anybody who has made it through middle-school history knows that, by the standards of civilization, the United States is a young country. But Rokita is ready to enshrine the USA in the pantheon of the all-time powers, about whom he apparently knows nothing. Todd Rokita is not smarter than a fifth-grader, he does not pass Go, he does not collect $200. His insensitivity and abject stupidity are bad for Indiana's image, and that is a hard thing to be.

*The article uses the word "Democrat," as an adverb. This is actually a usage oddity; the adverb form of small-d democrat is "democratically;" when referring to the U.S. political party, however, it's the same as the adjective "Democratic," which makes this, by extension, another example of "Democrat Party." I like Garrison Kellor's suggestion to use "Publican Party," as a rejoinder, although "Pharisee Party" would be more scripturally-accurate.