Monday, July 13, 2009

GOP gets its John Wilkes Booth on

Richard Nixon should have known his "Southern strategy" would come to this.

Four decades ago, cynical men put the "party of Lincoln" in the bigoted hands of the old Confederacy for the sake of electoral success, and now the South has had its revenge against the Great Emancipator yet again. First John Wilkes Booth, Confederate sympathizer from Maryland, and now Audra Sigler Shay, Arkansas-born moonbat from Louisiana.

In 1865, Booth put a bullet in Abraham Lincoln's brain. In 2009, Shay put one in Abraham Lincoln's party.

In the latter case, it was a mercy killing.

Nevertheless, there is something deeply weird about Saturday's election of Shay as chairman of the Young Republicans, and I'm not referring to her age -- 38. It's that someone as openly callous toward the aspirations and humanity of a people once seen as glorified farm animals has risen to a leadership position of a party whose icon took a nation to war against itself to stop slavery's spread and then -- in 1863 -- began to dismantle slavery itself.

THAT WAS the party of Lincoln then.

The party of Lincoln now -- at least as envisioned by a Louisiana paranoiac and race-baiter -- busies itself laughing at rants against
"the mad coons," musing about lynching effigies of black presidential candidates and asserting that the president of the United States is some sort of pinko commie who hates the nation he leads.

an updated Friday blog post by John Avlon on The Daily Beast:
Now, The Daily Beast has obtained more troubling details about her online musings—despite clear attempts by Shay to scrub her social-networking pages clean. Specifically:

* In October 2008, in the wake of news that an effigy of Sarah Palin was being hung outside an affluent Hollywood home as an offensive Halloween decoration, Shay replied, returning to the “LOL” style that she employed after the “coons” comment: “What no ‘Obama in a noose? Come on now, its just freedome [sic] of speech, no one in Atlanta would take that wrong! Lol.”

She picked up the thread again the next morning with a clarification and a new insight. “Apparently I could not spell last night. I am wondering if the guys with the Palin noose would care if we had a bunch of homosexuals in a noose.”

* Posting and endorsing a conspiracy-theory video that attempts to prove that Obama believes he can only “ensure his own salvation” and “fate” if he helps African Americans above whites, complete with Barnum-esque captions (“LISTEN AS

* Numerous posts in which Shay says that President Obama is “anti-American” and has “disdain of this country.”

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.
AH . . . the trivial pursuits of small minds. Like that of the Young Republican chairwoman from New Orleans.

And locals thought a city councilwoman from the Crescent City, Stacy Head, was off her nut when, in an old E-mail of hers, she ranted

Could be that Councilwoman Head was crazy like Jeremiah. Nobody wanted to hear what he had to say, either.

Be that as it may, it does appear that every f****** thing is about race with this s***head of a Republican official who, by the way, got her new gig with the backing of the Republican governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. That Jindal, an Indian-American, didn't throw the apparatchik with the diarrheic keyboard under the streetcar says much about the cynicism of the GOP's erstwhile Boy Wonder -- it was Kathleen Blanco's playing to racial fears about the dark-skinned Jindal that likely sank his first bid for governor in 2003.

Then again, if you're from Louisiana, what's the fun in deviance if you can't take it viral? Here's Avlon once again, this time from a Sunday
TDB post:
Perhaps less remarkable than the outcome–new Young Republicans Chairman Audra Shay bragged on her Facebook page that she had pledges from the majority of delegate going in–was how the vote played out. Yesterday’s election was closed to members of the press, but The Daily Beast has pulled together an account of the vote, and the runup to it, and the details are shocking. Some highlights:

* Shay’s opponent, Rachel Hoff, was the subject of an ugly sexual innuendo whisper campaign that questioned her reasons for supporting civil unions.

* Shay’s electoral slate, dubbed Team Renewal, battled desperately–some likened it to intimidation–and, ultimately, successfully to block a motion that would have allowed delegates to cast their votes by secret ballot, for fear they’d lose.

* Near-fistfights on the floor, and finally something of a boycott, as some of Hoff’s slate of candidates lower on the ticket chose to remove their names from the ballot after her defeat.

“They just took a vote that may have set the party back 30 years,” said the co-founder of, Lenny McAllister, speaking from the floor of the Hyatt convention hall. “They just voted for a candidate who has a demonstrated tolerance for racial intolerance. She has joked about lynching and then claimed to be a victim. As a black man, I still don’t see what’s funny about that.”

The Daily Beast’s revelations about the 38-year-old Shay over the past week–most notably, her positive response eight minutes after a friend likened the Obama administration to “a bunch of coons”–hovered over the convention, according to participants. "The convention was chaos because of the controversy," said one delegate. Her younger opponent, Rachel Hoff, became the reform alternative to Shay’s candidacy, but as Hoff got traction, an ugly online whisper campaign against her began. An anonymously built temporary Web site mentions Hoff’s alleged involvement in improperly notarized absentee ballots for South Dakota Senator John Thune, but quickly stoops lower. Hoff’s support for same-sex civil unions seems to be the real scandal, expressed in lil’ Lee Atwater tones:
Unfortunately, it doesn't end there with Hoff: As one of only a very few Young Republicans nationwide in favor of Civil Unions, Rachel Hoff attempted to convince the YRNF in 2007 to adopt a stance IN FAVOR OF CIVIL UNIONS. Although Rachel was not wearing a dress like her female counterparts, but her typical suite (sic), her attempt was met with ridicule and frustration. It was overwhelmingly shot down and left the idea in many delegates minds of: Why would Rachel Hoff support Civil Unions?
Note the all-caps for her stand IN FAVOR OF CIVIL UNIONS, a brave stance entirely consistent with the party’s stated belief in individual freedom (and well short of conservative icon Dick Cheney’s support for gay marriage). And then there’s the weird 1920’s-era anti-feminist dig at her for “not wearing a dress like her female counterparts.” And the last sentence, with all the subtlety of a Tom DeLay sledgehammer. It’s an exceptionally ugly piece of insinuation and propaganda.
WHEN IT COMES to politics, irony picks up where logic and positional consistency leave off. Gee, if only Shay's people could have portrayed Hoff as a lib'rul, dyke Negress, maybe their gal coulda scored a landslide.

Sometime around 1972, Nixon and the bosses of the GOP decided Honest Abe was for suckers, and they laid the party down with Bull Connor's police dogs to turn the "Solid South" from Democrat to Republican.
It worked for a while.

But the fleas it picked up in Louisiana are going to be a killer.

1 comment:

oyster said...

Fine title. Excellent post.