Baby Steps

GOP divided over whether calling representatives “niggers” and “faggots” is acceptable.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) denounced the use of such slurs “in the strongest terms.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the “isolated incidents” were “reprehensible.”

Later on the same program, Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee’s first black chairman, agreed that the incidents were “reprehensible,” and added, “we do not support that.”

“What you had out there yesterday were a handful of people who just got stupid and said some ignorant things,” Steele said.

Not all Republicans were so quick to condemn. Roll Call reports that Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) both downplayed the incidents.

“I just don’t think it’s anything,” King said. “There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn’t walk through. I wouldn’t live to get to the other end of it.” He added that health-care supporters were “embellishing” the story to undermine the opposition.

“When you use a totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy,” Nunes said on CSPAN. “I think that people have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it.” He said the epithets were “not appropriate” but that the whole crowd shouldn’t be characterized by the behavior of a few members.

via 44 – Republicans denounce racist and anti-gay slurs.

Advertisements
2 comments
  1. i’m so confused by king’s response.

    first, this: “There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn’t walk through. I wouldn’t live to get to the other end of it.” Uh, so it’s okay to yell racial and sexual epithets at representatives because, hey, at least they’re not lynching anyone? what?

    second, obligatory reference to HCR as totalitarianism; just once i would like people who through around words like “fascism,” “socialism,” and “totalitarianism” to be forced to define them (that goes for the left, too, incidentally, who are a little too fond of the F word).

    third, suddenly he becomes somewhat reasonable? “I think that people have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it.” He said the epithets were “not appropriate” but that the whole crowd shouldn’t be characterized by the behavior of a few members.” It’s true – freedom of speech and all that, and at least he called it inappropriate. maybe this makes me a bad progressive, but i frequently think we focus too much on language and what you are and aren’t allowed to say. at the same time, you do have to admit that in some situations, not condemning the more wackadoo elements of your party is the same as tacitly endorsing them. there are actually some legitimate points to the tea party protests, but they tend to be totally obscured by the batshit crazy people in the movement.

    • Seph said:

      On the first bit: Yeah I have no clue. Does he really think that if he walked around say SF that there would be an angry torch-bearing mob? Seriously? Get over yourself dude, the portion of the population who would recognize Rep. Steve King if they saw him amounts to fractions of a percent. C-SPAN viewers, Republican diehards… k that’s about it. And on the figurative substance of what he said it’s pretty much “I know you are but what am I?” Come the fuck on dude.

      second bit: Yeah I get so tired of the misuse of those words. As far as I’m concerned pulling them out is pretty much the same as going Godwin on someone — you’re just admitting defeat.

      third bit: I’m conflicted on it. I tend to see “political correctness” not as some vast insidious conspiracy that is somehow directed from above the way rightwingers do; for the most part it’s just a bunch of individual companies and similar entities making business decisions about how to provide the most broad appeal (happy holidays and etc) combined with lawsuits from sue-happy private individuals. I don’t necessarily think there should be any rules about what you can or can’t say, but there are guidelines of decency about what you *shouldn’t *say, at least not in mixed company. I mean, shocking words can be fun. Danny and I tell each other racist/homophobic jokes that we hear, in part because the effect of using that language — being who we are — provides a level of comedy unto itself and in part as a sort’ve ironic thing, like, oh my god that’s so terrible. Q: Why do black people smell bad? A: So blind people can hate them too. When he told me that joke I laughed my fucking ASS off, because, let’s face it, at the base of it that’s a funny fucking joke that also happens to be terrible and racist and I would never say it in public or in any other situation where people wouldn’t know I was being ironic. So my attitude on this stuff is complicated. It sorta reminds me of when Eminem stepped in shit over calling people “faggots” and tried to explain that he wasn’t making fun of gay people, it’s just that faggot has become a word that pretty much means asshole, dumbass, dickhead, whatever. (there was even an episode of south park last season where the boys went to Congress to get them to change the definition of “faggot” to “dickhead who rides a motorbike and goes around revving it up to get people to notice him.” after the town got invaded by a group of same) That’s true, but the problem is that calling someone an asshole doesn’t indict an entire segment of the population by using their sexual identity as a perjorative, so even though I understand what he’s saying and believe him to be telling the truth and I still don’t think he *should* have said that shit in public. But he should have a right to if he wants to deal with the backlash.

      On the other hand, to borrow from Larry the Cable Guy: I don’t care who you are, that shit that was going on at the Code Red protest crosses a line and is unacceptable under any circumstances. At some point you just have to appeal to common decency and hope the people you’re talking to have some.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s