Sunday, November 2, 2008

Florida: Republican Party's racist email campaign

I've recently written about Pennsylvania Republicans' evoking the threat of another Holocaust should Barack Obama be elected president (read here). That email was sent to 75,000 Jewish voters. One signer of that email, a former judge involved in the Pennsylvania Republicans voter suppression efforts, has subsequently apologized, claiming that she hadn't read it closely before signing it (read here.)

Now, from Hillsborough County on Florida's Gulf coast, comes another story about Republicans sending racist anti-Obama email. This time the appeal seems more pro-Nazi than anti.

from tampabays10.com (Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Fla.): Local GOP Chairman distributes racist e-mail

The head of the Hillsborough GOP, David Storck, distributed an email from a Republican Party volunteer saying (that African-Amercian) voters are a threat.

That's because, as the volunteer says in the email, he sees "car loads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes for Obama."

It goes on to say, "This is their chance to get a black president and they seem to care little the he is at minimum a socialist and probably Marxist in his core beliefs." The Republican volunteer says that is because, "After all he is black- no experience or accomplishments but he is black."

Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White says, "There's no place in our community for those types of views." White, who can't believe the email was distributed, says Storck should resign.

White says when he reads emails like this, he realizes hatred and racism is still alive and well.

Storck says he didn't pay enough attention to the email before he sent it out. "Now I know that was a mistake. I never should have done it. I do not agree with the statement or anything else. That's not what we're all about."

Despite Storck's apology, Curtis Stokes, an African American Republican who is also the head of the Tampa NAACP chapter, echoes White's call for Storck to resign.

A pdf of the entire email is available here. The website of the county Republicans is available here. Below is the main part of the email, unedited, capital letters intact:

I SEE CARLOADS OF BLACK OBAMA SUPPORTERS COMING FROM THE INNER CITY TO CAST THEIR VOTES FOR OBAMA. THIS IS THEIR CHANCE TO GET A BLACK PRESIDENT AND THEY SEEM TO CARE LITTLE THAT HE IS AT MINIMUM, SOCIALIST, AND PROBABLY MARXIST IN HIS CORE BELIEFS. AFTER ALL, HE IS BLACK--NO EXPERIENCE OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS--BUT HE IS BLACK.

I ALSO SEE YOUNG COLLEGE STUDENTS AND THEIR PROFESSORS FROM USF PARKING THEIR CARS WITH THE PROMINENT 'OBAMA' BUMPER STICKERS. THE STUDENTS ARE ENTHUSIASTIC TO BE VOTING IN A HISTORIC ELECTION WHERE THERE MAY BE THE FIRST
BLACK PRESIDENT.

THE COLLEGE PROFESSORS, PARTICULARLY IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES, FOR THE MOST PART HAVE LITTLE OR NO EXPERIENCE IN THE WORK-A-DAY WORLD. THEIR LIFE EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN MOSTLY ACADEMIC UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF LIBERAL COLLEGE PROFESSORS. FOR THEM, A LITTLE SOCIALISM AND ANTIAMERICANISM IS A GOOD THING. AFTER ALL, IF TERRORISTS ATTACK US, WE MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING TO PROVOKE THEM.

YOU AND I UNDERSTAND THE DANGERS THE POTENTIAL OBAMA PRESIDENCY PRESENTS TO OUR WAY OF LIFE. THE SUPPRESSION OF FREE SPEECH, INTRODUCING UNION INTIMIDATION IN THE WORKPLACE, INCREASED DANGERS TO OUR NATION BY TERRORISTS, CUTTING OUR DEFENSE BUDGET BY 25%, TURNING OUR TAX
SYSTEM INTO A NATIONAL WELFARE SYSTEM AND ECONOMIC POLICIES THAT COULD DRIVE US INTO A DEPRESSION.

The reading skills of these Republicans must be pretty poor, considering the blatant racism which Storck claims not to have noticed. This excuse is also entirely implausable considering that Storck initially defended the email (read here).

This appeal to the racist right, a message which is not only anti-black, but red-baiting, anti-labor and anti-intellectual, is largely consistent with the message of the Republicans' 2008 campaign. Storck made the mistake, as did Representative Michele Bachmann (read here: "Minnesota's smiley-faced Joseph McCarthy"), of spelling out what the Republicans have preferred to imply with code words like "welfare" and "terrorist". Although unsubtle, their rhetoric flies just below the racial radar of the mainstream media while sending a clearly fear-mongering message to insecure white Americans. (Note: in fairness to the Florida Republican party and McCain campaign, they have both, when asked about it, condemned the email -- read here.)

Storck's email has received the unqualified support of the nation's top neo-Nazi radio broadcast, the aptly-named Political Cesspool (read here), which called Storck's comments "the truth". Concerning his apology, the Cesspool folks write on their blog:

Storck is now apologizing and groveling as only a white man can, and I hope the spineless wimp does resign, or is forced out.

Political Cesspool host and blogger James Edwards is associated with the Pat Buchanan wing of the Republican Party.

UPDATE: McCAIN CAMPAIGN SPREADING 'OBAMA IS NOT A CITIZEN' RUMOR IN FLORIDA 'ATLAS SHRUGS' BLOGGER HOLDS ANTI-OBAMA RALLY.

from The Daily Beast: Waaay Off-Message (by Benjamin Sarlin)

In the battleground state of Florida, one McCain official wonders if the man leading in the polls is actually Indonesian.

In Florida, volunteers for John McCain’s campaign have been buzzing about a discredited rumor that Barack Obama is not a natural born United States citizen, but either Kenyan or Indonesian. That’s not surprising—the rumor has enjoyed a long life on the Internet. But now a McCain campaign official in Broward County, Fla., is indulging in the same fantasizing. Tim McClellan, the Northeast Broward County regional manager for the McCain campaign, told me on Friday that he has doubts about Obama’s citizenship.

“I have strong concerns that Obama is not a citizen,” McClellan said. “Did he go to Indonesia and become an Indonesian citizen? And if so, did he take steps to regain his citizenship?”

According to McClellan, Obama’s birth certificate—a copy of which has been independently verified by news organizations—is a forgery. McClellan pointed to a recently dismissed lawsuit by Pennsylvania resident and 9/11 truth advocate Philip J. Berg alleging that Obama is really a Kenyan citizen as evidence that the Democratic nominee will eventually be removed from office when the truth comes out.

“I suspect the U.S. Supreme Court will prove that Obama’s not a citizen,” McClellan said.

I asked McClellan if he was frustrated that McCain was not making the case that Obama is not a genuine American.

“Yes, and I think that’s true of a good majority of Republicans,” McClellan said, “You have to look at why more of it isn’t getting attention, though. The mainstream media is very liberal and the word doesn’t get out.”

Broward County, of course, was the battleground of the 2000 recount. But if McClellan was off-message in his campaign duties, he was hardly alone. Several volunteers at rallies this week mentioned the birth certificate issue, among other Obama conspiracy theories. Pamela Geller, author of the popular conservative blog Atlas Shrugs, even held a rally in Sunrise, Fla., on Friday to call on the Federal Election Commission to bar Obama from further campaign spending on the basis that he is not a natural born US citizen. Geller made news earlier in the week when she argued in a rambling 12,000-word essay that Malcolm X may be Barack Obama’s biological father. Politico reporter Ben Smith described the piece as the “frontiers of craziness.”

What was most fascinating about McClellan and other conspiracy-minded Republicans in Broward was that they did not seem to believe there was any conflict between their theories and the McCain campaign’s own claims. McCain himself walks a fine line when raising questions about Obama’s past (“Who is the real Barack Obama?”). His staff, it seems, is working overtime to fill in the blanks.

Geller's blog posts about her counter-shlep start here. (I'm getting whiplash from clicking between blogs claiming Obama is too pro-Jewish, like this one, to those claiming he's anti-Jewish. At least they can agree that Obama is bad and the Jews are involved in some way.)

Bocarallyd

Poster for Pamela Geller's Florida anti-Obama rally: "Obama Lethal for the Jews"

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