Yesterday I brought to your attention the dulcet stylings of one Jim Allen, Montgomery County (IL) GOP chair, who slimed a fellow Republican primary challenger (Erika Harold) to the fellow (Rodney Davis) he supports thusly:
Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in (expletive)-cago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires….Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS…”
In my post on this, I wrote that the significance isn’t so much that one guy from downstate is a hateful moron, but that the real issue is that he is part of an institution with a culture and a leadership that permits, some would say even nurtures, such utterances (and beliefs):
…I’m not suggesting, for example, that John McCain or Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell or John Boehner or whoever are sitting behind their desks saying to themselves daily that Barack Obama as a N*clang!, or Nancy Pelosi as a pimp or whatever.
But they and others are leaders of a party that — with seemingly growing intensity since 2008 — has tolerated within its ranks the use of grotesque racial and sexist crap that garners, most often, only the weakest of pro-forma rebuke coming from the actual voices that could shape the culture of the party. If party NCOs (and Allen’s hardly the first) feel comfortable enough to spout as above, it’s in large measure because the Republican party — their own tribe — hasn’t made it clear that there is no place for such words and such beliefs in the party of Lincoln.
Shorter: if you want people who don’t look exactly like you to think that you don’t hate them, you have to make sure your folks don’t say out loud how much they, in fact, do despise the other.
Today we learn two things. First, that someone managed to get it through Allen’s impressiveJim Allen has been well and thoroughly taken to the woodshed:
Allen didn’t return calls seeking comment Wednesday or Thursday, but he issued an apology via the Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register.
“My comments are very inappropriate and wrong, and I apologize to Miss Harold and her campaign and her supporters,” Allen told the newspaper.
Second, some of the leadership of the Republican Party I called out yesterday responded with the kind of condemnation words like Allen’s should earn:
As national media picked up on the comments, Davis and other Republicans — including [Reince] Priebus, the GOP national chairman — called for Allen’s resignation from his county GOP chairmanship.
“Chairman Allen’s astonishingly offensive views have no place in politics. He should apologize & resign immediately,” wrote Priebus, who has launched a $10 million minority outreach project for the national party.
Allen followed that diktat, resigning yesterday.
So — I’m glad I was at least partly wrong in what I wrote yesterday. Public condemnation does not eradicate racism, sexism or any other hateful diminishments of “the other” — certainly not from any individual already mired in such wretchedness. But it does assert a cultural claim, especially on those who affiliate with or feel tied to leading figures who express such condemnation. We need more Republicans to be willing to speak as bluntly as Priebus did in this instance.
Given that why do I suggest I was only partly wrong?
Because the last several years have seen too much filth fly by, too much dog-whistling (Newt Gingrich, anyone? Mitt Romney joking about his birth certificate? All the sh*t Nancy Pelosi ignores every damn day…and so on). Allen makes the current marketing push by our friends on the far side of the aisle less effective. He’s one of 102 county chairmen in a red district of a reliably blue state. He’s expendable. When Preibus and other national figures anathematize a sitting member of Congress or a candidate in the GOP 2016 primary for saying stuff that passed as perfectly acceptable in their circles, then I’ll believe that the Republican Party actually means it when they say race-signalling and sexist crap have no place in their politics.
Still, complaining about reactions to provocations yet to come shouldn’t obscure the credit due here. Allen’s email was the outrage in front of them, and a major Republican figure has responded appropriately.
Image: Masaccio, The Banishment, before 1428
It’s nice that saying this out loud was grounds for banishment (nice choice on the illustration), but I’ll guarantee that there were an awful lot of people on that party committee who have heard this kind of thing from him in private for years and were willing to overlook it until it became public knowledge.
Gin & Tonic
Needs an edit after the second blockquote. Some text missing.
“major Republican figure” Obvious anagram Reince Priebus? Well, maybe.
I think you are still too kind. Mr.Allen’s only mistake was saying publicly what people like that prefer to say privately–he used what must have been quite standard language among his friends (really? “Shitcago?” He clearly didn’t invent that one). Allen et al–i.e. his circle of Republican political Actors don’t think that African Americans vote, or don’t vote for Republicans. It didn’t even occur to him that there could be repercussions for what he said, anymore than if you discuss a dog’s good or bad points you think that the dog will get you fired from your job.
Genie out of bottle! Stuff back in NAOW!
It’s too damn late folks. The pending immigration fail plus the various disparaging remarks about various others have already gotten out. You’ve been marked as intolerant assholes Repubs. Suck it up.
At least it was an actual apology, and not a ‘I’m sorry if anybody was offended…’ side dodge. But you really need to realize, after the fact and flap, that what you said was ‘inappropriate?’
It would be much more meaningful if this pushback had occurred when (as you note occurs all too frequently) an R had insulted a D rather than another R.
Seems to me it is as much about electoral politics as “doing the right thing.”
Illinois is reliably Blue in Presidential elections, but we have a Republican Senator and 3/5 statewide Officers are Republican, too. Granted, our moderate Republicans are an endangered species, and oure Red areas are RED, but the state is definitely Purple overall.
granted it’s but one small local country chairman, but anything that pauses the slouch towards Bethlehem is alright with me. I’ll be more encouraged with the “rebranding” the next time anyone on the R side takes a shot at the local hate talk radio ensemble.
Good post.There’s a minor text/tag error usually caused by a missing or wrong version of a quote sign.
@Gin & Tonic: @DarkSyde:
On the road. (Not driving.) will fix when I can.
Tunch eted my comment. FYWP.
forget about Reagan’s 11th commandment, I just can’t imagine any party official saying something that foul about a primary challenger in their own party in something that could be made public
This. It’s still OK for important Republicans to believe this stuff and to say it where it won’t get out into the public eye. The only real sin is making the party look bad by getting caught.
Preibus’s $10 mill budget now needs to triple, just to contain the damage. To reverse it could take Adelson-type money, and lots and lots of bribes.
If Mr Allen does regret anything about this incident, it’s the stupidity he showed in emailing these hateful words directly to a journalist. Because it doth seem to me that that stupidity, not so much the racism (which his party as a whole tacitly panders to), is what got him booted from his party post.
@Eric U.: I honestly think the Republicans aren’t cluing in to the notion that the rules have changed. Everything written on the Internet can be found no matter how private you think your connection is. They keep acting like they’re still in the smoke-filled back rooms of the old days. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t pathetic.
I’m with Aimai on this one. He called her a whore in a publication. That could not be ignored and had to be condemned and fired for it.
The only things that would have been worse was if he said “black street walker” (which is what the ‘Shit-cago’ reference is to) or the ‘C’ word.
It certainly makes it inconvenient if the person you’re sliming wins the primary.
@Yatsuno: Nah, this is typical confederate behavior: the slow look around to make sure there weren’t any unsympathetic ears. He just didn’t look around hard enough.
These are the same bunch that decry the dad state of degenerate society.
New GOP talking points: “We get rid of our racists–Democrats protect theirs! Senator Byrd, amirite?”
Agreed that this was low hanging fruit but it also gives a benchmark to call on others to be ousted, a precedent has been set.
The only thing Allen did wrong was to take standard Republican attitudes towards large segments of the American population and couch them in language that was publicly embarrassing. He needed to be more like this guy:
That’s the acceptable way to denigrate and dehumanize your fellow countrymen.
partially disagree. now the question can be asked: you got rid of that one flaming, racist a**hole, why does this one still have a job?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Bubblegum Tate: “Well, we got rid of ours 50 years ago. It wasn’t our fault they became leaders in the Republican party.”
I love this painting in my oddbird atheist way. It blew me away when I saw it in the Brancacci Chapel. I guess Eve’s unprettified rictus is a useful visual metaphor for the purest pain across human experience, not just in this religious context.
From the “Republicans saying vile things” file, once again, Governor LePage!
Villago Delenda Est
DING DING DING DING DING
And this is why they fail. And why their “outreach” is futile. Everyone knows what they’re really about, now, and they’re not forgetting.
My my my … these GOPer’s are more obsessed with the ass-play than most gay men are.
@aimai: Well, African Americans in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois don’t vote for Republicans, so he was right about that much.
Apart from its rank racism and misogyny, Allen’s email illustrates another enduring Illinoisism: lingering, festering resentment toward the city by large portions of downstaters. (They even get mad that we refer to it as “downstate” when we also mean northwest and west of us, which I get, but it’s just a shortcut expression.) Enormous numbers of Illinoisans, many of whom are greedily grabbing farm subsidies, Medicaid and nutrition assistance, are convinced that this state would be a paradise were it not for the hordes of black and brown urban people sucking up welfare payments while not working, not speaking English, buying the wrong stuff with their food stamps, having children for profit, undergoing nightly drug overdoses and voting for Democrats so they can continue riding the gravy train forevah.
Most of this is racism, obviously, but a decent slice of it is resentment toward godless (or Jewish, which is the same thing, right?) white city liberals who “think they’re better than” downstaters. This kind of thinking comes along with a special innumeracy that allows people to believe that the state would be a smashing economic success if only Chicago weren’t getting all the hardworking taxpayers’ money and contributing absolutely nothing in return. Of course, if Chicago and its mighty tax base disappeared and small farming communities set the tax levels their residents demand, the state would look like rural Mississippi in a heartbeat. Rockford ain’t going to pump the entire body’s blood, but try to convince people who say “Shitcago” of this.
But, but, but, racism is a giant lie invented by “botsplainers” like Dr. King. Just ask Ted & Hellen.
I predict they’ll milk this one refutation to death.
@Shakezula: For the next 20 years at least.
I think the same basic pattern is true almost everywhere. Rural Californians resent the Bay Area and Greater LA, Upstaters resent New York, etc. I suspect you’ll see the worst resentment in suburban and exurban residents who have to commute to jobs in the big city.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Shakezula: They’ll probably have two days before the next quote. It won’t last long.
@aimai: They might not vote for them but why is a female African American running for a GOP seat? If that doesn’t top a vote, I don’t know what does. I personally think Ms. Howard is a damned fool.
Now if only we could get Peggy Noonan to resign for being such a lying drunk.
There is no fucking way he didn’t know what he was saying – he called her a whore, for crying out loud. He knew it was wrong when he said it. His only goof was saying it in public.
That doesn’t seem to be the case, at least not in my somewhat extensive anecdotal experience. Commuting suburbanites seem to understand the city’s economic engine, perhaps because their jobs are there (although an increasing number of them are now in the ‘burbs, leading to reverse commutes that rival the original in gruesomeness). They may complain about public-sector inefficiency and Chicago corruption…and on the latter point, they’re right, but they should STFU since we’re the ones who suffer the most. They may mutter about soshulism and Spanish-speaking. But they understand how things work, even if they don’t like it.
The truly rural and small-town people, on the other hand, seem very often not to twig how taxation and the voting process operate. There’s a downstater in the General Assembly who’s earnestly arguing that Illinois should kick Chicago out and make it “fend for itself.” Again, bring it. Mississippi north, y’all. After Governor Quinn got reelected, I heard endless complaints from small-town people that “it’s not fair that only two [highly populated] counties, Cook and St. Clair [transparent much? Check the racial demographics if you don’t see what I mean] elected the governor.” Like we should apportion votes based on land mass rather than on the humans who cast them. Hilarious.
@kindness: If only we could Peggy Noonan to defect to Iceland.
What has Iceland ever done to you?
I think it’s part of a deliberate short-term political strategy to reach secular white working and middle class. To get them fired up to vote AGAINST.
That’s what the Medicaid opposition is about too.
Republicans must be seeing erosion in that part of the base.
It didn’t work in 2012, and a midterm election is a heavier lift than a presidential year, but when all you have is a hammer…
OK, Peggy Noonan should defect halfway to Iceland.
@bill d: I’ve spent a lot of time in Iceland. It’s a fine country and I assure you Peggy will not like the reception she gets there. She would probably loooooove the Brennivin, however.
@Petorado: That’s the acceptable way to denigrate and dehumanize your fellow countrymen.
Stockman somehow intuitively recognizes that they are not his fellow countrymen, since that would require some measure of humanity on Stockman’s part. Not sure what race Stockman is part of, but it certainly isn’t the human race.
What really boggles the mind here is that Allen was saying this about a Republican. ‘We don’t want votes from wimmen and we don’t want votes from those N-people.’ He’s several grades below stupid. Preibus and his masters must be wondering exactly how someone that dumb got to be in a position of authority.
Forum Transmitted Disease
@Cassidy: Hey, somebody else here has spent a good amount of time in the South!
Allen referred to Harold in his apology as ‘Miss Harold’. She’s in her 30’s and holds a professional degree. It seemed sexist to me especially given the context, coming on the heels of a misogynistic verbal attack.
I think it is sexist because it exploits an irrelevant marking of distinctions between the sexes. There is no honorific for an unmarried man. Men are all ‘Mister’, marital status is irrelevant. But Allen wants people to know it matters with this particular woman. It’s the ‘why’ he thinks it matters is important. It’s a way of putting Harold in a subordinate position.
Even when he’s apologizing, he’s still sneaking in an effort to put her ‘back in her place’.
But maybe I read too much into that.
I wonder how many single professional women thought it sexist and condescending. My experience as a middle-aged male is that women, and single professional women especially, do not like it when they are addressed as ‘Miss’, especially in professional or public venues. Personally, I use ‘Ms.’ exclusively. The ones who do want to be addressed as ‘Miss’ (and there have been a few — a very few) they correct me immediately after I address them as ‘Ms’. I’m fine with that.
But publicly referring to a professional woman as ‘Miss So-and-so’ and doing it while apologizing for one’s earlier sexist remarks? Isn’t it sort of like saying, “I am sure sorry I offended the little lady.”?
@johnny aquitard: The dude is a motherfucking racist, sexist asshole. You think he gave any thought to that?
Not at all. The Republicans are more than happy to take votes from anyone who’s dumb enough to vote for them. What they aren’t willing to do is to change core policies to attract those votes. If your core policy is to keep the right kind of people in charge and Those People down on the plantation, it does you no good to try attracting votes by letting one of Those People onto the ballot.
@johnny aquitard: You are right. I hate it — especially when my boss refers to me in that way to others when I’m standing right there. I have asked him not to, even going so far as to say that I am neither young enough nor old enough to be addressed that way. It will never stop.
It may not have been great but I’ve still had a better week than Paula Deen.
Here is a video by Good Graeff, Hold Me Fast. Lots of cello and colored powder.
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
@Forum Transmitted Disease:
Heh. That sort of thing isn’t limited to Dixie.
The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion
Don’t mean to go offtopic, but have any of the front pagers addressed the closing and public apology by Exodus International? If not, can we?
Nope. I’d say you’re about spot on.
@The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion: Kind of thought it got enough coverage across the likely reading diet of this commentariat. But I’ll try to get a pointer up if I can grab some time from peering at my book proposal wondering why it isn’t done yet.
You can be sure that a healthy percentage of GOP voters would tell you he was crucified on the “politically correct” altar of liberal ‘Murica.
@Tom Levenson: Perhaps you can point to AL’s post on it.
@The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion: actually there was a thread a couple of days back methinks
@raven: Of course he didn’t give any thought to it.
But that wasn’t my point.
People like Allen are what they are and they leak. They just can’t stop it from coming out even in the seemingly little things.
I think his choice of ‘Miss’ was one of those leaks — bigot autopilot is on. I think ‘Miss’ implies young and available, and that implies a whole bunch of other things, none of which has anything to do with the price of brass tacks in Moscow.
I have seen a few women make a point on being addressed as ‘Miss’ rather than ‘Ms’ and they see no slight in this. Perhaps by insisting on being called ‘Miss’ they see it as empowering themselves. I suppose they are, in that they are choosing how to be addressed. But it’s kinda odd to insist on the honorific male chauvinists would give you anyways. That’ll show ’em who’s the boss of me, right?
I’m wondering how many didn’t think Allen’s use of ‘Miss’ in the apology is what I see it as: the inner condescending sexist asshole leaking out.
@johnny aquitard: Ah, you thought about it a LOT more than I did!
Yeah … next let’s hear them call out Rush when he makes some vile racist or sexist remarks.
@Gindy51: Sure, I think any woman who puts prudishness and sexual or religious hysteria above thinking about the welfare of her potential constituents is a fool–she should be right at home in the Republican party. But her candidacy isn’t any different, for them, than any other candidacy. If they think she can get over on the middling white Republican voter they should be pushing her candidacy as hard as they did their other tokens of diversity like (in their day)…uh…those other AA Republicans. Priebus realizes that who fills any individual seat doesn’t matter but that’s because he’s looking at this globally. The local guy does care, because that seat represents graft and power to him. This is really a struggle between the national republican party and the local one. The local one can exist quite happilly without ever trying to broaden its appeal, even symbolically. The national one realizes it has to at least pretend to keep reaching out to some imaginary non racist/republican curious/soccer mom.
Super late but THANK YOU for that painting. I’d never seen it and am stunned. So glad to be introduced.
Quick definition of “Republican outreach”:
The GOP sticks out its (Far) right hand.
You stick out yours to shake it–
–& it goes (Far) right past yours, buries itself in your pocket, & emerges with your wallet tightly gripped.