Excusing Republicans

May 5th, 2010

Something I’m hearing a lot is people excusing Republicans for the Arizona immigration law because a few Republicans are speaking out against it. For example, take this diversion by Jake Tapper from This Week:

To be fair, to conservatives, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a conservative Republican, and Florida Congressman Connie Mack have had some tough words about parts of this law … these are conservative Republicans, nobody would question Bob McDonnell’s bona fides as a conservative, and they are voicing serious concern about those laws.

Tapper, who leans to the right himself, said this as the conservatives at the table nodded sagely and voiced assent. But the whole claim is BS, frankly. Think about it: if a Democratic legislature in a Democratic state passed a bill banning guns, and a Democratic governor signed it into law while a large majority of Democrats across the country approved, would conservatives agree that Democrats were not responsible just because Brian Schweitzer and Jim Webb spoke out against it? Please.

Republicans thought up this law. They passed it, against a solid wall of Democratic votes. A Republican governor signed it. 75% of Republicans who have heard of the law approve of it, and are the only ones I hear defending it. That there are a few right-wingers who see the true ramifications of the law and object hardly make this not a Republican matter. This may be the right wing of the Republican Party, but it is the Republican Party which produced it, and most Republicans approve of it.

What we’re seeing is Republicans trying to disavow the more radical actions of what is frankly the majority of their party while not really doing anything to stop or reverse those actions, so they can appeal to a broader base and not be taken to account for what the party is as a whole. Good midterm election strategy, but not the truth.

Bill Maher, in that same round table discussion, made a few excellent points about the racism inherent in the law. Imagine a law, maybe based on militia activity, that would pressure the police to pull over white males in pickup trucks indiscriminately, asking them for their papers and jailing them if they fail to produce. Like they’d be OK with that, wouldn’t scream “reverse racism” or some government plot to oppress them, and create widely-believed conspiracy theories about Obama and this is what happens when you put a black guy in the White House. The Tea Party crowd would be in an uproar about that, unlike now, when we’re not hearing a peep out of most of them. No, only when it’s people of another color whose rights are trampled when 3 out of 4 of in the party as a whole give hearty applause. As Maher pointed out, if the large masses of hysterical, gun-toting radicals calling for government overthrow were almost all black, you think they would be treated like the teabaggers are? Would Fox News be organizing for them and upholding their Second Amendment rights? Hell no.

But, remember: IOKIYAR. And being white helps a lot. Not that the two are different data sets, mostly.

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