It has only been days since U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) collectively referred to emerging young Republican leaders as "the Great White Hope," and then claim total ignorance of the racial implications of the remark.
Now, a Kansas state senator -- a fierce religious conservative -- has stirred the racial pot again with an incendiary post on her self-published "news" site, Kansas Liberty.
The problem wasn't so much what State Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook had to say -- it was the usual public-schools-are-the-devil's-work drivel. It was how she chose to illustrate the post that has some Kansans crying foul.
Here's the back story: Three years ago a coalition of school districts -- mostly urban, accounting for the majority of the state's minority student population -- sued the legislature claiming they had been unfairly discriminated against by the state's school funding formula. They won, and the state Supreme Court ordered the legislature to bump up funding for schools by millions.
The wingnut fringe has been livid ever since, and a sizable contingent of white conservative Republican legislators have been gunning for school budgets -- and lately, using the recession as an excuse to cut back on all of the funding increases originally passed to satisfy the court ruling. Now, the school districts are openly discussing going back to court.
So, how does Pilcher-Cook illustrate her post? With a photo of rapper Bow Wow, holding a fan of hundred-dollar bills in front of his face like a poker hand.
That's right. Attacking the right of urban kids to a fair and equal education with a photo of a rapper with a fistfull of hundred-dollar bills.
Dog-whistle much, Mary?
According to the Larence Journal-World, education activists are complaining, and Pilcher-Cook isn't returning phone calls.
Meanwhile, the Journal-World also reports -- at the same link -- that Jenkins, who supposedly didn't know the racial connotations of the phrase "Great White Hope," turns out to have supported a House resolution last month endorsing a pardon for Jack Johnson -- a resolution that included a reference to the phrase and its meaning.
Lately, I sometimes I wonder if I am reading political news or watching a cable rerun of "Blazing Saddles."