Skip to main content

This diary also appeared in the 21st Edition of First Nations News & Views Sunday.

Pat Rogers, RNC Committeeman from New Mexico. Involved in emailgate scandal and Custer-loving remarks in nasty email to Gov. Susana Martinez
Pat Rogers
Sometimes, given the outlandishness of what's said, you have to wonder if Republicans aren't reading from a script slipped under the door to them by Democrats. That's what it seems like in the case of Pat Rogers's remarks about Lt. Col. George A. Custer contained in an email to New Mexico's Republican governor, Susana Martinez. The email has spurred the All-Pueblo Council to demand the removal of Rogers from his post as Republican National Committeeman.

Rogers is a heavy hitter in GOP circles in New Mexico, a partner and vice-president of the Modrall law firm of Albuquerque. He's a registered lobbyist for Verizon, General Motors, Scientific Gaming and the University of Phoenix, among others. He was in 2007 the favored choice of a Karl Rove flunky for replacing David Iglesias, the U.S. Attorney fired because the Bush administration didn't think he was tough enough on voter fraud. Rogers had once called voter fraud “the single greatest wedge issue ever” and was instrumental in getting Yglesias tossed. So he was on the short list for the U.S. attorney job. He has also been implicated in the "emailgate" scandal in which private emails regarding public business have raised the possibility of bid-rigging and collusion.

Earlier this month, ProgressNow, a progressive grassroots organization, reported that Rogers had sent a June 8 email to Martinez after she had met with tribal leaders in the state:

Quislings, French surrender monkeys, secret supporters (all along) of JAJ [Janice Arnold Jones]

The state is going to hell. Col. [Allen] Weh [Martinez's 2010 GOP primary opponent] would not have dishonored Col Custer in this manner.

I hope who ever recommended this is required to read the entire redist [redistricting law suit] transcript and sit through the entire meeting with the Gov.

The email, which you can read in its entirety here, didn't become widely known until Ryan J. Reilly brought it up at Talking Points Memo Friday. The same day, Rogers offered a lame apology, justifying his comment calling Martinez a traitor in various ways as being humorous. The chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico has accepted the apology.

Some other folks did not.

On Saturday the chairman of New Mexico’s All Indian Pueblo Council called the email "racist in tone" and said Rogers should be removed as Republican National Committeeman. Chairman Chandler Sanchez said:

I call upon the Republican National Committee to remove Mr. Rogers from his official capacity within the committee. … His statement that Custer is some kind of hero demanding deference is offensive. We have come a long way in demanding racial tolerance and acceptance in the 21st century. But remarks and statements like those written by attorney Pat Rogers sadly make you wonder if the Republican Party and those who represent Governor Martinez share his views and attitude toward the Native populations of this state.”
It's hard to imagine how any more dishonor could be brought against Custer than what he brought upon himself. In addition to the reckless pride that wiped out his command on the Little BigHorn in 1876, there was the massacre on the Washita River in 1868 and Custer's custom of choosing an Indian woman to sleep with when he was in the field. Commonly known as rape.
White Man Runs Him, a Crow scout with Custer who survived the Little Big Horn battle. Photo from 1912.
White Man Runs Him, 1912
One of these was a Cheyenne woman captured on the Washita, Monahseetah, with whom Custer supposedly fathered a blond child, Yellow Bird. But some historians believe the gonorrhea Custer had contracted at West Point made him sterile and the actual father of the Indian boy was Custer's brother, Thomas. Share and share alike, it seems. Whatever the case, when Custer's wife Libby came out West to be with him, he  abandoned Monahseetah. No Cheyenne would marry her.

It's unknown whether Libby ever learned of her husband's activities in this regard. If so, it did not stop her from spending decades transforming him after his death into a glorious hero. So much so that President Theodore Roosevelt warned Edward Curtis in 1907 that the famed photographer should not include a story in his forthcoming book on The North American Indian that put a harsh light on Custer's behavior in the battle. The nation, Roosevelt told him, was not ready just three decades after the Battle of the Little BigHorn to see Custer demoted from the pantheon of "legitimate" heroes. Curtis agreed and left out what he had learned from men who had witnessed the battle.

Previously, only one man's views had been accepted, a Crow scout named Curley who had bolstered the view that Custer had behaved as a good leader once the fight got under way. Curley was long said to have been the only survivor among the four scouts who were with Custer that June Day in Montana. But there were three others who told Curtis their story:

The three scouts’ narrative differed sharply from the accepted story, most markedly in their assertion that Custer had paused for 45 minutes on a high point on the bluffs, where he watched [Major] Reno’s defeat and declined to go to the major’s aid. [...]

To the Scout’s thinking Custer should ride down there immediately and support Reno. “White Man Runs Him” became agitated and went up to Custer and told him that this is what Custer should do. “White Man Runs Him” relayed the exchange between him and Custer this way:

[White Man Runs Him] “I said, ‘Why don’t you cross the river and fight too?’ I scolded him. Custer replied ‘It is early yet and plenty of time. Let them fight. Our turn will come.’”

And so it did. While scholars knew better, not until the 1960s did the public get an inkling of Custer's true self. The earlier heroic version was promoted by a score of bad films and his toppling from the pedestal in the public's mind was also a product of a film, the 1970 Little Big Man, in which he is devastatingly depicted.

Rogers, who backed Weh in the 2010 primary, has many problems with the governor. But it's difficult to understand why he picked Custer as his choice for taking his gratuitous poke at her for showing up at a meeting she is, by state law, required to attend. Custer never had anything to do with Indians in New Mexico.

So maybe it was just a casual slur. But it's not hard to imagine Rogers being one of the Custer-loving morons who chose to send anonymous racist hate mail to the National Park Service in the year or so before it renamed the Custer Battlefield the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument in 1991. To some people, the man is still a hero.

•••

Deep Harm posted a diary on this subject here.

Land of Enchantment will be diarying in detail today on some of Rogers's activities.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM PDT.

Also republished by Native American Netroots, SFKossacks, and Pink Clubhouse.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Renee, JekyllnHyde, Sylv, TXdem, deben, glitterscale, wu ming, cotterperson, eeff, SallyCat, hubcap, Heart of the Rockies, mint julep, Agathena, Aquarius40, chimpy, mollyd, navajo, Cedwyn, NMRed, Moody Loner, sockpuppet, TexDem, betson08, emobile, RebeccaG, Kitsap River, Marianne Benz, eve, oortdust, BoogieMama, Gowrie Gal, ExStr8, Tinfoil Hat, Jeffersonian Democrat, ichibon, Tonedevil, sap, dewtx, llywrch, YucatanMan, Laurence Lewis, Gary Norton, cfk, vulcangrrl, Sara R, GreyHawk, sofia, realcountrymusic, ivorybill, xanthippe2, reddbierd, martini, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, AoT, luckydog, Lefty Coaster, erratic, bubbanomics, Rosaura, SadieSue, boatsie, ER Doc, middleagedhousewife, kurt, SD Goat, kurious, BentLiberal, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, john07801, Cronesense, EdSF, Mary Mike, certainot, Uwaine, US Blues, SeaTurtle, jnhobbs, gchaucer2, carpunder, hopi13, uciguy30, trueblueliberal, condorcet, fuzzyguy, bythesea, lineatus, Akonitum, jamess, monkeybrainpolitics, Cassandra Waites, envwq, Gemina13, nokkonwud, CeeusBeeus, sagansong, litoralis, dharmasyd, cantelow, UnaSpenser, Denise Oliver Velez, Keith Pickering, jpmassar, rebel ga, citisven, Larsstephens, Railfan, Just Bob, The Distillery, rb137, FogCityJohn, Susan Grigsby, alguien, hepshiba, Funkygal, roystah, Otteray Scribe, Oh Mary Oh, no way lack of brain, Onomastic, renbear, slowbutsure, lady blair, implicate order, BlueJessamine, asterkitty, Nicci August, Ebby, Fresno, KVoimakas, bluedust, Democrats Ramshield, DRo, johnnr2, anodnhajo, Aji, IndieGuy, Eric Nelson, winglion, a2nite, JGibson, congenitalefty, Lorinda Pike, belinda ridgewood, MartyM, OllieGarkey, sexgenderbody, tytalus, scilicet, Glen The Plumber, Marjmar, Portlaw, CalBearMom, Sue B, Jonathan Hoag, Lily O Lady, nomandates, DamselleFly, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, remembrance, weck, Robert Helmuth, Kay Observer2, Jim Domenico, sparkysgal

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site