I'm surprised nobody else has brought this up, but maybe Paul Broun's "Evolution = Hell!" eruption hogged the "Southern Republican Says Crazy Things" spotlight for the weekend. Maybe it's because Broun holds federal office, maybe it's because he has a history of saying crazy things, but let's not forget what happened in Arkansas this weekend, because it is potentially more damaging to the GOP than Broun's rants.
If you're wondering what I'm talking about, this weekend two Republicans in state elections got into some trouble over their literary efforts. On one hand, you had state Rep. Jon Hubbard, who, in his self-published book Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative, made the claim that slavery was a "blessing in disguise" for African Americans (along with saying black kids are lazy and lack discipline for good measure). Not to be outdone, Charlie Fuqua, who hopes to join Hubbard in the state House (where he'd previous served a term from 1996-98), declared in his book God's Law that "I see no solution to the Muslim problem short of expelling all followers of the religion from the United States."
I don't know, perhaps these guys should have stuck to novels.
Needless to say, this is not going over well in the state GOP:
On Saturday, state GOP Chairman Doyle Webb called the books "highly offensive." And U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican who represents northeast Arkansas, called the writings "divisive and racially inflammatory."And:
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., kicked off the GOP's response Saturday by issuing a release, saying the "statements of Hubbard and Fuqua are ridiculous, outrageous and have no place in the civil discourse of either party."Just a little note: Tim Griffin is the former Karl Rove protege who was a player in the Attorneygate scandal (the U.S. Attorney fired in Arkansas was shitcanned in order to make way for Griffin). So if a dirtbag like him is badmouthing you, you really did mess up.
"Had I known of these statements, I would not have contributed to their campaigns. I am requesting that they give my contributions to charity,' said Griffith, who donated $100 to each candidate.
Even Hubbard's colleagues and the ones Fuqua wishes to rejoin are running away from them:
The Arkansas Republican House Caucus followed, saying the views of Hubbard and Fuqua "are in no way reflective of, or endorsed by, the Republican caucus. The constituencies they are seeking to represent will ultimately judge these statements at the ballow box."Why is the state GOP so eager to put distance between them and Hubbard and Fuqua, you may ask? Because it could wreck their hopes for November:
The November elections could be a crucial turning point in Arkansas politics. Democrats hold narrow majorities in both chambers, but the GOP has been working hard to swing the Legislature its way for the first time since the end of the Civil War, buoyed by picking up three congressional seats in 2010. Their efforts have also been backed by an influx of money from national conservative groups.Needless to say, a mess like this could very well throw a wrench into those plans. Which explains the paranoia already coming from the state GOP:
Webb, though, accused state Democrats of using the issue as a distraction.However, despite the condemnations from their peers, Hubbard and Fuqua are not backing down. Fuqua had this to say:
Democrats themselves have been largely silent, aside from the state party's tweet and FAcebook post calling attention to the writings. A Democratic spokesman didn't immediately return a call for comment Saturday.
"I think my views are fairly well-accepted by most people."And Hubbard had this to say in his defense:
Obama-Pelosi-Beebe Democrats, led by left-wing bloggers, have attacked me over a book I wrote in 2008. They attacked me because I'm a conservative and they've taken small portions of my book out of context and distorted what was said to make it appear that I am racist, which is totally and completely false. These liberals offer no positive plans for dealing with the issues which are of major concern to the people of our state and all they can do is to launch these negative attacks on those of us who do have legitimate and workable solutions to these problems. The one thing that scares the life out of them is losing their political stronghold they have had on our state for the last 138 years and this is what keeps them awake at night. They will do anything to steer the conversation away from the real issues and that is why they will try to make me and other conservatives spend our time defending ourselves against their false accusations, instead of addressing these real issues the people of this state desperately want answers or solutions for.
"Obama-Pelosi-Beebe Democrats?" That's one I haven't heard before.
To be a little fair to Hubbard, he's hardly the first member of the Arkansas State House GOP to wax nostalgic about slavery. There's also Rep. Loy Mauch, who has stated that Jesus condoned slavery, that the Confederate flag is a symbol of Jesus and once demanded Hot Springs remove a statue of Lincoln (who he's compared to Hitler and Marx) from its convention center. And yet no one in the party has attacked him.
For shame, Arkansas GOP! You can't treat your bigots differently! That's prejudice!
Anyway, this should be an interesting story to follow. And if it ends up costing the GOP in Arkansas next month, all the better.