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May 5, 2010

'DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A TERRORIST?'.... If you missed it, this campaign ad from Republican Dan Fanelli, hoping to take on Rep. Alan Grayson (D) in Florida this year, is one of the more startling commercials of the year so far.

If you can't watch clips from your work computer, the spot shows Fanelli standing next to a white guy. Looking into the camera, the Republican asks, "Does this look like a terrorist?" He then stands next to a big, darker guy and ads, "Or this"? Fanelli concludes that if someone who looked like him "was flying airplanes into the Twin Towers, I'd have no problem being pulled out of line at the airport."

It is, in other words, a campaign ad for a congressional candidate who wants to go to Washington to fight in support of racial profiling. That's not just some random position he articulated in a questionnaire; this is Fanelli's platform.

The first thing that jumped out at me about this ad? Fanelli argues that people who look like him -- middle-aged, balding white guy -- don't fly airplanes into buildings, and therefore shouldn't have to endure security screenings at airports. That's idiotic on its face, but it's especially disconnected to reality now -- did the Republican not hear about the middle-aged, balding white guy, who looks quite a bit like Fanelli, who recently flew an airplane into a building?

For that matter, I can only hope someone would show Fanelli a picture of Timothy McVeigh and ask, "Does this look like a terrorist?"

As for the substance, this guy has no idea what he's talking about. Adam Serwer explained, "[R]acial profiling isn't any more effective than random screening. So rather than making anyone safer, you're just alienating the communities a former CIA analyst and chief of intelligence analysis for the Department of Homeland Security under the Bush administration has said are themselves 'the only way' to really counter domestic radicalization."

I can't say whether Fanelli has a chance at winning his race and joining the House Republican caucus, but he's certainly has a chance at winning an award for creating one of the year's most offensive ads.

Steve Benen 4:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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Comments

That is so repulsive I just don't know what to say. And Floridians put up with this?

Posted by: whichwitch on May 5, 2010 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'd call that 'over the line'. No dog whistle necessary.

Posted by: MattF on May 5, 2010 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Where have you guys been? Don't you realize most Republicans are wildly in favor of racial profiling? This idiot reflects the views of probably fifty million American voters. And where did they get those views? Can you say F...Fo..Fox?

Posted by: dalloway on May 5, 2010 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Alan Grayson is gonna rip this guy a new asshole!!!

Posted by: Patrick on May 5, 2010 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

That's got to be the shittiest political ad I've ever seen. Sure, it's offensive and dumb, but I don't see how it's even moderately effective. My only guess is that he's on a shoestring budget and was hoping that the backlash it would inspire would itself get a back-backlash from conservatives, who will throw money at him to show their anger at all the people attacking him.

As for racial profiling, I think he's right. We just need to profile against all the people who have tried to attack us and leave everyone else alone. So as long as we profile against Arabs, Hispanics, Blacks, and White people, as well as anyone who looks like they belong in any of these groups, it'd be a good start. Then we just need to be attacked by an Asian and a Native American and we should have our rainbow coalition of enemies complete.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 5, 2010 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

dear lord, is this because of all the attention the idiots in AZ have been stealing from Florida lately?
it's trainwreck leapfrog.

Posted by: andyvillager on May 5, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

WTF? By "invasion of our privacy" does he mean airport screening? Is THAT what he's arguing? Only check the non-white guys? Not only is it appalling, it is confusing. Wonder if the local Fox Affiliate will run it?

Posted by: martin on May 5, 2010 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Note how the advocacy of racial profiling connects the War on Terror & the demand for mass deportation of Hispanic undocumented immigrants. The same people are involved (e.g., Kris Kobach). At what point does this become frank racial nationalism?

Posted by: K on May 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to know who the guy playing the "big, darker guy" is, and if he's in any way of Middle Eastern descent why he'd agree to appear in this blatantly racist trash. Even Lee Atwater would probably blanch at this.

Posted by: electrolite on May 5, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Two Words : Jihad Jane. Profile that

Posted by: john R on May 5, 2010 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Dalloway - Yes, we've all known that these bigots support racial profiling. It's just stunning to see it so blatantly displayed in a political ad. If Grayson doesn't use it to bury the guy, he doesn't deserve to win. I doubt that'll be a problem. This guy just dug his own grave.

But I don't think Fox created racism. These people wanted to keep out immigrants since the moment after their forefathers stepped off the boat. Fox News taps into the hate; they don't create it. This stuff wouldn't work if it wasn't already there.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 5, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

All I can muster is "god damn!"

Posted by: chrenson on May 5, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

The blatant racism pouring forth from Republican officials and candidates this season makes George Allen's "macaca" moment seem tame and quaint.

The most disturbing thing in all this is observing the Republican push to re-introduce racism as an acceptable practice back into the fold of the American mainstream, and it certainly seems to be working.

Posted by: June on May 5, 2010 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to know who the guy playing the "big, darker guy" is...

Yeah, I was wondering about that too. Maybe he doesn't speak English or he's deaf or something.

I'd love to see the auditions, in which the first ten guys belted Fanelli in the face, and then ended up with this guy, because he just stood there looking dumb.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 5, 2010 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Grayson doesn't make the Dukakis mistake. He's got to go after this idiot. I suggest a counter-ad with a lineup of three white guys (McVeigh, Stack, and John Walker Lindh) and one innocent brown guy (hmm, any ideas?) and say that Fanelli's bad on security because he'd stop the wrong guys and law enforcement has to rely on evidence not color.

Posted by: David in NY on May 5, 2010 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Holy crap. Just wow.

Posted by: flubber on May 5, 2010 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. What a lie. Middle-aged, balding white guys do more damage than tough looking, brown skinned guys every day.

Posted by: Bob M on May 5, 2010 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Did he say 'good looking and ripped?' Talk about creating your own reality.

Posted by: doubtful on May 5, 2010 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

This looks like a terrorist to me.

So does this.

Posted by: joel hanes on May 5, 2010 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

And the hits just keep on, um, coming out of Florida!

Sen. Mike Bennett Caught Looking at Porn on Senate Floor (NSFW)

Posted by: electrolite on May 5, 2010 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Google the image of IRS terrorist Joe Stack. Stack looks like the "white guy" and Fanelli's lovechild.

Posted by: Winkandanod on May 5, 2010 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'm actually more concerned about the damage to our country being inflicted by right-wing assholes than I am about "terrorists".

Posted by: qwerty on May 5, 2010 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Profiling is demonstrably worse than randomization. I no longer have the reference to the paper to hand, but the skinny is that once you start profiling, you tell the bad guys who to send through.

It doesn't help to keep the profile secret (security by obscurity) because all the bad guys do is run various people through security and infer the profile.

Of course, any such exploit assumes moderate levels of resource, enough to buy a number of airplane tickets. But if that kind of budgetary constraint is an issue, then the threat is pretty paltry. You'd end up with single guys trying to blow up propane tanks with a firecracker, while leaving the VIN on the engine block (the bit most likely to survive the explosion intact...)

Posted by: jayackroyd on May 5, 2010 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

>he certainly has a chance at winning an award for creating one of the year's most offensive ads.>he certainly has a chance at winning an award for creating one of the year's most offensive ads.

Yeah, hopefully. The year is young.

Posted by: bcamarda on May 5, 2010 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Good luck Fanelli . Grayson is my congressman and I have heard him in person on many occasions. He will have this guy for lunch. I fully expect a rebuttal tomorrow.

Posted by: johnr on May 5, 2010 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

"end up with single guys trying to blow up propane tanks with a firecracker, while leaving the VIN on the engine block"

When I saw these details of Times Square bomb, I couldn't believe it. It doesn't make sense. Even if it was a frame-up job, the relevant agencies would try to make a better fake, surely. It's puzzling.

Posted by: flubber on May 5, 2010 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

What's sad is, I'm sure this dude and his supporters have no idea what your complaint is, even after you've explained it.

Posted by: Jon on May 5, 2010 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Then we just need to be attacked by an Asian and a Native American and we should have our rainbow coalition of enemies complete.

Pearl Harbor?

Posted by: blank on May 6, 2010 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Wow...almost all of the foreign terrorists HAVE come from certain countries and were between certain ages and traveled multiple times. All he is advocating is subjecting those people who have the commonalities of previous attackers to a higher level of scrutiny. It may be done in a poor manner, but there is truth to his sentiment however "politically incorrect" it may be.

Posted by: throwthebumsout on May 6, 2010 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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