Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 25, 2010

MAKING THE BIGOTRY MORE TRANSPARENT.... That the far-right would go after Rep. Rep. Keith Ellison (D) in Minnesota's 5th congressional district is not surprising. Ellison is one of Congress' leading progressives, and it stands to reason conservatives would love to defeat him.

More relevant, though, is how the right shapes its message. Jamil Smith highlights a message distributed over the weekend by Tea Party Nation, touting its support for Ellison's GOP challenger, Lynne Torgeson. Here's the far-right group's message:

There are a lot of liberals who need to be retired this year, but there are few I can think of more deserving than Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the most radical members of congress. He has a ZERO rating from the American Conservative Union. He is the only Muslim member of congress. He supports the Counsel [sic] for American Islamic Relations, HAMAS and has helped congress send millions of tax [sic] to terrorists in Gaza. [emphasis added]

As a factual matter, a great deal of this is wrong, or at least misleading. That last line was especially amusing -- if the U.S. government sends aid into Israel, which in turn benefits people in Gaza, and Keith Ellison voted with congressional majorities on the spending bills, so he necessarily has "helped congress send millions of tax to terrorists."

But it's that italicized line that's of particular interest. For Tea Party Nation, the incumbent congressman deserves to lose because he's "the only Muslim" lawmaker on the Hill. First, that's simply wrong -- Rep. Andre Carson (D) of Indiana is also Muslim. But putting sloppy errors aside, what difference does Ellison's religion make?

We've reached the point in some conservative circles that simply identifying someone as Muslim is an insult. Or in the case of Tea Party Nation, a disqualifier for congressional service.

The 2010 cycle will be known for a lot of things, but the use of overt bigotry on the right shouldn't be overlooked as of the key components of the elections.

Steve Benen 9:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

If they take control will the Republicans put all the Muslims in camps administered by Juan Williams?

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 25, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

The people who fetishize the Constitution and its original intent feel free to ignore the explicit prohibition on a religious test for public office. Nuff said.

Posted by: T-Rex on October 25, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Part of the right-wing pushback against "political correctness" is their not-so little problem with bigotry. Indeed, you can make the case that there would not be a powerful right without appeal to people's worst instincts. The Juan Williams episode shows how the right views this issue: your disapproval of their bigotry is the real problem.

Posted by: walt on October 25, 2010 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

-they forgot to mention that he's a Ne-Gro.

Posted by: DAY on October 25, 2010 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

We have a radical Muslim in Congress? He sends my tax dollars to terrorists? Bobby Sue, grab my shotgun offin' the mantle and empty the shitter out te' RV. We're headed to Washington.

Posted by: TeaBaggerSmith on October 25, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

darrell issa is muslim as well, I believe. Once can only imagine that the teaparty is unaware of this fact as I am sure they would have a problem with his Muhammad loving ass.

Posted by: polldancer on October 25, 2010 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Alas, bigotry and intolerance have always competed against decent humanity here in America. Because this overt religious attack has become printed and circulated among our electorate, fear and loathing seems to be winning the day.

Will our friends and neighbors indeed vote for the Crazy this November?

God, save us from your flock! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on October 25, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

I assume that a 'professional' (ie, paid) writer penned the quoted screed- the one filled with factual errors, spelling errors, grammatical errors.

-an example of the soft bigotry of low expectations?

Posted by: DAY on October 25, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, you sound surprised. You shouldn't be.

Posted by: bluestatedon on October 25, 2010 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently they want to repeal Article VI.

Posted by: Todd for Vermont House on October 25, 2010 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

As a resident and voter in the Indiana 7th Congressional District, I get pissed every time that someone claims that Ellison is the only Muslim member of congress.

My Congressman, Andre Carson, was voted into office following the death of the former Congressman Julia Carson. While Andre may be (so far) only a small candle compared to the bright torch of his grandmother, I have hopes for him. His grandmother was one of the few with the political courage to speak out against and to vote against Bush's wars.

Andre is the SECOND black muslim member of congress! I believe that what a congress critter believes and does is of critical importance. As a white male in his 60s, I will proudly vote to reelect Andre Carson!

I am very proud to have one of the few congress critters who are not corporately owned!!!

Posted by: SadOldVet on October 25, 2010 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

F U YALL pro democrate..Repeal Obamocare now !!!!! Yall Suck !

Posted by: bobby on October 25, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

darrell issa is muslim as well, I believe.

No, Issa is an Arab-American, but he's an Antiochian Orthodox Christian.

Posted by: Just Dropping By on October 25, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Muslims are the new niggers. It's not OK for white people to hate black people anymore, so these people need a new group it's OK to hate. That group is now the Muslims.

Posted by: Steve on October 25, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

What Steve said - Legitimized race baiting

Posted by: John R on October 25, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Republican = Nazi. Period. End of Sentence. If they take Congress this year and the White House in 2012, I fully expect to see internment camps operating in this country within six to eight years.

Posted by: Alan on October 25, 2010 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

But putting sloppy errors aside, what difference does Ellison's religion make?

I have no idea.

Posted by: Gregory on October 25, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK
Apparently they want to repeal Article VI.
Article VI of the Constitution says that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." IANACL, so my take on this may be all wrong, but I read this as saying that you cannot be prevented from seeking or taking office on account of your religion (or lack thereof) - not that voters can't take religion into account when casting their ballots. Not that I approve of the call to bigotry embodied in this ad, but I don't think it's a Constitutional issue. Posted by: noncarborundum on October 25, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

I'm inclined to agree with Alan, here. If these bodysnatched creatures that pass for Republicans take Congress this year and the White House in 2012, our electoral process will be over. Detention camps are not improbable. Krome and Gitmo were both essays in that direction, and in the mid-Eighties, Oliver North had schemes for the preventative detention of dissident citizens. Robert Bork, the infamous, wrote an article on First Amendment principles that basically said that the only protected speech is political speech, political speech is only that which agrees with "the will of the majority", so you are free to agree with whoever has the upper hand, and that's it. Likely certain justices of the Supreme Court hold such views, and lied about them to get on the bench. In any case, your vote doesn't send a message to Congress. It sends delegates, and delegates make laws, which make consequences.

Posted by: La Piovra on October 25, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Lee Atwater in his wildest dreams foresaw that we would one day get back to a time when shouting "ni**er" is ok again for people in his party.

Posted by: Shalimar on October 25, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

actually, muslims are the latest other, joining a rather long list that one time or another and to various degrees has included just about every group that inhabits this planet: catholics, jews, baptists, unionists, socialists, communists, anarchists, irish, italian, french, german, indians, italians, arabs, chinese, japanese, polics, eastern europeans and on and on and on. and while the idea of a gop takeover is appalling, somehow the republic will manage to survive their ignorance.

republican = nazi? hmmm. seems to me i've seen similar claims recently, only from the tea party types about democrats. republicans might wrong; many might be extreme in their beliefs. but nazis? i don't thinks so. let's save the term for the dudes in the brown shirts with the swastikas on the sleeves.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on October 25, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

But putting sloppy errors aside, what difference does Ellison's religion make?

Dagnabit! Cuz he's a Muslim and all of the 9/11 terrorists were Muslims! Even more importantly, all of the attackers were men, and so is Keith Ellison! The United States is in a holy war against men. So vote for Lynne Torgeson, who is a woman! Elect bad hair! DUH!!

I'm starting to think that some nasty neuro-toxin has been injected into the U.S. water supply.

Posted by: josef on October 25, 2010 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Lynne Torgerson is not a Republican, she's an independent. The endorsed Republican is Joel Demos. This article is pointless and incorrect.

Posted by: John Smith on October 25, 2010 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

"the Vietnamese ...are--with an intensity--trying to take away this seat, this seat that we [Democrats] have done so much for our community, take away this seat from us and give it to this Van Tran..

Loretta Sanchez on Univisin: "Vietnamese" Trying to Take Her Congressional Seat Away from Democrats
http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2010/09/loretta_sanchez_on_unvision_vi.php

Posted by: dualdiagnosis on October 26, 2010 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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