Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Republican Accuses Liberals of Being Unpatriotic

Over the last few days, I've written several posts about Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and her McCarthy-esque fears of the "anti-American" beliefs of Sen. Obama and liberals. Well, it appears that the new McCarthy-ism is spreading. So too are the lies that those caught making these kinds of vile statements resort to in order to defend themselves.

Case in point? Congressman Robin Hayes (R-North Carolina). According to Jason Horowitz, writing for The New York Observer, at a rally for Sen. McCain on Saturday, Rep. Hayes said:

liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God.
Ouch. (By the way, it is worth noting that Rep. Hayes prefaced that comment with the admonition to other speakers not to say anything stupid or mean.) Now, I want to be sure that I understand Rep. Hayes' statement. In his worldview, I, as a liberal "hate real Americans" who he defines as those who "work and achieve and believe in God." For the record, I don't hate those who work or achieve or believe in God. Heck, by that definition, virtually every liberal that I know is a "real American". And, also for the record, I don't hate those who don't work or who fail or who don't believe in God. Most importantly, I don't think that whether someone works or achieves or believes in God has any bearing on whether that person is an American, real or otherwise. There is plenty of evidence that Thomas Jefferson didn't believe in God, but I don't think that anyone would suggest that he wasn't a "real American"...

Apparently, Rep. Hayes' caught some heat for this statement (gee, imagine that...). So, what did Rep. Hayes do? He had his spokesperson deny that he made the statement. According to The Crypt (on Politico):

Amanda Little [Rep. Hayes' spokesperson] says that Hayes absolutely denies making the comments that appear in the Observer article. She noted that other national reporters were at the event and didn't pick up on what the Observer reported.

The Crypt called the Observer reporter in question, Jason Horowitz, and he said he stands firmly by his reporting. "I was there. That’s what I heard. I was taking notes while he was talking," said Horowitz.
Following the denial from Rep. Hayes, several other reporters who were at the event came forward and confirmed that Rep. Hayes had, in fact, made the statement quoted by Horowitz. So, Rep. Hayes' spokesman again denied that Rep. Hayes had made the statement and accused The Crypt of "irresponsible journalism". Only guess what?

Only after being confronted with audio that proves that Rep. Hayes (a) made the statement and (b) lied (twice) about not making the statement, did Rep. Hayes finally responsibility. He told Politico:
I genuinely did not recall making the statement and, after reading it, there is
no doubt that it came out completely the wrong way. I actually was trying to
work to keep the crowd as respectful as possible, so this is definitely not what
I intended.
Out of curiosity, how does one accidentally claim that liberals "hate real Americans"? And how can anybody, when trying to keep a crowd "respectful" even contemplate using a word like "hate" in the first place?

Finally, while we're on the subject, I just wanted to note some of the explanations that Rep. Bachmann's gave Politico for her McCarthy-esque comments:
Despite the way the blogs and the Democratic Party are spinning it, I never called all liberals anti-American, I never questioned Barack Obama’s patriotism, and I never asked for some House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunt into my colleagues in Congress.
I make a statement in an interview. Chris Matthews distorts it — as he is paid so well to do. The liberal blogs contort it even more. The speaker of the House and other Democrat leaders utter absolute lies about what was said in the interview.
It appears that Rep. Bachmann hasn't heard of YouTube or maybe she's just never bothered to watch her own interview. She claims to have never said certain things and also claims that her statements were distorted. You can watch her statements again:

It is awfully difficult to say that you didn't say something when there is videotape of you saying just that. And it is also difficult to claim that your statements were "spun" or "distorted" when all people have done is simply repeat what you've said.

Gov. Palin started us down this very ugly, very slippery slope a few days ago when she talked about "pro-America" parts of the country. Since then, we've had two Republican members of Congress making claims that liberals are unpatriotic or hate "real Americans" and we've even had a McCain spokesperson suggesting that northern Virginia is not "real Virginia". And I haven't heard a repudiation from Sen. McCain...

I'm curious, are Republicans trying to make this election about more than ideas? Are they trying to divide our country into two camps sparring over who are the "real Americans"? Because if so, I am very, very afraid of where that will lead us. Should Sen. Obama be elected next month, what should we expect from those who believe that he and his supporters (presumably a majority of the voting electorate) are anti-American? Should we expect them to quietly sit back and hope for the best (or the worst) or is it likely that their "fear" of "anti-American" liberals who don't live in "pro-America" areas of the country will lead in dangerous directions? And I wonder whether the target of those who fear "anti-American" beliefs will largely be found in our minority communities. Gov. Palin may have, intentionally or not, started her followers on the road to new racial violence. I sincerely hope not.


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