On Sunday, while being interviewed by Democratic operative Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) – Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was happy enough to enlighten us of his belief – no doubt shared by his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill, that a “significant extent” of the Republican party base is “animated by racism.” Of course, he made sure to let us know that he doesn’t believe that “all” Republicans are racists – so maybe we should be thanking him for his generosity.
In case you haven’t seen it;Of course, articles have been written in a number of conservative publications (e.g. National Review, Human Events, Hot Air, etc.) full of righteous anger at Israel for his casual (and thoroughly routine for Democrats) slander of millions of people, and even some being directed – unfairly, in my opinion – at Candy Crowley as some sort of accessory.
But what really enrages me in the video clip above, what makes me want to punch holes in the wall and scream, is the fact that Greg Walden (R-OR), the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee no less, was sitting right there beside Steve Israel – and he uttered not a single word, syllable or even random squawk of protest.
Am I the only one who thinks something is wrong here?
Walden is the guy in charge of the organization dedicated to making sure more Republicans are elected to Congress. Yet, he sat there, smiling politely, as his opposite number for the other side just smeared the very same rank and file he’ll need at the polls in November.
I repeat, WTF?
As deserving of outrage as Steve Israel’s attack on the Republican base is/was, I submit that Greg Walden’s pathetic cowardly silence in the face of it is tenfold more egregious, and significantly more damaging. It is not difficult to imagine that the casual voter watching would easily take Walden’s lack of protest for agreement (by a high ranking Republican, no less) with Israel that the GOP base is indeed “animated by racism.”
What’s worse is that this failure to protest at being slandered is far from unique to Greg Walden – it’s a party-wide problem. We saw it in the campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney. We saw it showcased throughout the entirety of the Bush Presidency. Somehow, despite the fact that it has brought us nothing but failure and misery, it has become settled wisdom within the GOP’s political operative class that responding forcefully to attacks and making any effort at protecting one’s own reputation, not to mention that of the party at large, is somehow uncouth, a breach of etiquette, something only savages stoop to do.
I may not nibble on brie and sip Chablis at fashionable DC cocktails along with the GOP’s political experts, but I think I’m fairly intelligent and observant enough to notice that the practice of “highmindedly” ignoring these character assassination attacks has not translated to votes. It has not “elevated the discourse.” “Moderates” have not flocked to the GOP en masse at this display of supposed Republican “sophistication.” However, I have noticed that calling Republicans names and accusing Republicans of near genocidal animus against vast swathes of the American public has become an entirely risk-free and highly profitable enterprise for Democrats.
Each and every single election cycle has Republicans talking about expanding the map into Democratic strongholds, especially minority communities.
I simply do not see how meekly, silently accepting charges of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. helps us in that regard.
This has to change.
Perhaps we should start by letting Greg Walden that it is not acceptable to be such a g———n wuss.
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