Patty Murray; Arrogant and Ignorant

Just because Patty Murray represents Washington in the US Senate, it doesn’t mean she should be insulting the residents of the great State of Alabama. As reported in The Daily Weekly:

With the Dreamliner finally up in the air, one could almost forget the unending controversy swirling in Boeing’s turbines.First there’s that little move to South Carolina planned to actually build the Dreamliner. But also back in the news is the battle over building tankers for the Air Force. Sen. Patty Murray, up for election next year, has been a driving force behind Boeing’s protest of the military’s initial decision to award the contract to Northrop Grumman. All Things Considered did a story last week on Northrop’s attempts to put pressure on the feds that included an interview with Murray where she managed to insult the entire state of Alabama.

Northrop planned to build the tankers at an assembly line in the southern state, which Murray says is a mistake.

Quoth Murray: “I have stood on the line in Everett, Wash., where we have thousands of workers who go to work every day to build these planes. I would challenge anybody to tell me that they’ve stood on a line in Alabama and seen anybody building anything.”

I’m trying to decide which is more egregious; Murray’s abysmal ignorance or the pernicious bigotry that assumes all Alabamians are uneducated yokels.

Perhaps Senator Murray has heard of “Hyundai.” They manufacture “automobiles.” She might be shocked to learn that Hyundai has a “manufacturing plant” in Montgomery, Alabama. She might also find it surprising to learn that Mercedes-Benz has a huge, state of the art manufacturing facility just outside of Tuscaloosa. The last time I heard, manufacturing plants had “lines” where people “build things.” In fact, according to the Manufacture Alabama! website, Alabama has a strong manufacturing base.

The bigotry we experienced first hand when our daughter chose to attend the University of Alabama. It was shocking, really, how contemptuous people were of her choice. Mooncat at Left in Alabama sums it up:

This is a perfect example of negotiating by tearing the other guy down — and I expected better from Patty Murray. Some of you may remember how she originally won her Senate seat by campaigning as a “mom in tennis shoes.” As a supposed champion for average Americans, Murray should have checked her facts before spouting what any educated person would realize was nonsense — and insulting, stereotypical nonsense, at that. We’re not still chopping cotton down here, Senator, barefoot and illiterate. Alabamians have long since embraced modern technology. In fact, my neighbor is a farmer and uses GPS in his rig that keeps his combine on the exact same path his planter traveled months before, right down to a little wobble he might have made reaching to answer his cell phone.

Alabama workers built Saturn V rockets in the 60’s and were instrumental in their design and testing and played major roles in the Space Shuttle, Spacelab, the Delta IV rocket (Delta and Atlas launch vehicles are now manufactured in a state of the art facility in Decatur, Alabama) and now Ares programs. Speaking as a former industry insider, I would put Alabama engineers and scientists — and yes, technicians and machinists — up against anything Washington state has.

For a United States Senator, there’s really no excuse for this kind of ignorance and bigotry is always indefensible. I really can’t add anything to that other than to extend my apology to the people of Alabama and promise them that I’ll do whatever is within my power to see that she’s given the pink slip next November.

Taken just last week near Tuscaloosa, this photo depicts typical Alabamians who probably don't even know what an airplane is, much less how to build one

Cross posted at It’s Only Words.