Thursday, September 25, 2003

Thank you John Kerry

It's rare that I say anything positive about John Kerry but I'd like to thank him for focusing attention on an important issue: the blatant undercurrent of racism in the Republican party ranks. Kerry's campaign sent out an email today with images from actual T-shirts sold and worn at the recent College Republicans National Convention. Click here to see them (warning, extremely offensive content). Click here to read the AP story.

I am not one to say that all Republicans are racist. But it is an open and ugly secret that part of the party's success in recent decades has been built on a deliberate effort to create a comfortable home for bigots. There's an unspoken agreement between the party and these people: as long as they don't do anything to blatant to embarrass the party (see Trent Lott), they are welcome in the tent.

I've believed for years that the Democrats could make a lot of inroads against the Republicans if they would simply call them on this. While the bigots are a significant constituency, but they are dwarfed by the sizable block of conservative suburban whites who want nothing to do with racism. If this issue were to be forced out into the open the GOP would have to choose between the two. But without both of them, they would have a much tougher time holding on to power.

John Kerry is doing precisely this by highlighting the existence of these T-shirts so good job John!

Here is the CNRC and Bush administration response to the matter:

David Joyslin, spokesman for the College Republican National Committee, said his group had nothing to do with the T-shirts, and was unfamiliar with the company that sold them.

"We sold over 50 tables to vendors. We didn't monitor every single product of every single vendor," Joyslin said. "Obviously our organization wouldn't endorse any statements of the sort that I saw on the Internet."

Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel condemned the T-shirts and referred The Associated Press to the college Republicans for further comment.



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