The Bad Michelle
Republican leaders uniformly refuse to join former President Jimmy Carter in condemning the explicit racism of many of the signs and catcalls at organized protests against President Barack Obama’s health reform proposals.
Even people waving signs depicting the president as a half-naked jungle witch doctor with bones coming out of his nose or as two white eyes against a black background are explained away as a few extremists among thousands of concerned citizens deeply troubled by the possibility of affordable health insurance for all Americans.
So how do they explain staging one of those rabid rallies in Milwaukee last weekend and inviting as the featured speaker Michelle Malkin, who has built a career on spreading hatred through the Internet and other media?
In Milwaukee, Malkin declared: “I’ve never been so proud in my lifetime to be part of this angry mob!”
Malkin is a right-wing blogger and a Fox News darling for her incendiary racial views, all the more prized because she is an attractive, young woman of color. Malkin, a Filipino American, actually wrote a book titled In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror.
Taking an alternative view of what most Americans consider one of the most shameful chapters in U.S. history, Malkin’s book defended rounding up Japanese Americans during World War II and imprisoning them in concentration camps. And she suggested now would be a dandy time to do the same thing to Muslim Americans living in this country.
Malkin has published other racially tinged tracts, including Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores and Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies.
As disturbing as Malkin’s public views are, it doesn’t take much digging on the Internet to discover even more disturbing connections to out-and-out white supremacists.
Her columns are regularly published on VDARE.com. The Web site, founded by Peter Brimelow, whom Malkin describes as a friend, is named for Virginia Dare, the first white person born in the New World.
On the Web site, Brimelow explains the homage, noting that when Virginia’s grand father, the governor of the so-called Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, returned from a trip to England, his granddaughter and the rest of the colony were gone, presumably seized by natives as the first white victims of racial diversity in America.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the United States, has identified Brimelow’s Web site as a hate group site. In addition to Malkin, the site publishes numerous “white nationalist” pseudoscientists such as J. Philippe Rushton, who has claimed that blacks have smaller brains because they have larger penises.
“It’s a trade-off, more brain or more penis. You can’t have everything,” Rushton has been quoted as saying by the Anti-Defamation League.
On the other hand, Rushton’s confession of the physical shortcomings of racist whites would seem to prove just the opposite—that it’s possible to be severely lacking in both brains and sexual equipment.
Walker, Clarke Join In
Joining Malkin before the self-declared angry mob in Milwaukee were local politicians such as Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and County Executive Scott Walker, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.
Much like Malkin, Clarke, an African American, provides cover for bigoted whites by lending a nonwhite face to their rightwing ideology. “How could we possibly be considered racists? We voted for an African American for sheriff, didn’t we?”
Walker, like other Republican leaders who should know better, has made a political calculation that channeling the anger of anti-Obama protesters—no matter how ugly their motives—is the route to Republican electoral success.
In Walker’s case, opposition to health care reform is particularly disingenuous. One of the principal causes of his county’s disastrous financial condition is the soaring cost of health benefits for county employees.
One enormous albatross Walker carries into the governor’s race is his own inability as county executive to do anything to pull Milwaukee County back from the brink of bankruptcy. Yet there was Walker at the anti-Obama rally egging on vociferous opponents of the most promising attempt in American history to bring under control the soaring health care costs that are busting the budgets of every level of government.
Fading, right-wing has-beens like Joe the Plumber and local African-American talk-show host James T. Harris were at the rally trying to recapture past glories as Obama-haters.
Joe spends more time bashing Obama than he does overcharging people for unplugging their toilets. Harris had a few brief moments on national television last October after he ventured into whitest Waukesha for a political rally where he begged—literally begged—John McCain and Sarah Palin to smear Obama more.
With any luck, Malkin and Republicans who tie themselves to hate rallies will be forgotten just as quickly.