They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker
STATEMENT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE FLORIDA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 23, 2009) - The Florida Medical Association is an organization with a zero-tolerance for racist or discriminatory behavior. As such, we do not condone the circulation of what has been described by the press as a racist depiction of President Obama by David McKalip, MD. Dr. McKalip's actions do not in anyway reflect the positions, attitudes or culture of the Florida Medical Association.
The Florida Medical Association finds the actions by Dr. McKalip to be hurtful and in poor judgment. Further, we find his actions disrespectful to President Obama and the Office of the President. The Florida Medical Association is disappointed by Dr. McKalip's actions and urges Dr. McKalip to extend President Obama an apology for this egregious deed.
McKalip did indeed apologize.
But that may not be the end of it. A Florida Democratic lawmaker has called on McKalip to resign as president-elect of the Pinellas County Medical Association and as a board member of the Florida Medical Association. State Rep. Darryl Rouson called the email "absolutely terrible" and an "outrageous act."
And it's worth noting that McKalip's original response to the flap was much more defiant than his subsequent apology. In an interview yesterday with the St. Petersburg Times, which picked up the story, he declared: "I am not a racist. I am simply a person speaking up to make sure patients don't get hurt by the government and by insurance companies.''
And he claimed that he was being targeted solely because of his political opposition to health-care reform. "Because I've been so effective in pointing out how the government plans are going to hurt patients in very serious ways ... the only way they can neutralize my message is to discredit me personally," he said.
As a defense against the racism charge, he noted, in the paper's words, that he had "helped organize a career counseling day several years ago for African-American Boy Scouts." And he blamed liberal activists for touting the email, which he called a "satire."
Later in the day, though, he shifted strategy, and offered a "sincere apology."
Late Update: More in the McKalip apology saga. Along with his "sincere apology," McKalip sent the following email to his Tea Party listserv, minimizing the witch doctor email merely as a "lapse in judgment" and blaming the controversy on "powerful enemies" who were "try[ing] to discredit me because they can't discredit my arguments."
Here's the full message:
I have had a very hard day. When you stand up and fight effectively for freedom and to protect the rights of patients from control by the government and insurance companies - you develop powerful enemies. They have used the opportunity of a lapse in judgment to try to discredit me since they can't discredit my arguments. I am proud of my accomplishments in this fight. I am more proud of the hundreds of thousands of Americans I have come to know who feel as I do and are willing to stand up for freedom. The next few days will be difficult, and I ask for your support.
This message, and the interview McKalip gave to the St. Petersburg Times noted above, suggest that, at the least, his P.R.-aided contrition wasn't the full story.