Reince and Repeat, Again and Again

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus speaks before the California Republican Party 2014 Spring Convention Friday, March 14, 2014, in Burlingame, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Good Grief. Former TPMer Benjy Sarlin should really credit GOP Chair Reince Priebus for a layup or its journalistic equivalent for this article just posted at MSNBC. Priebus asked the crowd at the Republican Leadership Conference event in New Orleans today why the GOP isn’t seen as the party of equality. “We’re the party of freedom and we’re the party of opportunity and we’re the party of equality, we’re the ones with that history,” said Priebus. “It’s the other side that has a shameful history, but you wouldn’t know it because we don’t talk about it.” Meanwhile, the keynoter at the event was Phil Robertson, the guy who became a folk hero/GOP martyr last year for saying gay men were gross and blacks actually had it pretty good during Jim Crow.

It’s hard to know what else to even say about that.

As I noted earlier today, Robertson is the archetype of what we might term the GOP hate martyr. We had some discussion today of what the precise taxonomy is. But in its ideal form, it’s someone who is either anonymous or had little profile in the political world but suddenly becomes a cause celebre and hero on the right by trashing some racial or ethnic group or gay people and then getting criticized for it. Whether it’s dressed up as religious liberty or free speech or whatever else, the essential element is right-winger persecuted (i.e., criticized by people on TV) for expressing bigoted or racist or just retrograde views about some historically (or presently) oppressed, denigrated or discriminated against group.

Just after the 2012 election Priebus actually made some motions toward cracking the GOP’s increasingly exclusive reliance on white voters and out of the racial resentment business. But the appearance today yet again shows that effort really never made it out of the gate.

Once again, I’m not sure there’s any way to better make sense of the GOP’s current mix of boffo denial and crackjack bad faith about racial politics than hearkening back, for the hundredth time, to the classic Onion piece: “Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?

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