Pat Mullins fired Dave Bartholomew for forwarding a racially charged joke. I wrote about it and, later, Dave complained to me: “You know I’m not a racist.” After current chairman Kenny Longo’s Obama vitriolic yesterday using resurrected political slander, none should have a question about the membership’s intellectual malaise.
At the end of the Republican breakfast, Longo paraphrased an E-mail he said he’d received from three or four sources: President Obama called wounded combat veterans a bunch of whiners who had volunteered to serve and were selfish to expect treatment and rehabilitation.
Jokes, the milieu of Bill Maher and, unfortunately, Dave Bartholomew are distinct and different from slander woven from the whole cloth of prejudice and purpose, then employed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and his disciples. A joke preys on our fears and prejudice; slander relies on the intent of the purveyor and the utter ignorance of his audience. Humor and slander are very different vehicles for addressing our demons. One challenges while the other feeds our intolerance.
Present were many of the usual suspects: former U.S. Representative Thelma Drake, Republican Second District Chairman Bruce Meyer, Senatorial candidate Bishop E. W. Jackson, members of the Virginia Beach School Board, and City Councilman Bobby Dyer. There was only one strong objection to Longo’s remarks, but not from among these paragons of the party.
Timing is everything. Longo, in the normal course of his responsibilities, has issued a call for a Mass Meeting to be held on April 23, 2012. This time, Chairman Mullins should take a wait and see attitude toward his troubled committee; see if the patient heals itself.
Odds are, it won’t, though, unless there is an intervention by Pope Pat. His last reaction was a knee-jerk response that was directed only at the immediate public relations problem. It did nothing to resolve the more disturbing widespread notions, one of which manifest today. It shifted all responsibility, unfairly, to David Bartholomew.
The Republicans have spent thirty years pitting the middle class against itself; a veritable War on the American Dream. The slander campaign orchestrated against Obama is a misdirection that serves this purpose well. Here is further evidence that the cancer has spread throughout the Republican grassroots and not even the chairman of the state party can or wants to ameliorate it.
Intellectual rigor is the greatest defense against and threat to “contemporary conservatism.”