It’s amazing, it truly is: as far right wing as many elected Republican are these days, it never seems to be far right wing enough for their most rabid, teahadist supporters. For instance, a number of elected Republicans have shown class in their responses to the death of Nelson Mandela. That, in spite of the fact that Mandela was proudly a man of the left, a “democrat and a socialist”, who also was a “die-hard supporter of labor unions,” a strong critic of the war in Iraq and the “war on terror,” and someone who “considered poverty one of the greatest evils in the world, and spoke out against inequality everywhere.”
Despite all that, Virginia Republican politicians – including Bob McDonnell, Eric Cantor, and even E.W. Jackson – had nice things to say about Mandela upon the news of his death yesterday. For instance, Jackson wrote that Mandela was “courageous,” a “great man,” and “exactly the leader South Africa needed – even if he didn’t start out that way.” For his part, Gov. McDonnell wrote that Mandela was “one of the true giants of history,” a man who “lived a life that broke down barriers, tore down walls, and lifted up a nation, a people, and a world.” McDonnell added, “This is a better world for the long and uplifting life of Nelson Mandela.” Finally, Eric Cantor commented, “The world has lost an exceptional leader who made the world a better place.”
Many of the responses to these comments, to put it mildly, didn’t match the class of E.W. Jackson, McDonnell and Cantor in this case. For instance, Cantor has now received 400+ responses, the overwhelming majority of which are negative – even viciously so. For instance: “Mandela was a communist and a terrorist!;” “he and his animal of a wife were mass murderers and torturers;” “You’ve got to be kidding…he was responsible for the murder of over 20,000 people;” and “The world has lost a Marxist/Communist dictator! Mr. Cantor, are you falling in line with Obama’s minions??”; and “I’m saddened and disappointed to see such a post.” Yikes.
How about responses to E.W. Jackson? Not much better, although there are a lot fewer comments than to Eric Cantor (apparently not many people care what Jackson has to say at this point). A few examples: “This man was a straight up communist;” “And he gave all South Africans the right to abortion on demand;” “Hope he knew Christ as his savior;” and “You, Mr. Jackson, have bought into the communist/Marxist/liberal ideology of rewriting history and eliminating history by making Mandela into a saint.” Well, alrighty then.
Finally, Bob McDonnell appears to have deleted the entire thread, as there are now no comments at all. I can just imagine how bad it must have been for them to do that…
Of course, I’d point out that Nelson Mandela was far to the left of Barack Obama, who Republicans routinely call a commie (and many other choice words). I’d also point out that many leading Republicans – Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, Jack Kemp – opposed sanctions against the white, apartheid regime in South Africa. So yeah, Republicans have some serious “issues” when it comes to consistency here, but still…c’mon, a great man just died, and THIS is what spews out from right wingers on their “leaders'” Facebook pages, just for saying a few appropriate words at the death of a major 20th century historical figure, one admired by billions of people around the world? Scary.
P.S. Ken Cuccinelli hasn’t said a word about Mandela’s death on his Facebook page. Nor has Mark Obenshain. Rep. Bob Goodlatte wrote “We have lost a great leader.” Rep. Frank Wolf said “Nelson Mandela’s unyielding fight against apartheid was truly heroic and evidence of an unyielding belief in the basic dignity of every person” (lots of nasty responses on Wolf’s page as well). Rep. Scott Rigell said “the world lost a remarkable and truly transformational figure in Nelson Mandela” (several nasty responses to that one). Rep. Robert Hurt wrote “The world has lost a great leader.” Etc, etc.