Months ago, it was clear that congressional Republicans feared an extended debate over immigration policy, and not just because they didn’t have a policy that party officials could agree on.
As Jon Chait explained back in April, “A drawn-out immigration debate commanding center stage will simply create more opportunities for conservative Republicans to say offensive things about Latinos. And make no doubt: however diligently their consultants coach them not to, they will say offensive things about Latinos.”
Three months later, Jon’s prediction is holding up quite well. Many Republicans have, over and over again, participated in the debate in such a way as to offend Latinos and everyone else disgusted by bigotry.
And the problem persists. George Zornick reported from a rally yesterday in the nation’s capital, at which rhetoric about racial purity was apparently quite common.
As ThinkProgress noted, a white nationalist named John Tanton organized the rally; he is famous for works such as “The Case for Passive Case Eugenics” and saying that black Americans are a “retrograde species of humanity.”
So, the rally went about as one would expect. Ken Crow, who used to be president of Tea Party of America until he bungled logistics of a Sarah Palin speech and is now affiliated with Tea Party Community, got up and started talking about “well-bred Americans.”
Zornick transcribed Ken Crow’s comments: “From those incredible blood lines of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and John Smith. And all these great Americans, Martin Luther King. These great Americans who built this country. You came from them. And the unique thing about being from that part of the world, when you learn about breeding, you learn that you cannot breed Secretariat to a donkey and expect to win the Kentucky Derby. You guys have incredible DNA and don’t forget it.”
For all the half-hearted rhetoric about opposing immigration on economic grounds, when push comes to shove, much of the right remains preoccupied with race and ethnic divisions.
It’s at this point that you might be thinking, “So, some random and obscure right-wing activists got together and said offensive things. It doesn’t matter since these guys are far from the mainstream and don’t have any real influence.” This assumption, however, is mistaken: some Republican members of Congress were on hand – Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) even delivered the keynote address – including Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
And with each passing day, these Republicans make their party just a little narrower, more extreme, less diverse, and less welcoming to anyone outside their radical base.