Touching all of the bases

Updated
 
Oklahoma Rep. Dennis Johnson (R)
Oklahoma Rep. Dennis Johnson (R)

Let’s see, in recent months we’ve seen Republicans make ugly and offensive remarks about African Americans, Latinos, women, the LGBT community, Native Americans, and Middle Easterners.

Is there anyone left? Of course there is (thanks to my colleague Nazanin Rafsanjani for the tip).

An Oklahoma lawmaker apologized Wednesday for using an ethnic slur while debating on the House floor for a bill that would allow merchants to legally offer deep discounts on goods. […]

[Republican State Rep. Dennis Johnson], a businessman, was debating on the floor of the House of Representatives for Senate Bill 550, which would legalize low-price retail sales in Oklahoma for the first time since 1941.

He said small businesses can compete with larger stores and chains because they offer customer service, even though customers might try to “Jew me down on a price.”

Told by a colleague what he’d said, Johnson said, “Did I? I apologize to the Jews. They’re good small businessmen as well.”

At which point I hope most of the lawmakers who heard him smacked their foreheads.

Johnson eventually made a less-ridiculous apology, saying, “It just came out of one of the wrinkles of my brain and it was not something that was intentional. I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone and I apologize for the folks I did offend. It is a comment that should never be made. I will never do it again.”

To reiterate a point from yesterday, I suspect Republican officials would say the entire party can’t be held responsible every time a Republican lawmaker says something offensive like this, and that’s not an unreasonable argument.

But the point is, the party already has a tarnished reputation, after years in which the GOP deliberately cultivated a small, old, white, Christian, male-dominated base. All of these incidents, in turn, create a pattern that tells a diverse, forward-thinking nation that Republicans are stuck in a narrow-minded past.

Okalahoma and Oklahoma

Touching all of the bases

Updated