A Michigan member of the Republican National Committee rejected calls to resign Friday after making anti-gay and anti-Muslim remarks. Dave Agema said he's made mistakes but pledged to continue to "honor the trust and fulfill the responsibilities to those in the Michigan Republican Party that elected me."
Even by contemporary Republican standards, Dave Agema stands out. The Republican National Committee member from Michigan has earned a reputation for over-the-top bigotry that's so offensive, both RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak have called for his resignation.
Agema, however, doesn't want to leave.
In a statement, Agema said, "I acknowledge errors in judgment and how I addressed them, feel badly about the impact this has had on many here in the land I love, and have learned valuable lessons about the requirements and responsibilities that are to be expected and honored by all who are in leadership positions, including myself."
Or put another way, "Sorry, but I'm not quitting."
The problem, of course, is that Agema's ongoing presence as a member of the Republican National Committee makes it that much more difficult for the party to "rebrand." Priebus has an awkward enough challenge when it comes to reaching out to communities suspicious of Republicans; that task becomes all the more arduous when Priebus has to concede he and Agema have the RNC in common.
Republican strategist Dennis Lennox, who's helped lead the charge for Agema's ouster, emailed MaddowBlog last week to highlight some of the RNC member's most notorious comments: President Barack Obama is a practicing Muslim who secretly sired a bastard; Muslims have never made positive contributions to the fabric of American life and society; endorsing the oppressive laws of Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime, which supports "arresting political opponents, censoring reporters, jailing dissidents and eliminating free speech"; and gays and lesbians are responsible for the majority of murders in the United States.
"The last thing Republicans need to be talking about is KKK rhetoric," Lennox told the AP of Agema.
It's a fair point, though for now, it appears the RNC may be stuck with Agema for a while longer.