Green Room

Obama “Monkey” Email: The Last Thing the GOP Needed

posted at 6:29 pm on April 16, 2011 by

The actions of one Republican strategist threaten not only to reignite baseless charges that any criticism directed at the president by the right is a function of racism but to help reenergize his flagging base on a day when his approval ratings have tied an all-time low.

The guilty party is Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party. In a woefully misguided effort to inject humor into the “birther” debate, Davis sent an email to fellow conservatives with the heading “Now you know why no birth certificate.” Under it is a “family portrait” in which the president and “his parents” are shown as monkeys.

Blogger R. Scott Moxley, who broke the story in a post at OCWeekly, claims to have reached Davenport by phone. Her response purportedly was:

Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people—mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it. [Emphasis added]

Hard to say whether the emphasized portion of the above quote makes Davenport’s dereliction worse, but there’s no question about the sentence that precedes it.

The article goes on to quote members of the California Republican Party who were understandably upset by the blatantly offensive email and notes the contents of an email Davenport shortly after Obama’s inauguration that shows the White House lawn planted in watermelons. No further comment is needed, however. The damage is done—and I predict the repercussions will be long-lasting and devastating.

Some on the right will try to rationalize Davenport’s outrage by noting, for example, the recent unhinged, anti-American, anti-Semitic screed delivered at Howard University by professional racist Louis Farrakhan. But Farrakhan’s ugly rants in no way excuse what Davenport did or mitigate its potential for harming the Republican brand. No serious thinker doubts that Louis Farrakhan belongs in a mental institution. What’s Davenport’s excuse?

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Howard, please pull the photo. Leave a link if you must, but this image does HA/GR no credit. Yes, the outrage will be unreasonable and excessive, but the image really doesn’t advance any argument and gives the racialists the chance to blow on their embers.

njcommuter on April 16, 2011 at 7:04 PM

njcommuter: Excellent point. Will do.

Howard Portnoy on April 16, 2011 at 7:21 PM

It only makes him look more like “W” and I’ll bet that “W” has had a nice chuckle about his head’s physical structure looking rather chimp like.

Some people are too hypersensitive and PC.

Kermit on April 16, 2011 at 8:04 PM

The Race Card game is getting completely out of control. It is now a parlor game where the white person loses hands down. Just ask Geraldine Ferraro or Bill Clinton. I for one am sick and tired of it.

Perhaps I could interpret the cartoon (sight unseen I admit) in a less “racial” tone. 1. There is a question as to Obama’s birth certificate and now it seems his parentage. 2. Obama is an uber-liberal and as such believes whole heartedly in darwin evolution. 3. When one’s parentage is in question, an evolutionist would go further down the genetic line, whereby we are all decendants (sp?) of the monkeys. Wasn’t there a huge trial back in the day on the monkey to man issue???. .

Because I believe in the charachter not color, I don’t see racism in every single litte thing.

Here is an alternate interpretation:

1. Obama has very big ears. 2. Lot’s of people have big ears. 3. Ear size has nothing to do with race, (I have seen plenty of white guys with big ears). 4. At some point in time, on some playground or another someone with big ears is probably being teased about their “monkey ears”. 5. I know that it is no longer PC to call someone “monkey ears” but that is a subject for another post. 6. Obama himself has made fun of his big ears (although I don’t really know or care if he called them “monkey ears” or not. 7. Elephants also have big ears. 8. Perhaps if the cartoon showed the “parents” to be elephants it would infer that Obama was born the progeny of Republicans. (now that would be funny).

kringeesmom on April 16, 2011 at 8:08 PM

The weirdest things make people go bananas.

SouthernGent on April 16, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Not both of his parents are black, so how is it racial if one of the three people featured isn’t even black? Poor taste, maybe. Racial/racist? Only if it’s already in your head that everyone should tiptoe around noticing that he’s black when he’s made such a BFD out of trying to draw attention to the fact.

RachDubya on April 16, 2011 at 9:33 PM

Okay this clearly appears to be a crude example of racism. There are racists in the world. Those biases you are raised with are nearly impossible to completely overcome. Sad and though she may well be incapable of ever actually hurting someone appalling.
Well, teachable moment. Time for an open discussion of racism. We see examples of racism or at least the accusation of it to some degree everyday in every media. We must acknowledge this, evolve, and progress beyond…has anyone ever seen a story regarding racism by a person of color? Is there any examples anyone can bring of a story in this oh so politically correct country covering racism by a black person?
If not why? Is it suggested that people of color are above this disgusting emotion? Or is it suggested that they are incapable of it?
The question has gnawed at me for sometime. I suppose its the Tutsi in me.

onomo on April 16, 2011 at 9:42 PM

So, it is racist to compare anyone to a monkey? I guess i do not get it. Where is that racist? Next you will be telling me that it is the conservative position that certain words should be removed from the language through government action.

astonerii on April 16, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Anyone of you who love to yell “racist” every compare George W. Bush to Curious George? Come on you jerks, and you to author of the article. Get a friggin life!

Kermit on April 16, 2011 at 9:56 PM

So, it is racist to compare anyone to a monkey? I guess i do not get it. Where is that racist? Next you will be telling me that it is the conservative position that certain words should be removed from the language through government action.

astonerii on April 16, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Its on Eric Holders todo list yes but the comparison has a long history of use as a racist insult. It was used on George W. so it certainly seems to be an unfair fight in the political spectrum but given the rules of late is that surprising? Our president is quite clever at using unfair methods, its the Alinsky in him (you know that old dead white guy)

onomo on April 16, 2011 at 10:00 PM

I do not understand why editorially portraying a public figure as a chimpanzee is assumed to be racist when used against a Black man, but not racist when used against a White man. That double standard in and of itself is racist.

A chimpanzee is a lower form of primate than a human being. Thus, editorially portraying a man as a chimpanzee seems to me to be a commentary on the man’s lack of intelligence rather than anything to do with race.

Bush was constantly portrayed as a chimpanzee, and it was assumed that it was done as a commentary on his intelligence. Now Obama is being portrayed as a chimpanzee and suddenly the rules change? Suddenly the person using such a characterization is automatically assumed to be a racist?

Hog-frikking-wash. Conservatives have got to stop living life as if the sensibilities of Leftists determine the parameters of our discourse. Screw them.

If it was good enough for George W. Bush, it’s good enough for O’Chimpy.

IronDioPriest on April 16, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Sorry those brainwashed by libtards, I grew up in an area of the South, and way back when Blacks told n****r jokes, Italians told w** jokes, Cajuns told coon**s jokes, etc… Sorry we did not have any Mexicans to tell sp** jokes.

We all laughed.

Remember Flip Wilson and his comment about the first Black astronaut in space? “The jig is up.” All use ignorant folks, regardless of race/ethnicity, rolled in laughter.

Kermit on April 16, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Comparing Bush to a chimp? Edgy! Hysterical!

Comparing Obama to a chimp? Horrid! Racist! Vile!

I see how that works.

amerpundit on April 16, 2011 at 10:29 PM

The damage is done—and I predict the repercussions will be long-lasting and devastating.

No it won’t. You think people will give a damn about a dumb email from a single activist when gas reaches towards $5 a gallon?

amerpundit on April 16, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Portnoy must be one of those really dumb people from NYC who have no clue about life outside the city.

Kermit on April 16, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Abraham Lincoln was variously nicknamed The Illinois Ape, The Original Gorilla, and The Orangutan in the White House.

Here’s a political cartoon from 1837 of Martin Van Buren portrayed as a monkey teasing the British bulldog.

Frankly, if there’s a U.S. President who hasn’t been portrayed as one kind of primate or another, I’d be surprised.

That said, Marilyn Davenport is an abject idiot and should be fired immediately.

Mary in LA on April 16, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Before reading this article I had never heard of Marilyn Davenport.
Now I only know that she is an ignorant racist.
So is Jeremiah Wright.
If you use Davenport to tar the Tea Party its fair to use Wright to tar the Democratic Party.
Has Marilyn Davenport met Joe Clean and articulate black guy” Biden?

Curmudgeon on April 16, 2011 at 11:06 PM

The damage is done—and I predict the repercussions will be long-lasting and devastating.

No it’s not.

What she did was stupid and wrong…and I refudiate it entirely.

Just because the left wants to paint us with a broad brush when someone purportedly on our side does something moronic doesn’t mean we have to roll over and play dead and accept their ruling as final. Who cares what they say, really? Who are they to lecture us on civility when they embrace Wright and Pelosi and Obama and Ayers and Farrakan and…etc.?

I reject what she did but she is an anomaly, not a standard bearer.

powerpro on April 17, 2011 at 5:25 AM

The MSM will make sure that this becomes a gigantic media sh1tstorm. It was a dumbass thing to do and it will get pulled out many times in the next 18 months or so, bet the houese on it.

Whether or not, as a poster above pointed out, every president has been compared to an ape of some sort is irrelevant. Obama does indeed have color on his side, like it or not. You just can’t go around calling a black guy, president or not, a monkey, or even hint at it. We’ve moved on from this crap haven’t we?

Best thing to do is vote in November of 2012, and get his ass out of the WH. Stupidity like this has no place and the way ahead is to destroy his presidency at the polls.

Dino64 on April 17, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Sorry about some of my spelling above. Need to take more time over these posts. :D

Dino64 on April 17, 2011 at 10:22 AM

No wonder the stupid republicans are in the minority in CA, if this is the best they got.

Kissmygrits on April 17, 2011 at 10:47 AM

The monkey epithet was not prudent, but the race card is a tactic that is an inequality between black and white.

ericdijon on April 17, 2011 at 6:20 PM

If Davenport was simply an unaffiliated private citizen, putting something like this out would be her problem alone. But as an OC GOP official and Tea Party activist, she automatically becomes representative of everything the Tea Party and the Republicans do to the big media, because that’s how they’ve played the game for almost 50 years — any gaffe by a Republican is a gaffe by every Republican.

Not fair, since the media lets Democrats get away with racist, sexist and misogynistic threats unscathed. But if Davenport has been involved in politics for any length of time and doesn’t grasp this reality, she’s too much of a danger to herself and others to be allowed to use a pair of sharp scissors, let alone be an Orange County Republican Party committee person.

jon1979 on April 17, 2011 at 6:44 PM

How many people compared Bush to a chimp ?

William Amos on April 17, 2011 at 7:49 PM

How many people compared Bush to a chimp ?

William Amos on April 17, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Stupid? Sure.

But .000001% of what the Left dishes out towards Sarah Palin and her family.

VastRightWingConspirator on April 18, 2011 at 9:17 AM