Obama “Monkey” Email: The Last Thing the GOP Needed
posted at 6:29 pm on April 16, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
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?