It’s time to play What if a Republican had said this? Imagine a Tea Party candidate had said “We need to send her back to where she really came from” about Reps. Loretta or Linda Sanchez (D-CA), for two examples, to cheers from the crowd. Would that not get used as an argument that the entire Tea Party movement and everyone in it was raaaaaacist? That wouldn’t be called a “dog whistle” — it’d be called a “dog siren.”
Let’s see if the same standard will get applied to Alan Webber and his Democratic supporters in New Mexico. The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper has video of Webber insisting that Democrats had to throw Susana Martinez out of office. “We need to send her back to wherever she really came from,” Webber says to applause, adding, “I suspect it’s Texas.”
Obviously, Webber is not the brightest bulb on the New Mexico Democratic Christmas tree. Martinez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, which anyone with a computer and passing knowledge of research can discover on their own. She went to college in Oklahoma and moved with her husband to New Mexico in the 1980s, more than thirty years ago, and served as Doña Ana County DA before becoming governor four years ago. And all of that is a complete non-sequitur anyway, because no state has an in-state birth requirement for political office anyway. Webber’s not appealing to New Mexico culture with this statement, obviously.
Besides, if Webber is arguing that Martinez is out of the New Mexico mainstream, he may be suffering from projection as well as incompetence. Halper links to a Washington Free Beacon report on Webber’s fringe politics:
Webber has raised the most money of Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, and is competing against four other Democrats, including Lawrence Rael, who exaggerated his resume on his campaign website. The primary will be held on June 3.
Mark Rudd, a leader and founder of the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground, which has advocated for the violent overthrow of the United States and committed multiple bombings of public buildings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, endorsed Webber in April. Rudd’s wife Marla Painter hosted a campaign event for the Democrat that month.
Martinez is cruising in most polls toward re-election, and leads Webber by 16. Webber is only six points back in a five-way race for the Democratic nomination, with the primary set for Tuesday. We’ll see if New Mexico Democrats have the same resentment toward, er, Texans as Webber does.
Update: Say, where was Alan Webber born, anyway? Er … St. Louis, Missouri. According to his bio, he then attended college in Oregon, and then to Harvard for at least six years managing the Harvard Business Review, after a brief sojourn in Washington helping out with the Carter administration’s bailout of Chrysler. He ended the 1980s by working on the Michael Dukakis campaign.
So let me emphasize again — Webber clearly isn’t appealing to New Mexico culture in this statement.
Update: Martinez was Doña Ana County DA, not AG. I’ve corrected it above; thanks to TtoEtoC on Twitter.
Update: Our soon-to-be colleague Noah Rothman disagrees:
And if you stopped there, or read only the headline on The Weekly Standard‘s post which blared just that offending quote without context, you could be forgiven for thinking that Webber should be drummed out of polite society.
But Webber did not stop there. He did not even pause to take a breath before he clarified, “I suspect it’s Texas.”
“And that would be good for Texas,” he continued, “and that would be good for New Mexico.”
One could spin Webber’s remark into something racially insensitive, but that would be misleading. … The outrage is misdirected. The full context of his comment suggests that Webber was making a comment about Martinez’s political leanings and not her ethnic heritage.
Well, she does come from Texas by way of Oklahoma, and Webber comes from Missouri by way of Oregon, Harvard, the Carter administration, and the Dukakis campaign. I don’t think “where she really came from” even with the addendum about Texas is a comment on her ideology, but her origins — and given his own travels, it makes even less sense as an attack on carpetbagging.
By the way, which path is farther from New Mexico’s mainstream? From Texas via Oklahoma, two neighboring states, or Missouri by way of Oregon, Washington, and Massachusetts?