Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The GOP's Disingenuous "Concern" for African Americans

Just when you think the hypocrisy of today's GOP cannot possibly reach more absurd heights, someone in the GOP Congressional delegation proves that assumption wrong. A case in point is Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, who is pushing for restrictions on abortion out of supposed concerns for African Americans. This from the same political party that is working incessantly to reduce African American voting rights through voter ID requirements, etc., opposes affirmative action plans, is populated by Christianists/Tea Party members who barely seek to hide their white supremacist leanings, and that wants to cut funding for numerous programs that benefit African Americans. It's like Hitler claiming to have concerns for the welfare of Jews. A column in the Washington Post looks at this ridiculous posturing that's enough to make one want to vomit. Here are some highlights:

Rep. Trent Franks established his credentials as a civil rights leader last year when the Arizona Republican argued that, because of high abortion rates in black communities, African Americans were better off under slavery.

But the congressman doesn’t just talk the talk. On Tuesday, he chaired a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on legislation he is introducing that would protect African American women from themselves — by making it harder for them to have abortions.

Orwellian naming aside, the House Republicans’ civil rights gambit (which follows passage of a similar bill in Franks’s Arizona and marks an attempt to get an abortion bill to the House floor before year’s end) points to an interesting tactic among conservatives: They have taken on a new, and somewhat suspect, interest in the poor and in the non-white.

Newt Gingrich, now threatening Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, tried a similar argument when he argued for the elimination of “truly stupid” child labor laws and suggested that students could replace the janitors in their schools. He further explained that he was trying to help children in poor neighborhoods who have “no habits of working.”

Developer Donald Trump, who owns a Virginia country club that counts Gingrich as a member, announced this week that he would join with Gingrich to help “kids in very, very poor schools” — by extending his “Apprentice” TV reality show concept to all of 10 lucky kids.

This “fun” might sound less patronizing if these conservatives displayed a similar concern for the well-being of the poor and the non-white during debates over budget cuts. But, whatever the motives, lawmakers and conservative activists were not bashful when they held a pre-hearing news conference Tuesday, standing beside posters directed at Latinos and African Americans (“black children are an endangered species”).

“It is horrific that in America today, babies are being killed based on their race and based on their sex,” protested Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America. Other participants in the news conference suggested that Planned Parenthood is “excited to take money specifically earmarked to kill a black baby” and linked abortion-rights advocates to eugenics, euthanasia and the Holocaust.

“This morning, you can walk into a clinic and get an abortion if you find out your child is African American,” said Patrick Mahoney, a conservative activist. If you find out your child is African American? So a black woman would have an abortion because she discovers — surprise! — that her fetus is also black?

Before the audience had a chance to digest that, Mahoney began shouting about how abortion is “lynching” — frightening a child in the front row, who cried out and hugged his mother.

And people wonder why I fled the Republican Party? Anyone with a shred of honesty and integrity needs to run screaming from this crowd.

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