WASHINGTON, December 10, 2013 — Once again the GOP has shown how out of touch it is. Rick Santorum compared Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid to the Republicans’ fight against Obamacare.
In a Fox News appearance hours after Mandela’s death, Santorum couldn’t wait to get political, agreeing with Bill O’Reilly that Mandela was a communist. He said, “But you’re right, I mean, what he was advocating for was not necessarily the right answer, but he was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and Obamacare is front and center in that.”
Earth to Santorum: Mandela was willing to die to end apartheid in South Africa, which was more vicious than Jim Crow in America. Mandela served 27 years in prison to achieve his goal, before becoming South Africa’s first democratically elected black president.
How many congressional Republicans are willing to die or go to prison to repeal Obamacare?
Santorum’s comment, like the Republican National Committee’s recent ill-informed tweet about Rosa Parks, demonstrates how insensitive and tone deaf the GOP continues to be to minorities. Equally ridiculous was O’Reilly professing he would “never attack Mandela,” then in the next breath disparagingly calling him a “communist.”
Once again the GOP offers comments about a man who most consider a giant, President Nelson Mandela, and shows how stupid and insulting it can be with these types of comments about him.
When Mandela stood up against apartheid, when he risked his life for liberty, did men like Santorum and O’Reilly stand up to be counted on his side? Or did they think that Mandela’s unreliable economic ideas were a greater sin than apartheid? Regardless of what type of government Mandela wanted, he put his life on the line to end a racist, apartheid government. He stood as American revolutionaries did when they stood for liberty against England. But Mandela stood against a government crueler and more oppressive than Paul Revere did, and he is a global hero because of it.
The disparaging remarks continuously made by white male Republicans indicate a more endemic problem within the party. White males think they are the privileged class within the GOP, who can say and do anything they please without reproach. For example, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, whose resume reads like he founded the “establishment,” announced he’s mulling a run against Virginia Democrat Senator Mark Warner in 2014.
There’s nothing about Gillespie that inspires confidence he could win against Warner. Yet Gillespie arrogantly thinks he could be a formidable opponent to run against Warner simply because he’s a white male Republican. You know, part of that privileged class who lost the 2012 presidential election and this year’s Virginia gubernatorial race.
Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli lost the governor’s race by a slim margin to Terry McAuliffe because he wasn’t appealing to minorities, women or independent voters. This is the same out of touch syndrome that hobbled Mitt Romney’s campaign. Gillespie not only worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, but also chairs the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) tasked with helping elect Republicans to state offices.
Gillespie didn’t do a good job helping Republicans running for statewide offices in Virginia win in November. Virginia’s population, like the rest of the nation, is becoming browner, not whiter. Gillespie should learn what outreach to non-white voters means before he starts musing aloud that the Virginia Senate race is “very winnable” for him or any other Republican
Gillespie is a member of the “establishment” that has to teach Republican male candidates etiquette, how not to insult female candidates, and basically not act like frat boys. As Ann Romney recently said, “I hope you learned those lessons when you were five years old.” She added, “You shouldn’t have to be talking to politicians about how to behave.” Instead of teaching white males how not to behave like children, the GOP needs to focus on recruiting more women and minority candidates to its ranks.
Sadly, today’s Republican party has lots of lessons to learn. First it needs to review the party’s history and remember that the Grand Old Party was founded against slavery on a platform of inclusion. But what we see today is a GOP behaving and looking more like a whites only club for 5-year-olds behaving badly.
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