Orange County, California GOP Central Committee member Marilyn Davenport’s email blast depicting President Obama and his family as monkeys was sick, vile, and disgusting. But that was not the worst part of it.
Even her witless, dunderhead defense of the photo as just a “joke,” was not the worst part of her slur either. The worst part was the reaction of GOP officials to it.
The local party chair, Scott Baugh, appropriately blasted it as “it drips with racism” and said that she should resign. He claimed, though, that the bylaws prevent him from expelling Davenport.
But he did not call for a change in the by-laws to make expulsion possible, or even indicate when or if he would move to censure Davenport.
To their credit, some former GOP state officials did call for her expulsion. But censure or expulsion, the record stands that no action of any kind has been taken against Davenport
The non-action paled in comparison to the reaction of other GOP officials who either downplayed it as “much ado about nothing” as Davenport branded it or defended her.
Davenport is not some loose screwed, raving Tea Party haranguer. She’s a member in good standing of the powerful and well-connected Orange County GOP party machine.
In Democrat leaning California, this is not insignificant. Orange County is one of the reddest of red counties in Southern California, and a traditional bastion of GOP conservatism and GOP votes. The Orange County GOP has and can still muster tens of thousands of votes for GOP local, state, congressional and presidential candidates. GOP presidential candidates have beat a steady path to the county for decades to secure votes and money.
Davenport for her part has adamantly said she won’t resign. She would not have dug her heels in on staying at her party post if she wasn’t confident that she had the backing of more than a few party members.
Those GOP Davenport cheerleaders aren’t just in Orange County. Other party officials essentially blew off the controversy as a non-issue. This strikes to the GOP’s continuing denial, subtle or flat out stoke of the racial fires.
Davenport underlined her despicable depiction of President Obama with the caption “”Now you know why no birth certificate.”
This is just the crude, stupid, version of what would be GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s been parroting with his media grabbing and Tea Party appealing crusade to bait President Obama on his birth certificate.
It’s worked because polls consistently show that a significant minority, possibly a majority, of GOP rank and filers cling to the false, discredited, and bogus belief that Obama is a fake American citizen.
Trump would not have gotten to first base with his birth certificate ploy if these millions didn’t give credence to it.
The controversy has had enough juice to even draw Obama into it. In a recent interview he made more than a veiled reference to it when he said “we’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or birth certificates.”
Top GOP possible presidential contenders have either been mum on the issue, sent mixed messages about the issue, or as in the case of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, gave tacit credence to the fraudulent issue. Despite the media ridicule, Trump hasn’t backed away one inch from the issue.
In a pep rally speech to a swooning Tea Party throng in Boca Raton, Florida he again questioned Obama’s citizenship.
Trump’s slur didn’t dampen the applause or enthusiasm of the crowd. Nor has it dampened the enthusiasm for him from millions of others. In the latest national poll of the names of the potential GOP presidential candidates commonly bandied about, Trump obliterated the field. Second place vote getter former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was a distant second, garnering ten percent less of the straw vote than Trump.
A straw poll that at this stage of the presidential derby tells nothing about who the GOP voters, party regulars, and party money backers will ultimately decide on. It won’t be Trump. But that’s hardly the point. The fact that a political non-entity can work up the kind of mania and media attention that he has on the strength of virtually one issue, namely Obama’s birth, tells much about the crazed state of millions of GOP voters.
Davenport’s slanderous email depiction of Obama and family, her refusal to see anything wrong with it, and the foot-drag by GOP local and state officials in California to say or do anything about it speaks volumes for GOP leaders.
Trump, Davenport, and the Orange County GOP top brass are not bizarre aberrations. They publicly echo the sentiment of a wide swath of Americans about President Obama, and that sentiment has nothing to do with any political criticism of his policies or criticism of him on the issues. Davenport’s racial belligerence on Obama and the party’s official inaction about it is just prove again that the GOP blows every chance it gets to show that it’s Obama’s policies, and not his race, that is their only concern.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is associate editor of New America Media. He hosts a national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington D.C. streamed on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on blogtalkradio.com and wfax.com and Internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter.