Friday, August 28, 2009

The GOP Needs A "Great White Hope"?!?

We already know the GOP is reeling to keep its footing in postracial America. We also know the GOP is about as diverse as a bag of marshmallows. So, when an elected official gets up and says what Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins just said, it's understandable that some might take it the wrong way.
U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins told a recent gathering in northeast Kansas that the Republican Party is looking for a "great white hope" to help stop President Barack Obama's political agenda.

Videotape shows Jenkins, a Republican, making the comment at an Aug. 19 forum. She was discussing the GOP's future after Democrats took control of the House and Senate and Obama became the nation's first black president. Jenkins is white.

"Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope," said Jenkins. "I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington." As examples, Jenkins mentioned Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Jenkins' spokeswoman Mary Geiger told the paper that Jenkins' remark was not meant to refer to "race, creed or any background." Said Geiger: "There's no doubt the Republican Party has gone through some dark and challenging times in recent years, but thankfully bright young leaders have stepped up to lead the party into the future and she hopes to be a part of it. That was the intent of her comments -- nothing more and nothing less. Congresswoman Jenkins apologizes for her choice of words."

The term stems from the early 1900s when there was a campaign to find a white boxer who could defeat heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, who was black.
For the record, I don't think Jenkins was trying to make this a racial issue. The term "Great White Hope" is really just a euphemism for "we need to pull the ultimate trick out our a$$es, cause it ain't lookin' good for 2012 right now". I am willing to give Jenkins the benefit of the doubt. The fact that she went on to mention three white guys (Cantor is Jewish) is merely a coincidence. Again, it ain't like the GOP has a bunch of brothas just waiting for their shot. Ya'll saw that convention in St. Paul last Fall. It looked like one of my corporate managerial retreats.

So, for those of you who label me some vicious race baiter, please circle today's date on your calendar. And cut the lady a break.

Question: Was Lynn Jenkins using racial codewords, or does the term "Great White Hope" just speak to the level of desperation that permeates the Republican party?

GOP Congresswoman: Party Looking For "Great White Hope" [TPM]

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