Friday, August 29, 2008

Snohomish County, WA Republicans hand out fake three dollar bills featuring Barack Obama with an Arab headdress.

Here's a local political story that has made national headlines. That's not the first time this has happened, but it is fairly rare. I first heard about this at Balloon Juice. Since then, I have seen in my local paper and also on the local newscast last night. Here is a bit of the backstory as related by the Seattle P-I.

A Snohomish County Republican volunteer was caught passing out a controversial kind of currency at the Evergreen State Fair earlier this week: a fake $3 bill depicting Sen. Barack Obama wearing an Arab headdress.

Republican leaders put a stop to the bill's distribution Tuesday, and the county's party chairwoman apologized for what the volunteer apparently believed was "just a real lark."

The bill features a smiling, shirt-collared image of the presidential candidate wearing a white headdress. It reads "the concerned states of America" and "the prince of platitudes" across the top, and bears the signatures of "Teddy Kennedy, Chief Socialism Advisor" and "Al Sharpton, New Spiritual Advisor."

There is an insignia of a camel, and the bill's serial number reads: IBD14UOK. (In other words, "I be de one for you, OK.")

Yeah, that’s not racist or lying about Obama’s religion or anything. A “real lark”. I saw one of those county “Republican leaders” on the local news last night, and this lady was a bit less apologetic than this story makes it sound. She said something like (and I admit I am paraphrasing here) the following. “Well, I am certainly not going to punish anyone for this. We told the person to stop handing them out. That’s the end of it. No one is going to get punished for something that they thought was just in good fun.”

That was pretty much the substance of the interview on the local newscast last night (Channel 5, KING TV, NBC affiliate, August 27). I heard very little in the way of an apology or an admission that this was very inappropriate. It’s all someone else’s fault for getting their little panties in a bunch over some silly, harmless joke. Except “harmless jokes” like that are used with the specific intent on spreading the notion that Obama is some scary Muslim who, when elected, will hand over control of the United States of America to some scary Muslim group.

I really dislike when someone gets caught saying something really dumb, they attempt to write it off a “just a joke.” Yeah, we Democrats never have been ones to take jokes very well. That was the same line that I heard from that insane preacher who was asking “the faithful” to pray for a “rainstorm of Biblical proportions” in Denver this week, just as Obama was scheduled to give his acceptance speech outdoors to a crowd that looked to be in excess of 80,000. Sure, that’s just a joke, folks.

I suppose I should take a bit of heart about all this. It's SO obvious that the Republicans have NOTHING to run on. Nothing. The Iraqis are getting ready to kick the U.S. military out of the country by 2011, I think. There goes our "war on terrah" and "staying until we win." The economy sucks. These people have nothing else left to do besides tear down their opponent. That's it.

As a bit of an aside, Dino Rossi is a Republican running for governor for Washington state. He had a number of commercials last night on television, on MSNBC, during the Democratic National Convention. I thought that in itself was odd. Plus, the message in his commericals was "working with both sides of the aisle", reaching out to all and solving problems, and trying to distance himself from George Bush. I thought that hilarious. Where was all this bipartisanship the last eight years? The only reason that the Republicans are bringing it up now is that it looks like a distinct possibility that they are going to get their clocks cleaning in a couple of months. Some Republicans in Washington have even dropped the "Republican" after their name on the ballot. They are putting "GOP" down instead. Yeah, that's going to fool a lot of people, fer sure. But again, it is a sign that many people WITHIN the Republican party realize, aside from their "never say die" base supporters, their brand is pretty radioactive.

I hope it happens. I should have a post up sometime today about Obama's acceptance speech last night. It was pretty electric.

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