As prepared for Delivery at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, December 6, 2007
Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind introduction.
It is an honor to be here today. This is an inspiring place because of you and the First Lady and because of the exaggerated film propping up your fragile ego exhibited across the way in the Presidential library. For those who have not seen it, it shows the President as a young pilot in a segregated unit, shot down during the Second World War, being rescued from his life-raft by the crew of an American submarine.
It is a moving reminder that when America has faced challenge and peril, Americans rise to the occasion, willing to risk their very lives to defend white anglo-saxon protestant privilege and preserve our economic and political supremacy. We are in your debt. Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. President, your generation rose to the occasion, first to defeat Fascism, and first to incorporate its ruthless cruelty and amoral ideology to unapologetically crush European style democratic socialism. You left us, your children, an ignorant, strong, and jingoistic America. It is why we call yours the greatest generation. It is now my generation’s turn. How we respond to today’s challenge to defend white anglo-saxon protestant privilege will define our generation. And it will determine what kind of America we will leave our children, and theirs.
America faces a new generation of challenges. Radical violent Islamofascists seek to destroy us. An emerging yellow peril in China endeavors to surpass our economic leadership. And we are troubled at home by government overspending on unproductive black welfare cheats, overuse of foreign oil, and the invasion of our borders by illegal aliens.
Over the last year, we have embarked on a national debate on how best to preserve white anglo-saxon privilege. Today, I wish to address a topic, which I believe is fundamental to America’s greatness: our shallow religiosity. I will also offer perspectives on how I would use faith to pander to and trick bigoted, anti-Morman evangelicals into giving me the Presidency.
There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation’s founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator to enslave the African and kill the Indian. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of white supremacy and the promotion of theocracy.
Fascism requires the complicity of religious zealots just as religious zealotry requires fascism. Fascism opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs in communion with a God that validates his evil. Fascism and religious zealotry endure together, or perish alone. Given our grand tradition of religiosity and faux liberty, some wonder whether there are any questions regarding an aspiring candidate’s religion that are appropriate. I believe there are. And I will answer them today.
Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was a right-wing anti-communist war hawk running for President, not a Catholic running for President. Like him, I am right-wing anti-communist war hawk running for President. Unlike him, I define my candidacy by a phony profession of religiosity. A person should not be elected unless he is willing to shamelessly pander to right-wing people of faith.
Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert visible influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, exercised secretly within the nefarious province of religious institutional back channels, and it ends wherever the limitations of their imaginations begin.
As Governor, I tried to position myself to run for President as best I knew how, serving my ambition and subverting the Constitution. I openly comingled the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution – and of course, I would unapologetically do so as President. I am not above using any doctrine of any church to obtain the plain power of the office to subvert the sovereign authority of the law.
As a young man, Karl Rove described what he called America’s ‘political religion’ – God, Guns, and Gays. When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my ticket to unlimited power. If I am fortunate to become your President, I will serve no one religion, no one group, and no one cause, except white anglo-saxon protestant privilege. A President must serve only the common cause of the white people of the United States.
There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I sometimes endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers – I will be as true to them and to my beliefs as the political expediency of this campaign will allow.
Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, they can kiss my grits. But I think they underestimate the shallow stupidity of the American people. Americans claim not to respect believers of convenience but never seem to tire of voting for those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world.
There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? The answer that I am required to give to be elected is that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. I say that to distract you about the fact that my church’s beliefs about Christ may not be the same as those of other faiths. I will then appeal to our country’s fake tradition of religious tolerance after reassuring you that what I believe isn’t all that different from the theology of the evangelical rubes I need to win the nomination.
There are some who would have a Republican presidential candidate describe and explain his church’s distinctive doctrines, which enables the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. However, the reality is that no non-believer will ever be nominated by the Republican Party. And if the besotted wingnut we eventually nominate ever becomes President, you all better get on your knees and pray.
I believe that every GOP candidate I have encountered claims to be closer to God than me. And in every candidate in my party I have come to know, there are features in each I wish were in my own: I love the profound and shameless hypocrisy of the Catholic adulterer Giuliani, the slick Willie approachability of the Evangelical Huckabee, the lazy spirit of the Pentecostal Thompson, the confident fanaticism of the libertarian Ron Paul, the ancient Episcopalian McCain, unchanged through the ages, and the endless commitment to the frequent, fruitless prayer to God for the miracle it will take to elect Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter or any one of us for that matter.
As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of our electoral bread and butter.It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the Republicans in America, we share a common creed of amoral religiosity. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it’s usually a sound rule to focus on the latter – on the vacuous religious principles that urge us all on a common course.
Whether it was the cause of abolishing Affirmative Action, or denying America’s racist holocaust, no movement of false conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the racial delusions of white people.
We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for no good reason. Religion should dictate to the state and no state should interfere with the free practice of theocracy. The secular humanists are intent on driving religion from the public square and they are wrong. The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square.
We are one nation ‘Under a greedy capitalist God’ and in God, we do indeed trust. We should begrudgingly acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders – in word but not in deed. God should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of historical propaganda, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places.
Our greatness would not long endure without the respect earned by our cluster bombing warmongering, upon which our political power as a nation rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any non-white Christians, but I will not separate us from ‘the God who’s blind to our tyranny.’ Nor would I separate us from our religious heritage.
Perhaps the most important question to ask a person of faith who seeks a political office, is this: does he share these American values: a fealty to helping the rich escape taxation, the obligation to serve the fascist power structure, and a steadfast commitment to white supremacy? They are not unique to any one conservative. They belong to the great amoral indifference we hold in common. They are the firm ground on which Republicans of different faiths meet and stand as a fascist theocracy, united.
We believe that every single white human being is a child of God – we are all part of God’s chosen people. The conviction of the inherent and inalienable worth of every white life is still the most elementary political proposition ever advanced. Trent Lott put it, “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”
White Americans acknowledge that white privilege is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government. No people in the history of the world have sacrificed so many for privilege. The lives of hundreds of thousands of America’s sons and daughters were laid down during the last century to preserve white supremacy, for us and for freedom loving Europeans throughout the world.
America obviously learned nothing from that Century’s terrible wars. –Which is probably why we let the ignorant patrician in the White House lie us into a quagmire in Iraq. America‘s resolve in the defense of false religiosity has been tested time and again. It has not been found wanting, nor must it ever be. America must never falter in holding high the banner of fascist theocracy.
These American values, this great amoral heritage, is shared and lived in my religion as it is in yours. I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbors. I ignored my father marching with Martin Luther King. I forgot my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby, and in just as consequential ways in leading national volunteer movements. Totally ignoring my parents noblesse oblige, I am now deeply moved by George Herbert Walker Bush’s broken pledge: Read my lips: No new Taxes.
My faith is grounded on these truths. You can witness them in Ann and my sickening “Father Knows Best” marriage and in our family. We are a long way from perfect, I don’t think Ann has ever had an orgasm, and we have surely stumbled along the way, but our aspirations, our values, are the self-same as those Republicans from the other faiths that stand upon this common, porous foundation of phony religiosity. And these convictions will indeed deform my presidency.
Today’s generations of Republicans have always known of a Bush in the White House. Perhaps we forget the long and arduous path the Bushes took to achieve it. They came here to Texas from Connecticut to seek freedom from patrician obligation. Upon finding it for themselves, they ran for office in the longest quest for dynastic power in the nation’s history.
After twelve years of supply-side mismanagement, they found themselves out of power. Eager to get back in the game and repulsed by her liberal beliefs, Ann Richards was destroyed to make way for Dubya and she was exiled from Texas so the fortunate son could propel himself from Austin to D.C. As a former governor of Massachusetts and the father of five sons, perhaps I can install one of my boys in the White House just like the ignorant patrician’s daddy did for him.
It was in Houston that founding father Bush defined a revolutionary vision of dynastic power, grounded in self evident truths about the supremacy of oil, and the inalienable right to plunder the world in search of it, which is endowed by the Creator. We cherish these sacred rights, and secure them by shredding the Constitutional order.In such a fluid campaign, I am deeply thankful that we live in a land where hypocrisy and religiosity are friends and allies in the cause of fascist theocracy, joined against the evils and dangers of another Clinton presidency.
And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, had better do it with one eye open because I am liable to say or do anything to win this race. In that spirit, let us give thanks to the divine ‘author of liberty.’ And together, let us pray that this land may always be blessed with a nuclear arsenal capable of annihilating our enemies.
God bless the United States of Hypocrisy.
Harold Melton and Clarence Thomas
“The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.”-William Faulkner
The news broke late Friday that the Georgia Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, overturned Genarlow Wilson’s conviction for aggravated child molestation, and the 10-year mandatory sentence that he received as a result of engaging in consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 and both were in High School.
In reading the dissenting opinion, I discovered that Georgia’s newest State Supreme Court Justice, Harold Melton, a 41 year old African American and appointee of Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, is an undercover confederate with a disturbing penchant for distorting the rule of law. Justice Melton signed on to a dissent in the Wilson case that only Federalist Society fascists like Clarence Thomas could love.
The gross overcharging of Genarlow Wilson by Douglas County District Attorney David McDade, a racist if their ever was one, was a perversion of the law not intended by the legislature that echoes Douglas County’s only recorded lynching.
“In Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia 1880-1930,” “The lynching of Peter Stamps on July 24, 1885, in Douglas County, Georgia, is another example of the severe consequences of defying the color line in sexual relationships. For almost a year, Stamps, a black tenant farmer, had been the lover of his employer’s sixteen-year-old daughter without arousing suspicions. But when the girl became pregnant, the romance could no longer be kept secret.”
“Stamps was promptly arrested for rape even though the girl adamantly refused to accuse him. While he was being transported to the county jail, a mob seized him and hanged him. The tragic affair ended when the young girl committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.”
In Douglas County, Georgia, Genarlow Wilson isn’t the first young person destroyed because of an unhealthy adult preoccupation with consensual, pre-marital sex among teens. While all of the participants in the titillating sex party that was recorded on videotape were black, the unfettered white power to destroy their lives for a horrible youthful mistake remains the same. All of the boys were branded as sex offenders for life. None of them, however, served the time Genarlow Wilson did because he fought the charges, especially the rape charge for which he was acquitted.
Because of that fact, I do not believe the District Attorney’s feigned concern for the girl who claimed that she was raped because after his fairness was challenged in the media, he distributed 35 copies of the videotape, which meets the statutory definition of child pornography, to the public. Those are not the actions of man who believes he’s trying to protect a girl from unscrupulous teenage predators, but rather, they are the actions of a racist trying to cover his ass by clouding the issues and smearing Genarlow Wilson as some kinda teenage R. Kelly.
A real black man or woman would know and understand that and conduct themselves accordingly. His two black colleagues on the court certainly did. Unfortunately, Harold Melton is not a real black man. He’s nothing more than a Clarence Thomas clone and a colored confederate faking the funk and fighting on the wrong side.
Black Judges like Clarence Thomas and Harold Melton are fully aware of the historical context of the racial struggles of the African American community and are capable of meting out justice in cases like Genarlow’s, but they are too blinded and ashamed to acknowledge the tawdry sex scandal that gave birth to their own nefarious power.
Their power is the result of illicit fornication between Machiavellian southern rednecks and northern patricians in the Republican Party who unapologetically manipulate the inflammatory symbols of segregation, white supremacy and the irrational fear of black crime, to enrage and corral a provincial white electorate into voting GOP slates of pinstripe troglodytes like Douglas County DA David McDade into office. Their mission: reverse the gains of the civil rights movement and keep colored folk like us in a designated place of impotent subordination.
In the same manner that George Herbert Walker Bush used Willie Horton to exploit the irrational and racist white fear of black crime, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue used the issue of changing Georgia’s confederate emblazoned Flag, demanded by African Americans and their white democratic allies, to inflame a bigoted rural electorate against his democratic opponent, former Governor Roy Barnes.
Sean Wilentz, writing for Salon.com, breaks down the implicit racism employed by the maniacal right, “Republican politicians then exploited the issue, with all its blatant racial overtones. The Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue, backed by Georgia Republican state chairman and former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, upheld the honor of those who died defending slavery, and pledged that, if elected, he would push for a statewide referendum to restore the old flag, nearly two-thirds of it taken up by the Confederate emblem.”
“The tactic worked like a charm, especially in Georgia where the Democrat Barnes had been expected to win reelection handily. The election returns clearly show that rural white voters switched in droves to vote Republican, and that the flag controversy was one important reason why.”
“… a victorious Sonny Perdue, appearing against a backdrop of Confederate emblems, jubilantly exclaimed, with dubious taste, a line from an old black spiritual made famous by another Georgian, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last! Since then, Gov.-elect Perdue has backed off from his pledge to restore the old flag, and said with a straight face that the issue was only a “small” reason for his victory. And so his campaign appeals seem to have been just a cynical ploy, in a long tradition of Southern racial demagogy.”
Once elected Governor, Perdue plucked Harold Melton out of the obscurity of the Attorney General’s Office and made him his chief counsel. A black Republican of long standing, Melton graduated from Auburn University and interned for Alabama Republican Governor Guy Hunt, a right-wing crook indicted and removed from office for diverting $2oo, 000 dollars from his inaugural ball fund to personal use.
Upon Melton’s graduation from law school at the University of Georgia, he spent 11 years in the Georgia Attorney General’s office, most of it under Mike Bowers, a sanctimonious, homophobic party switcher with gubernatorial ambitions who zealously persecuted gay people using Georgia’s antediluvian sodomy laws while simultaneously carrying on a decade long extramarital affair with his secretary.
Melton absorbed his patron’s homophobia and facilitated Sonny Perdue’s demagogic crusade to “preserve marriage” as the Governor’s Chief Counsel. After Perdue had solidified his credentials as a southern redneck, and he couldn’t fulfill his promise to restore the flag because of a hostile legislature, he moved on to exploit homophobia to distract the same fools fixated on preserving their southern heritage of hate. Perdue shrewdly gave them the gays to demonize and focus their hatred on. Georgia’s passage of a so-called “marriage amendment” solidified the GOP stranglehold on state government and assured Perdue’s re-election.
As a reward, Melton was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, pissing off a lot of white conservatives who believed that the first GOP appointment should have gone to one of their white wingnut fellow travelers. His vote against Genarlow Wilson and in a death penalty case I will subsequently discuss, should have quieted all the talk about Melton not being sufficiently conservative.
Melton, the Death Penalty, and Georgia’s history of lynching
I have never been amused by the Republican habit of dismissing and ignoring the history and persistence of racially motivated murder in this country. Between 1882 and 1968, 492 lynchings of black men and women took place in Georgia, 479 of them murdered at the hands of white mobs, a number that ranks Georgia second only to Mississippi in the savage sweepstakes of white supremacist killing.
This next vignette of hate should have some significance to the Governor because it happened six months before he was born, and directly implicated a gubernatorial predecessor. In July, the Associated Press wrote about how they uncovered evidence, through the use of the Freedom of Information Act, that implicated former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge, a virulent racist, in the lynching of two black couples after his 1946 re-election.
“Talmadge, who died just months after his 1946 election to a fourth term, dominated Georgia politics in the 1930s and 1940s with a mix of racism and pocketbook populism.He came under FBI scrutiny because of a visit he made to the north Georgia town of Monroe two days before the Democratic gubernatorial primary and a day after a highly charged racial incident there, a fight in which a black sharecropper stabbed and severely wounded a white farmer.”
“The sharecropper was one of the four people who would later be lynched.In a report sent to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the agent in charge of the investigation said Talmadge met with George Hester, the brother of the stabbed farmer. Citing an unconfirmed witness statement, the agent said Talmadge offered immunity to anyone “taking care of negro.”
“…The lynchings of Roger and Dorothy Malcom, and George and Mae Murray Dorsey on July 25, 1946, came eight days after the election and followed weeks of simmering tensions. There were rumors that George Dorsey, an Army veteran, had secretly been dating a white woman — a taboo in the segregated South. And the town’s white establishment was enraged with Roger Malcom, who was imprisoned after stabbing white farmer Barney Hester.”
“Malcom was waiting in jail when white farmer Loy Harrison paid $600 to bail him out. Harrison said he was driving Malcom, his wife and the other couple home, when he was ambushed by a white mob that surrounded his car near the Moore’s Ford Bridge. As many as 30 people converged on the vehicle and pulled out the two couples, dragged them down a nearby trail and tied them to trees.”
“Then the mob fired three volleys of bullets at the couples, leaving their dead bodies slumped behind in the dirt. One of the victims, Dorothy Malcom, was seven months’ pregnant. An outraged President Truman dispatched FBI agents to Monroe, about 45 miles east of Atlanta. But the local community — both white and black — clammed up.”
“…Black families, who often sharecropped on white farms, were “frightened and even terrified” when approached by FBI agents. One farmer fled into a cotton field and had to be chased down, eventually telling an investigator he had been warned not to talk.”
Baby Boomers like Sonny Perdue turn a blind eye to the cruelty and malevolence of their parents’ generation and the six lynchings, which occurred in his home county in the twentieth century. His guilt is submerged into the “good works” he performs like opening his home to a black foster child or his close personal and professional relationships with a few people of color. However, when Perdue’s back was against the wall, like Eugene Talmage’s was in the election of 1946, he resorted to the same bag of tricks and he drew from the well white supremacy and division because of a desperation to seize power. His desire to paper over the racial divisions he created with appointments like Harold Melton only makes the problem of racial discrimination worse.
The spirit of fear inculcated and bred into black people by enduring generations of racist terror like the aforementioned lynching, is all over the next case. The manner in which Georgia carries out the death penalty more closely resembles a lynching than a carefully designed legal process, which respects the constitutional rights of the accused. Just weeks before the prevaricator from Pin Point, Georgia, Clarence Thomas, was disingenuously accusing his inquisitors of subjecting him to “a high-tech lynching” a real one was taking place in a Savannah, Georgia courtroom, in a town he claims to know well.
The case of Troy Anthony Davis, a death row inmate, is one that shocks the conscience. Convicted of the murder of a white police officer and the shooting of a black teenager, his conviction was obtained as a result of the perjured testimony of African American witnesses coerced to appear by a racist and incompetent Savannah police force. The state had no physical evidence in this case tying Davis to the crime and all but three of the “witnesses” recanted their testimony. Don’t believe me? Read for yourself.
Affidavit of Darrell Collins:
“When I got to the barracks, the police put me in a small room and some detectives came in and started yelling at me, telling me that I knew that Troy Davis…killed that officer by the Burger King. I told them that… I didn’t see Troy do nothing. They got real mad when I said this and started getting in my face. They were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would pay like Troy was gonna pay if I didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. They told me that I would go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed.”
“… I didn’t want to go to jail because I didn’t do nothing wrong. I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail. They kept saying that…[Troy] had messed with that man up at Burger King and killed that officer. I told them that it was Red and not Troy who was messing with that man, but they didn’t want to hear that…After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said.”
From the Affidavit of Antoine Williams:
“I couldn’t really tell what was going on because I had the darkest shades of tint you could possibly have on my windows of my car. As soon as I heard the shot and saw the officer go down, I ducked down under the dash of my car. I was scared for my life and I didn’t want to get shot myself.”
“…Later that night, some cops asked me what had happened. I told them what is written here [in the affidavit]. They asked me to describe the shooter and what he looked like and what he was wearing. I kept telling them that I didn’t know. It was dark, my windows were tinted, and I was scared. It all happened so fast. Even today, I know that I could not honestly identify with any certainty who shot the officer that night. I couldn’t then either. After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read.”
From the Affidavit of Benjamin Gordon:
“Later that night, police officers came and dragged me from my house in Yamacraw. There were police officers everywhere after the police officer was killed and it seemed like they were taking everyone in Yamacraw to the police barracks for questioning. I was handcuffed and they put a nightstick under my neck. I had just turned sixteen and was scared as hell.”
“The police officers took me to the barracks and put me in a small room. Over the next couple of hours, three or so officers questioned me – at first, they called me a motherfuc*er and told me that I had shot the officer. They told me that I was going to the electric chair. They got in my face and yelled at me a lot. The cops then told me that I did the shooting over in Cloverdale.”
“I just kept telling them that I didn’t do anything, but they weren’t hearing that. After four or five hours, they told me to sign some papers. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I didn’t read what they told me to sign and they didn’t ask me to.”
In their zeal to avenge the killing of a white police officer, police misconduct mimicked an angry lynch mob hell bent in defending white supremacy by pinning any nigger with the crime. This case has bounced between state and federal courts for 16 years and they have continued to reject any claim of innocence and refused to consider affidavits recanting perjured testimony.
A law signed by Bill Clinton makes it all but impossible to considered new evidence of innocence in the federal courts, and a ruling in Herrera v. Collins, a U.S. Supreme Court Case in which Clarence Thomas was in the majority, allows states to execute people they know for certain are innocent of the crimes for which they have been sentenced to death. You read that right. Clarence Thomas ruled that there is no constitutional problem with executing innocent people.
In the last eight years, six brothas-Willie Williams, Calvin Johnson, Robert Clark, Douglas Echols, Samuel Scott and Clarence Harrison, have been exonerated by the state of Georgia after being convicted on the basis of false eyewitness testimony.
Apparently, Harold Melton is ignorant of these cases and is following in Clarence Thomas’s corrupt footsteps because when Troy Davis reached the end of the line, and his execution date was set, he voted against the Georgia Supreme Court hearing this case to consider evidence of witness recantation and claims of actual innocence, something appellate courts rarely do after they’ve already heard the case. Melton, in effect, voted to kill this brotha and proved that he is possessed by the same spirit of evil that has Clarence Thomas in its grip.
Melton faces the electorate for the first time next year. So let the word go forth, from this time and place, that its open season on Sonny Perdue’s colored confederate, in solidarity with Genarlow and Troy, because Melton’s anti-black jurisprudence is the historical fruit of the poisonous tree of white supremacy and further proof that “The past is not dead. In fact, its not even past.”
photo by Buddy Stone courtesy of Flickr
Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective Sept. 30, four state GOP officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Word of the resignation came four days after the disclosure that Craig had pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge arising out of his June 11 arrest during a lewd-conduct investigation at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The three-term Republican senator had maintained that he did nothing wrong except for making the guilty plea without consulting a lawyer. But he found almost no support among Republicans in his home state or Washington.
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter appeared Friday to have already settled on a successor: Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, according to several Republicans familiar with internal deliberations.
Craig’s spokesman, Dan Whiting, had said earlier that the senator would announce his career plans Saturday. The spokesman would not say whether Craig intended to resign.
Craig has been out of public view since Tuesday, when he declared defiantly at a Boise news conference: “I am not gay. I never have been gay.” But Republican sources in Idaho said he spent Friday making calls to top party officials, including the governor, gauging their support.
There has been virtually none publicly.
Asked Friday at the White House if the senator should resign, President Bush said nothing and walked off stage.
Republican officeholders and party leaders maintained a steady drumbeat of actions and words aimed at persuading Craig to vacate his Senate seat.
GOP lawmakers, hoping to get the embarrassment to the party behind them quickly, stripped Craig of leadership posts on Wednesday, one day after they called for an investigation of Craig’s actions by the Senate Ethics Committee. Craig complied with the request.
With his wife, Suzanne, at his side, Craig said he had kept the incident from aides, friends and family and later pleaded guilty “in hopes of making it go away.”
Craig, 62, has represented Idaho in Congress for more than a quarter-century and was up for re-election next year.
Republican officeholders and party leaders wanted Craig to give up his seat in the Senate as soon as possible. Their preference, according to several officials, was for a successor to be selected and ready to take the oath of office when the Senate returns from its summer vacation next week.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called Craig’s conduct “unforgivable” and acknowledged that many in the rank and file thought Craig should resign.
Republicans, worried about the scandal’s effect on next year’s election, suffered a further setback Friday when veteran Virginia Sen. John Warner announced he will retire rather than seek a sixth term. Democrats captured Virginia’s other Senate seat from the GOP in the 2006 election and have sought to line up former Gov. Mark Warner to run if the seat became open.
The contest for control of the next Senate was already tilted against Republicans, who must defend 22 of 34 seats on the ballot next year, before the Craig scandal and Warner’s announcement.
With a GOP candidate other than Craig, Republicans would stand a much better chance of keeping his Idaho seat in 2008. Idaho is one of the nation’s most reliably Republican states. The GOP controls the statehouse and all four seats in Congress, and Bush carried the state in 2004 with 68 percent of the vote.
Risch, the lieutenant governor, served for seven months as governor last year after former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne was named interior secretary. Risch had said earlier he was interested in Craig’s Senate seat if Craig did not seek re-election in 2008.
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, also had been mentioned as a possible replacement for Craig, but the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because Craig has not resigned, said Otter would choose Risch.
Mark Warbis, a spokesman for Otter, said the governor would not comment until he hears from Craig.
Craig served in the House before winning his first Senate term in 1990 and compiled a strongly conservative voting record.
On Thursday, the Minneapolis airport authorities released a tape recording of Craig’s interrogation minutes after he encountered a plainclothes officer in an adjacent stall in an airport restroom.
Craig and airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia disagreed about virtually everything that had occurred — including whether there was a piece of paper on the floor of the stall and the meaning of the senator’s hand gestures.
Craig denied that he had used foot and hand gestures to signal interest in a sexual encounter.
“I’m not gay. I don’t do these kinds of things,” Craig told the officer. “You shouldn’t be out to entrap people.”
Karsnia accused Craig of lying and grew exasperated with his denials.
“Embarrassing, embarrassing. No wonder why we’re going down the tubes,” Karsnia said
Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, made the following statement at 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.
BOISE, Idaho — “First, please let me apologize to my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans for the obvious and unnecessary lie I’m about to tell. I did nothing at the Minneapolis airport I’m willing to cop to. I regret my stupid decision to plead guilty and the shame and derision that has brought to my wife, family, friends, staff, and fellow Idahoans. For that, I offer this, the lamest apology in the history of all mankind.
“In June, I overreacted, told the truth, and it was a politically poor decision. While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, somehow, for the second year in a row, I keep being exposed as someone with the proclivity to solicit sex in a public toilet. I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends, or family. That was a stupid mistake, and I deeply regret it. I could have lawyered up and muddied the waters sufficiently to get this charge thrown out, but I didn’t for rather transparent reasons. I have now retained counsel and I am asking my counsel to review this matter to see if he can get me out of this s#*tstorm.
“For a moment, I want to put my state of mind into context on June 11. For eight months leading up to June, I had been relentlessly and viciously exposed for what I am by the Idaho Statesman. If you’ve seen today’s paper, you know why. Let me be clear: I am not willing to admit to being gay and never have been.
“Still, without leaving me a shred of dignity, the Statesman has exposed my extra curricular fornication. In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the Idaho Statesman’s persecution and the deliciously sarcastic gossip it has fueled around Idaho. Again, that overreaction was a mistake, because if my Republican colleagues were willing to let the obvious lies of Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and Alberto Gonzales pass unchallenged for years, I don’t understand why they can’t back me up one more time. Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and should have immediately hired an attorney and public relations mouthpiece to spin the lie of the century on my behalf. I wasn’t eager to face the music, but I should have done so anyway.
“I love my wife, family, friends, staff and Idaho. But I love serving Idaho in Congress more. Over the years, I have accomplished nothing for Idaho, and I desperately hope Idahoans will allow me to continue to do that. There are still fascist goals I would like to accomplish and hypocrisy I’d like to revel in. I still cling to the delusion that I can be an effective leader for the religious right. Next month, I will announce the fact that I will not seek re-election. I am just putting this face-saving B.S. out there as a Hail Mary pass to see whether or not there are enough gullible troglodytes left in Idaho to vote me back into the Senate.
“As an elected official, I fully realize that my life is open for public ridicule and scrutiny, and I take full responsibility for the “brilliant idea” of blaming the Media for exposing my hypocrisy and the mistake in judgment I made in attempting to handle this matter myself.”
“It is clear, though, that through my actions I am obviously lying to Idahohans and the American people. For that, I ask the people of Idaho on bended knee to please look the other way and let this pass down the memory hole like Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Iraq, Impeachment, and all the rest of the crap in Washington. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzze let me be a Senator again!!!!!!!!”
The comb-over caucus met again for another one of their forgetable debates yesterday morning on This Week with Georgie the Greek. On display was the full panoply of GOP wingnuttia and delusional posturing on abortion, immigration, and the War in Iraq. It was truly not worth watching except that the applause of partisans cheering for their guy was totally unexpected.
The buzz being generated on the right by Ron Paul is interesting. First, he’s foresquare against the war and they applauded him lustily for it. Second, he’s a former libertarian Presidential candidate and has generated fanatical enthusiasm from the small government and anti-tax zealots that dwell therein. Third, his fundraising is picking up substantially. His candidacy is harnessing the resurgence of far right wing extremism and in that respect, his candidacy is reminesent of Barry Goldwater’s in 1964. He is not a traditional Republican by any means. He’s too far to the right. Crony capitalism is not his deal. He’s all about drowning government in the bathtub.
My favorite line of the debate was Mitt Romney’s shot across the bow to Barack Obama. He said “He’s willing to have tea with our enemies and to bomb our allies,” or something to that effect. It was a great line and a signal to the sentient that this crowd are the most dangerous reactionaries to ever seek the presidency in a long time. Nothing will be settled in this contest until Fred Thompson joins them on stage and his full campaign platform is unveiled for all to see.
After the mauling that Giuliani took on abortion, I was surprised that the NYPD didn’t storm the stage to arrest his challengers. In the perfect police state of his fantasies, this is what would happen.
Hat Tip: The Hill by Klaus Marre
With the second quarter drawing to a close, the presidential campaign of former North Carolina senator John Edwards (D) on Wednesday again turned to one of its most reliable “fundraisers,” Ann Coulter.
In an e-mail to supporters, Edwards’ wife Elizabeth described why she called in to MSNBC’s “Hardball” Tuesday. The show featured the conservative pundit, who has often attacked Edwards. This week Coulter proclaimed “If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.
Elizabeth Edwards said she decided to call the show to appeal to Coulter to stop the attacks. “I told her these kinds of personal attacks lower our political dialogue at precisely the time when we need to raise it, and set a bad example for our children,” she said. “How did she respond? Sadly, perhaps predictably, with more personal attacks.”
The e-mail is coupled with an appeal for campaign donations. “Please give what you can right now to help raise the dialogue and show that Ann Coulter-style politics will never carry the day,” Mrs. Edwards wrote.
It is the second time in as many quarters that the Edwards campaign is using Coulter for a fundraising appeal. In March, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate raised “Coulter cash” after the right-wing pundit called the senator a “faggot.”
Elizabeth Edwards is a good one, Y’all. I woulda cursed the heifer out. It may not have solved anything but at least it would have made me feel better. I then woulda cursed out Chris Matthews for his craven ratings grasping. The fascist strumpet is a mouthpiece of hate and doesn’t deserve the platform. It only legitimizes her hate. He is beneath contempt.