In any political operation, there’s this thing called “message discipline.” Not only does it mean staying on the talking points (“It’s the Economy, stupid!”), but of course it also means Don’t hand your opponent a gift by saying something so incredibly stupid and offensive that it lends itself to a headline like “Liberal Super PAC Goes After Mitch McConnell’s ‘Chinese’ Wife.'” Which, unfortunately, is exactly the idiotic thing that an as-yet unnamed volunteer for Progress Kentucky did on February 14.
The tweet implied that McConnell’s wife, Taiwan-born Elaine Chao, who served as George W. Bush’s Labor Secretary, might be “why your job moved to China!” To make matters worse,the tweet linked to an article at the conspiracy website rense.com, which is one of those places that makes WorldNetDaily look like friggin’ Reuters.
Since the story broke, ProgressKentucky’s messaging has been all over the place; instead of simply saying “This was unacceptable, we apologize, the volunteer has been asked not to return, and we are reviewing our social media strategy to insure it never happens again,” which is simply what the situation demands, a spokesman for the group initially said “It’s not an official statement. It’s a Tweet. And we will remove it if it’s wrong.” Almost two weeks later, the tweet is still up. Today, according to Think Progress, the group has
just released a second statement standing by its tweet and denying that it was racist in nature: “Senator Mitch McConnell has a conflict of interest that many are afraid to talk about, and Progress Kentucky is not,” the group said.
Indeed, Progress Kentucky’s twitter feed now links to a 2006 press release, from the time when Chao was Labor Secretary, which reports a fairly routine trade meeting between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Chao’s father James Chao, who was at the time the head of an American maritime company that bought cargo ships from a Chinese shipyard. The newest tweet proclaims “China Premier grateful to McConnell father-in-law/@KYGOP contributor-4 his role in developing China industry.”
If you don’t read carefully, it seems to imply something fishy; the tweet could easily be misread as suggesting that Chao’s father is somehow part of “Chinese industry,” not an American doing business with it. It’s the sort of bullshit xenophobia that we make fun of when Republicans do it, and it’s really kind of sickening to see a group that’s putatively on “our side” pulling this crap.
Just to be clear: Progress Kentucky, you are appealing to racism and xenophobia, and making all liberals look bad in the process. Knock it off, please. Grow up and call him “Yertle,” OK?
Also, Wonkaderos: this is why we get so pissy about ping pong ball jokes in association with Michelle Malkin. If you feel that is oppressive, you are free to take that shit elsewhere.
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