Romney’s Latest Position on Health Care »« Major Life Changes

Today’s WTF Political Position

Here’s one of those baffling statements by a politician that just leaves you scratching your head trying to figure out what the point could possibly be. A member of the RNC’s executive committee says that a governor meeting with a group of Native Americans is insulting the memory of George Custer.

A progressive group called on Republican National Committee leader Pat Rogers to step down on Friday after emails showed him telling New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s staff that meeting with a group of American Indians “dishonored” Gen. George Armstrong Custer, the 19th century commander who killed scores of American Indians.

“The state is going to hell,” Rogers, who is a member of the GOP executive committee and is currently in Tampa for the RNC convention, wrote in a June 8 email released by Progress Now New Mexico. Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Col. Allen Weh “would not have dishonored Col Custer in this manner,” he wrote.

Uh, what?

Comments

  1. eric says

    Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Col. Allen Weh “would not have dishonored Col Custer in this manner,”

    Refusing to meet with a group representing 10% of the state’s population might be one of the reasons you have to refer to Weh as a former candidate.

  2. d cwilson says

    Shit. I knew the GOP has been chomping at the bit to refight the Civil War, but they also want to refight the Indian Wars, too?

    WTF is wrong with these people?

  3. blf says

    I loved this take on the incident:

    “Well, there’s an entirely different angle to this,” added Chris Stearns, a Navajo lawyer and chairman of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. “I think you could argue that when Gov. Martinez met with Pat Rogers, she disrespected the memory of intelligent people everywhere.”

    That squishy mess over there are all that remains of the governor and clewless racist, both flattened by a well-aimed snark.

  4. Michael Heath says

    . . . [Gov. Martinez] meeting with a group of American Indians “dishonored” Gen. George Armstrong Custer, the 19th century commander who killed scores of American Indians.

    “The state is going to hell,” [Pat] Rogers . . .

    Ed:

    Uh, what?

    I think he means, “I see brown people in power.”

  5. imrryr says

    On another article about this idiot I read this one comment by some troll and/or idiot named Peter Cornswalled:

    We should all stand beside Pat Rogers for giving voice to the very real fact that God first struck down the Indians with a plague, killing 90% of their numbers, then sent Christian settlers to finish the job.

    Giving those who refuse to convert any heed is a blight on the memory of those who did God’s work purging them in the first place.

    I thought this had to be a joke, so I looked at the commenter’s various blogs and after reading screeds about how rape by pregnancy doesn’t exist, and feminists want men castrated, I found his Santorum presidency fanfiction: http://santorumpresidency.blogspot.com/

    Still not sure if it’s all a joke or not…

  6. d cwilson says

    And from Progress Now New Mexico:

    Rogers is referring to the governor’s attendance at the annual state-tribal leaders summit, a meeting the governor is required by law to attend.

    So Rogers has completely flipped out because the governor followed the law.

  7. d cwilson says

    We should all stand beside Pat Rogers for giving voice to the very real fact that God first struck down the Indians with a plague,

    God did have help in that regard. Those “Christian settlers” gave blankets to the Native Americans laced with small pox.

  8. D. C. Sessions says

    And here he is talking to someone named Martinez, dishonoring those Americans who fought and died in the Mexican-American War.

  9. Chiroptera says

    This is even worse than it appears.

    It is not only that the 19th century North American genocide was justified or inevitable…

    …they are saying that contemporary Native Americans today should be disenfranchised.

  10. says

    As if we need further proof how hard to the right the GOP has swung.

    Barry Goldwater, that one-time archetype of Conservative America, fought hard in the Senate in support of Native American treaty rights. He may have just been currying the support of Arizona’s First Nations, but he said it was because the treaties were legal contracts and conservatives honor their agreements.

    It would seem that the TP wing doesn’t give a wipe about honor.

  11. steve oberski says

    In Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies the author Jared Diamond claims that up to 95% of the native population of the entire Americas were wiped out by European introduced infections to which they had no immunity without ever coming into contact with a European and by the time the European expansion into the Americas began in earnest the Mesoamerican civilization was effectively destroyed.

  12. Chiroptera says

    steve oberski, #14:

    Whether or not the Europeans can be held culpable for the deaths of that 95% is kind of beside the point; what most of us are outraged by is how the remaining 5% were lied to, murdered, and forcibly relocated.

  13. says

    We should give General Custer all due respect. Grind his monument to gravel and spread it under the nearest cesspool, and build an old fashioned outhouse over his grave.
    All due respect, I say.

  14. jesse says

    @Steve oberski–

    Yes, point is,

    a) De Soto’s trip to the Mississippi effectively signed the death warrant for the whole stretch of town-based civilizations. That wasn’t his fault. Raping, pillaging and the like, however, was.

    b) White people in the Americas chose to kill, to rape, to steal. Nobody put a gun to anyone’s head and said, “hey Pilgrim, better burn that Native village to the ground.” Nobody forced Col. Chivington’s troops to cut off the breasts of women they encountered. Nobody forced Jackson to ignore his own Supreme Court and set the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. Nobody forced the US government to effectively ignore treaty obligations and embark on genocidal policy. Nobody forced the government to mine uranium on Navajo land and decide that the workers there were just expendable.

    Forget the plagues. All that is our fault, as settlers. The only way to compensate people for that is to act and that means respecting treaty rights, it means paying what’s owed, it means allowing the reservation governments to set policy without BIA interference. And it means in some cases, giving land back. We have whole organizations set up to return lost property to holocaust victims. But we let the thieves stay on land that was taken illegally by our very own rules and often within living memory — this isn’t some 12th century or even 19th-century dispute. This stuff all happens right now.

  15. jamessweet says

    Note that it appears he said this in private e-mails that later become public. Which means this is less of a calculated “political position”, and probably more just some racist bullshit this guy actually believes. That makes it a little less WTF-y (though still just as shockingly disgusting)

  16. raven says

    It makes perfect sense and is quite clever for a Tea Partier. I’m sure most of them are in awe of Pat Rogers.

    The guiding principle of the GOP/Tea Party seems to be to hate and oppress anyone who isn’t an old white rich xian male.

    So far on their list of future victims we have, gays, atheists, women, hispanics, blacks, educated people, Moslems, nonwhites, poor people, and other nonxians.

    There are a few groups missing here though.

    The native Americans!!! Just about everyone has forgotten about the native Americans.

    I’m sure there are a few more groups that some genius in the GOP will discover. No one has yet mentioned the native Hawaiians, Eskimos, Aleuts, American Laplanders, or Amerian-Australian aborigines. So many people to hate and oppress, so little time.

  17. raven says

    So far on their list of future victims we have, gays, atheists, women, hispanics, blacks, educated people, Moslems, nonwhites, poor people, and other nonxians.

    If you look at the list of people the GOP/Tea Party hates and will oppress, it’s actually most of the American people.

    In fact, many people fall into two or more categories.

    The big mystery is that many of these people will vote for the Tea Party anyway. Polls show the election will be close, too close to call right now.

  18. eric says

    Raven:

    So far on their list of future victims we have, gays, atheists, women, hispanics, blacks, educated people, Moslems, nonwhites, poor people, and other nonxians.

    [channeling Tea party] A classic example of liberal bias. This list is a complete mischaracteriation of our position! We would never include atheists AND Moslims as separate groups, that would be redundant![/channeling]

  19. says

    Of the many, many stupid things about this, there is also the minor issue that the Battle of Little Big Horn took place in modern-day Montana, which means that the natives of New Mexico had about as much to do with it as they did with the Battle of Stalingrad.

  20. jakc says

    7 of the 10 poorest counties in this country are on reservations, with all or much of the county being reservation land and most of the people being American Indians. Perhaps its time we stopped worrying about what did or didn’t happen 136 or 200 years ago, and start doing something to help the tribes today.

  21. puppygod says

    @14 steve oberski

    In Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies the author Jared Diamond claims that up to 95% of the native population of the entire Americas were wiped out by European introduced infections to which they had no immunity without ever coming into contact with a European and by the time the European expansion into the Americas began in earnest the Mesoamerican civilization was effectively destroyed.

    As I happened to have a copy of Guns, germs and steel on the shelf within reach – I looked it up. The quote from p.211 is:

    When I was young, American schoolchildren were taught that North America had originally been occupied by only about one million Indians. The low number was useful in justifying the white conquest of what could be viewed as an almost empty continent. However, archeological excavations, and scrutiny of descriptions left by the very first European explorers on our coast, now suggest an initial number of around 20 million Indians. For the New World as a whole, the Indian population decline in the century or two following Columbus’s arrival is estimated to have been as large as 95 percent.

    I fail to see how it is in any way relevant to George Custer or the way settlers treated the Natives. There is, on the other hand, this quote from p.199:

    The skin lesions caused by smallpox similarly spread microbes by direct or indirect body contact (sometimes very indirect, as when U.S. whites bent on wiping out “belligerent” Native Americans sent them gifts of blankets previously used by smallpox patients).

  22. Taz says

    A commenter on that site made a good point. If Rogers is worried about insults to Gen. Custer he must be adamantly opposed to anyone displaying the Confederate flag.

  23. d cwilson says

    Guns, Germs, and Steel is one of my all-time favorite non-fiction books.

    It is true that the Mississippi river cultures (among others) were virtually wiped out as small pox traveled in advance of the European settlers.

    It is also well-documented that the settlers did make “gifts” of blankets laced with small pox. I forget where, but I once read a letter from a British soldier at Fort Pitt who described them doing just that.

    This is what I meant when I said gawd had “help”.

  24. busterggi says

    Considering that the whole Little Big Horn fiasco of Custer’s was due to his being a glory-hunting asshat who disobeyed orders to not attack the natives until after he met Terry’s column and that, had he somehow survived, he deserved to be court marshalled for insubordination & more, I don’t see any heroic reputation of Custer’s to be insulted.

  25. jakc says

    given that for much of the period of contact, Europeans wouldn’t have had good ideas about what caused infectious diseases, it is more than a little ahistorical to blame them for deliberately causing epidemics. Sure, more diseases traveled from Europe to the Americas than vice-versa (syphillis may be an exception), but that’s in part because Europe had suffered from these diseases for hundreds or thousands of years. As to the widespread claim of the smallpox infected blankets, there certainly were some (the 1760′s letter of the British soldier cited above), but as western fur traders were interested in trading, not conquering, there are also attempts at vaccination by fur traders. Didn’t always work. Part of the problem is that for the tribes, direct contact with traders (increasing the risk of smallpox) was a lot more valuable than having to trade through one or two intermediary tribes. This is way too complicated to deal with throughly in comments, and as someone who has pointed out, is a little off topic on Custer.

    What is really stupid about this guy’s comments on Custer is that the Najaho (Dine) and Pueblo peoples (Hopi and other groups) had little to do with Custer in life (I’m unaware of any contact); how does meeting with those folks have anything to do with Custer? What if the Governor had met with the Crow (the Absaroka, Custer’s scouts) Would that be insulting to Custer? The utter lack of understanding of the different tribes involved and the history of the southwest is amazing. If Jones wanted to be accurate, and equally offensive, he should have used Kit Carson instead of Custer.

  26. Electric Shaman says

    When I was a kid, my family took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park. We took an indirect route so that we could take in some of the famous sites of the area, and one of these was the Battle of the Little Big Horn Monument.

    The site had a profound effect on me, and for the next year or so I devoured everything that had to do with Custer and that battle. I read several biographies of Custer, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and I studied as many accounts of the battle that I could get my hands on. Despite being intrigued by Custer, at no point did I admire him, or think of him as any sort of “hero”, or consider him one of the “good guys”.

    Even at age 12, I had more compassion and a stronger sense of humanity than dipshit extraordinaire Rogers apparently possesses.

  27. jakc says

    Meant Rogers, not Jones.

    It is fascinating how our perception of Custer has changed over the years, from heroic martyr to racist fool. He’s a symbol, in a way that say Fetterman is not. Had the Little Big Horn not happened, he’d be a slightly remembered Civil War general known for daring attacks (though the Washita attack would still be a black mark). In the 1930′s, a guy out in SD took a picture of several survivors of the Little Big Horn, which you can now find as a t-shirt (the original homeland defense force)

Leave a Reply