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Mar 01 2013

Come On, Progress Kentucky

The liberal Super PAC Progress Kentucky two weeks ago sent out a ridiculous and racist tweet about Sen. Mitch McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, saying that since she’s Asian, that explains why McConnell wants to send your jobs to China.

For the record, Chao was born in Taiwan. Her family fled China, for crying out loud. To their credit, ThinkProgress has called them out for this, but Progress Kentucky is only making things worse. First their spokesperson said, “It’s not an official statement. It’s a Tweet. And we will remove it if it’s wrong.” But two weeks later, it’s still there. And now they’re just being idiots about it:

Ignoring the maxim of holes and digging, Progress Kentucky 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.

No, no, no. Being married to an Asian person does not mean one has a “conflict of interest” involving sending jobs to an Asian country — especially an Asian country that her own family fled. If a Republican group put out a Tweet about a liberal politician married to a Latino and said “I guess this explains why they are okay with letting illegal aliens overrun the country,” Progress Kentucky would be up in arms over such a racist attack. It’s just as bad here.

26 comments

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  1. 1
    Stacy

    It’s not an official statement. It’s a Tweet.

    Oh I guess that’s all right then?

    Seriously, WTF.

  2. 2
    cry4turtles

    Extremely tasteless and offensive, but there is that free speech thingy.

  3. 3
    andrewjohnston

    @cry4turtles: I don’t think anyone’s recommending that the government shut down their Twitter account.

  4. 4
    composer99

    Senator Mitch McConnell has a conflict of interest that many are afraid to talk about, and Progress Kentucky is not

    This is a classic defence of bigotry that is often featured either in Ed’s OPs or by people making bigoted claims in the comments: the bigoted comment is re-framed as ‘countering a stifling political correctness’ or ‘breaking taboo’ or (as Progress Kentucky has framed it) ‘talking about things other people are afraid to’.

    Basically, it’s trying to re-cast a bigoted claim as a virtuous statement made in defiance of some oppressive, politically correct orthodoxy.

    (To be fair, without a documented history of making bigoted claims, I would not characterize Progress Kentucky as a ‘racist’ super PAC, and doubtless the folks at Progress Kentucky do not see themselves as bigots. This does not alter the fact that the specific claim under discussion is indefensibly bigoted.)

    (IMO most of the time when people rail against political correctness, their rhetorical attacks are a smokescreen for offensive bigotry such as shown by Progress Kentucky. If their claims were defensible on any reasonable grounds they wouldn’t need to rail against political correctness. Also IMO, this is the case even in circumstances where important discussions actually are stifled by something approaching political correctness.)

  5. 5
    mythbri

    Even The Onion apologized for insulting Quvenzhane Wallis. A joke that failed is more of an excuse than trying to say that a stupid Tweet was a legitimate criticism.

  6. 6
    cheeto

    Yes, it’s racist. And it’s a bullshit conflict of interest. But until now I didn’t know that there were any self-identified liberal people in Kentucky

  7. 7
    Michael Heath

    Digging the hole deeper rather than demonstrating some integrity by admitting one’s obvious mistake and adapting to a defensible position is an all too frequent response by zealous ideologues. It’d be interesting understanding the psychological causes as to why on this particular type of response.

  8. 8
    slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #7

    Oh for MH to follow his own advice.

  9. 9
    cry4turtles

    Andrewjohnston: neither did I; however, offensive as it is, they have the right to tweet it even though it makes me want to puke.

  10. 10
    Modusoperandi

    …But two weeks later, it’s still there.

    If I understand the timeline correctly, it was up for two weeks before that, not after. An NPR affiliate (picked up by Thinkprogress)* caught a tweet from the middle of the month on the 26th.
     
    * Who says liberals don’t criticize liberals?

  11. 11
    Gretchen

    @cry4turtles said:

    however, offensive as it is, they have the right to tweet it

    Again– did somebody say otherwise?

    If not, why aren’t you also reminding us that water is wet?

  12. 12
    Michael Heath

    slc1 writes:

    Oh for MH to follow his own advice.

    As always, slc1 misrepresents me. I assume that’s why he’s incapable of citing that which validates his assertions about me.

  13. 13
    Stacy

    cry4turtles, people responding to an offensive tweet also comes under the heading of “that free speech thingy.”

  14. 14
    andrewjohnston

    Seriously, though, when are people going to stop using these “It’s just the Internet” excuses? Sure, it’s just Twitter. I don’t think much of Twitter myself, but that doesn’t change the fact that your feed is an outlet for your organization. Anything that appears there is still under your name, guys.

  15. 15
    composer99

    cry4turtles:

    The conflation of criticism and/or codes of conduct with censorship is a poor defence of offensiveness and similar unflattering conduct (whether legal or not).

    Please resist the temptation to make such a conflation.

    Legitimate criticism of Progress Kentucky includes noting that their Tweet was bigoted; even saying they ought not to have posted it is also legitimate.

    I might add that, as far as I can see, Twitter does not identify offensive or bigoted statements as prohibited in its code of conduct (https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311-the-twitter-rules#). However, if they did, it would even be legitimate for users to flag this Tweet, thus potentially leading to its removal by Twitter. Codes of conduct comprising part of the terms of service (where the user agrees to abide by the code) are entirely legitimate parts of how private companies (such as Twitter) manage fora they create for their users.

  16. 16
    d.c.wilson

    Seriously? With all the legitimate things you could hammer McChinless with, this is what they decided to lead with?

    Morons.

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    Modusoperandi writes:

    . . . by Thinkprogress)* caught a tweet from the middle of the month on the 26th.

    * Who says liberals don’t criticize liberals?

    I’m on the fence on whether liberals can claim this an attribute. I’d like to think liberals can, but I keep having encounters that validates at least outliers exist who can’t/won’t.

    Chris Mooney’s latest book, Republican Brain, covers the topic of group self-criticism though I’m not sure if his coverage was based on empirical findings. I’ll check it out when I’m home.

  18. 18
    tiredofusernamerules

    A few days ago, Progress Kentucky finally apologized and took down the tweets. I think they’re done as a credible organization.

  19. 19
    Ichthyic

    Extremely tasteless and offensive, but there is that free speech thingy.

    good thing nobody was asking the government to step in and ban them from speaking then.

    seriously, don’t be a moron, criticizing a poor political statement DOES NOT LIMIT THEIR FREE SPEECH.

    gees.

  20. 20
    Ichthyic

    I’ll check it out when I’m home.

    sorry old boy, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t trust your opinion on the bias issue, regardless of what you’ve read.

  21. 21
    kylawyer

    Ugh, this has nearly driven me insane since this whole thing happened. It’s not enough I have to constantly battle the impression that everyone in this Commonwealth is nothing but a creationist, bible believing, tea bagger moron, (there are in fact many liberals like myself in Kentucky). Now thanks to Progress Kentucky’s moronic tweet, I have to deal with everyone believing we are all a bunch of racist twits liberal or conservative.

  22. 22
    democommie

    They’re idiots, they should have left his wife alone and just gone after him. It’s not like he’s a sympathetic character.

  23. 23
    tommykey

    Now thanks to Progress Kentucky’s moronic tweet, I have to deal with everyone believing we are all a bunch of racist twits liberal or conservative.

    Not only that, I saw on The Wall Street Journal online an op-ed or post that Kentucky Progress’s tweets as representative of “the Left” on interracial marriages, at least interracial marriages among Republicans.

    A fair criticism made of the media, I think it was CNN in particular, was that they had Elaine Chao on one of their programs without disclosing that she was Senator McConnell’s wife.

  24. 24
    Michael Heath

    Modusoperandi writes:

    . . . by Thinkprogress)* caught a tweet from the middle of the month on the 26th.
    * Who says liberals don’t criticize liberals?

    I respond:

    I’m on the fence on whether liberals can claim this an attribute. I’d like to think liberals can, but I keep having encounters that validates at least outliers exist who can’t/won’t.

    Chris Mooney’s latest book, Republican Brain, covers the topic of group self-criticism though I’m not sure if his coverage was based on empirical findings. I’ll check it out when I’m home.

    Mooney covers motivated reasoning, and the inability of some partisans to criticize their own allies on pages 40 – 41. He’s citing Drew Weston et al’s Neural Bases of Motivated Reasoning: An fMRI Study of Emotional Constraints on Partisan Political Judgment in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election. They find both partisans have people who can’t apply cold logic to criticize their political allies, Republican susceptibility to this affliction runs greater, but it’s an attribute of some Democrats as well. Here’s a link to full access to the study (PDF): http://goo.gl/kuDEU

    You can read the applicable pages at Mooney’s cite starting on page 39 and concluding on page 41 by searching inside the book at Amazon using these key words: motivated reasoning thus helps to explain.

  25. 25
    peterw

    “Yes, it’s racist. And it’s a bullshit conflict of interest. But until now I didn’t know that there were any self-identified liberal people in Kentucky”

    Why is your kind of bigotry okay, cheeto? Assuming that everyone from the south is a bigoted redneck probably makes you feel better on some level, but it’s really just another kind of ignorant stereotyping from someone who feels superior by criticizing people based on characteristics that have nothing to do with them as individuals.

  26. 26
    cry4turtles

    It’s kind of funny that I seemed to set off a few people with “free speech thingy.” I was just making a snarky comment and didn’t mean to fluff so many feathers. I’m aware that rain is wet, but there is that dry rain/calm wind thingy. Snark alert!

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