Friday, August 08, 2008

Cohen wins big-- to the disappointment of the right.

In attempting to justify their culture war, right-leaning pundits in America pointed to Nikki Tinker's racist and anti-Semitic ads against Congressman Steve Cohen in a primary election in Tennessee (and yes, this is the same Steve Cohen who I was critical of a couple of months back for making what I considered a sexist comment directed at Hillary Clinton.) Cohen is the only white congressman in America representing a majority black district, and by all accounts he has represented it well, doing everything he could to reflect the views and wishes of his constituents. It would be an understatement to simply call Tinker's campaign 'racist,' as she attacked Cohen in an ad in which she tied him to the Ku Klux Klan and another which targetted him for his Jewish religion. And those were only her official campaign ads. Even worse was a flyer mailed out by Memphis reverend George Brooks (a supporter of Tinker) that made an anti-Semitic attack on Cohen saying,

"Cohen and the Jews HATE Jesus so Memphis Christians must unite and support ONE Black Christian to represent Memphis in the United States Congress in 2008. Simply because this congressional district is predominantly Black. And Christian, in terms of religion, who love and believe in Jesus while Jews do not." The flyer concludes by again calling Cohen "an opponent of Christ and Christianity." (you can click on the link if you really want to see this piece of garbage yourself.)

Hannity and Colmes on right-leaning FOX News profiled the race in arguing that the Democratic party itself was racist. I guess they were hoping that Tinker would pull out a win so they could go at it even harder.

Well, in a race that was considered close (a rematch of the primary from two years ago in which Cohen had edged out Tinker in a race with fourteen candidates) the voters made it known exactly what they thought of Tinker's tactics (and also of Cohen's efforts to represent them.) Cohen won, by a 4-1 margin. He won overwhelmingly among black voters in particular.

I might also add that Barack Obama, EMILY's List (which had endorsed and provided some support for Tinker before she started running an anti-Semitic and anti-white campaign), and former Congressman Harold Ford (who had represented the district for years and had once hired Tinker), all came out with statements condemning Tinker's ads.

Clearly Black voters are not the racists that some on the right have tried to portray them as. So the Republican apologists for the kind of culture war that we see more often directed at Democrats will have to look someplace else for excuses.

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