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Monday, February 4, 2013

The ballad of Rapert

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM

This Conway-grown musical commentary hasn't gone viral yet. But it's worth a click.

PS — It was reported earlier that Jason Rapert shut down his Facebook page after comments started pouring in about his Tea Party video, his unconstitutional bill to force transvaginal probes of women in the course of banning most abortion and his general Rapertude (anti-gay, anti-Muslim, birther, Koch agenda supporter, etc.) But Rapert allies are working to stifle dissent in other ways. A state employee who posted a remark critical of Rapert on another Facebook page was shocked to have his boss ask about it this morning. Turns out one of Rapert's henchmen had called after seeing the employee's name this morning. Free speech still lives in the U.S. of A, but state employees best be careful about the time and equipment they use to engage in it. Jason is watching.

PPS — UPDATE: As you already know, Rapert and defenders are basing his entire defense for a homophobic, nativist and inaccurate screed on various websites' criticism of him for making what sound like racially oriented remarks. He says the word "minorities" refers to political minorities. He is continuing that defense at the Capitol today and ignoring the rest of a repugnant address to a repugnant political group. Indeed, I'd urge all to watch the entire speech, provided here in four segments by a pro-Rapert website. As I've said before, it isn't pretty. David Ramsey of the Times also comments perceptively after a close review of the full speech:

Obviously close-reading the video is sort of a fool's errand (of course, we cannot know what is in Jason Rapert's heart). But...

If this has been pointed out yet, I haven't really seen it.

1) Rapert defenders are pointing to the mention of "minority interests" running roughshod at the beginning of the speech. That comment clearly refers to, in Rapert's view, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturning the popular will in Arkansas. But there are four total videos chronicling the speech, and from them we can see that it's about ten minutes between that mention and the notorious bit highlighted by the Nation. He completely drops the subject and talks about all kinds of other things (debt ceiling, bailouts, the holy spirit). He never again brings up judicial or political forces overturning the majority will. In fact, his only other mention of the courts is the opposite of a populist protest of judicial activism: a plea for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the legislature (Obamacare). It strains credulity to suggest that the "minorities run roughshod" is a reference back to a point about the courts made ten minutes earlier.

2) What he was talking about immediately before the "minorities run roughshod" is a long spiel on taking the country back for the Lord, Obama, Ramadan, and Muslims. Even if we view this as charitably as possible and assume no racial element, it's clearly an attack on religious minorities. It sort of goes to show the tenuous place that American Muslims find themselves in that to really illustrate the point, you have to analogize: imagine the uproar if Rapert gave the same speech but said "Jews" and "Shabbat."

3) Rapert told a friendly blogger: "The majority of people in Arkansas oppose the policies of President Obama, including his health care law...Those Arkansans that support the President’s policies are in the minority, and in 2011 it was those minority political viewpoints that our leaders were using to govern hardworking Arkansas taxpayers who hold common sense conservative ideals." Leaving aside the Articles of Confederation style approach to democracy (does Massachusetts not have to follow policies of a Republican president?), this is disingenuous. The comment that has him in hot water came IMMEDIATELY after he said “We’re going to try to take this country back for the Lord. We’re going to try to take this country back for conservatism.” Emphasis mine. He's not talking about a minority political viewpoint within the confines of Arkansas. That's ridiculous.

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