Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shame On You, Young Republicans

Let me get this straight. The RNC has a black chairman. He is very visible and doing a good job of fulfilling his mission - to raise money for the Republican party. The city of Houston is the latest to have a billboard in a very visible section of town with a large black population that proclaims "MLK was a Republican". It has been the subject of a column by a local liberal writer at the Houston Chronicle who delights in bashing Conservatives and Republicans at every opportunity so I know it has struck a nerve and is doing its job. Our local tea parties have been quite successful and received lots of media attention. They have attracted a bi-partisan crowd, much to the disappointment of the braying critics.

So, what does today bring? The Young Republicans were meeting in Indianapolis and what did they do? They elected a racist, by all accounts, 38 year old woman as their leader. Unreal.

The woman, Audra Shay, is an Army veteran and a mom. She is from Louisiana. She works as an events planner and she was the current Vice-Chairman at Large for the Young Republicans. According to The Daily Beast, which has run several articles related to this race in Indianapolis, Shay's platform was "Restore, Revitalize, Reinforce" and she was active in social media, such as Twitter and Facebook to get her message out. That social media, turns out, was also her downfall.

On her Facebook page, Shay voiced her disapproval of WalMart's decision to endorse part of President Obama's health care reform agenda. She did so in a rather crude manner. It produced even more crude comments on her Facebook 'wall'. Racist remarks spewed from one commenter in specific and instead of slapping him down and stating that she doesn't condone racist remarks about the President or anyone else, she let it stand and even encouraged him. That is until a sane commenter questioned why Shay would condone such remarks. Then Shay took the comments down. In the meantime the controversy hit such sites as The Daily Beast which did some digging into Ms. Shay's history on Facebook and other sites. They discovered a troubling pattern of speech from her. Shay finally issued a statement that she does not allow racist remarks on her wall.

Other candidates were good alternatives to Shay. Shay was urged to withdraw from the race. She declined and launched a smear campaign against her strongest competition, according to others. She launched attacks on Rachel Hoff, the current Young Republicans' Director of Media Relations. The attacks implied Hoff was gay. This feeds into the intolerance issue, the hate agenda and layers on the race issue. A trifecta for Shay.

Shay was endorsed by Bobby Jindal, her governor.

Hoff was endorsed by George P. Bush and by Sarah Huckabee, daughter of Mike. She ran on a platform of emphasizing education, technology and community outreach. All vital for building up interest in the Republican for young as well as older voters. She tried to bring in her thoughts on civil unions as gay rights but was quickly attacked for her idea by those lead by Shay.

Shay won with a 50 vote margin. It is hard to believe as so many of us are trying to work to grow the party and encourage those with more tunneled vision to do the same that the younger of our party is shooting us in the foot. A 38 year old woman is not the right image for the Republican to have leading the Young Republicans anyway. A sharp, articulate, media savvy twenty-something would have been the way to go. And certainly someone who understands the need for a big tent approach to grow the party. Someone who understands a political party is not a private club for a bunch of good ole boys and girls who use message of hate to attack those with a more mature message.

What agenda exactly is Shay 'restoring, revitalizing and reinforcing'? From where I sit it is the last thing we need. Every political writer out there will have a field day with headlines and stories over this debacle.

The Young Republicans made a huge mistake.

1 comment:

Chris Johnson said...

It is good to see condemnations of Shay and her racist behavior. There can really be no other response. The Republican Party seems to have lots of different people pulling in many different directions at the moment. It will be interesting to see what takes hold and on which path they choose to move forward as a unit.