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Jindal, LaGOP, Peterson and the truth over Obamacare racist claims

Written by  // Friday, 31 May 2013 14:24 //

truthIs it true?

Did Karen Carter Peterson say those opposed to Obamacare are racists?

 

 Yesterday, I questioned the Louisiana’s GOP claim that she used that word “racist” when they blasted out emails to condemn her--even calling upon her to step down as Chairperson of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Here are comments screaming from their emails this week:

This afternoon, Louisiana Democratic Party Chair and State Senator Karen Carter Peterson took to the Senate floor to make an irresponsible and bizarre statement that those who oppose the expansion of Obamacare in Louisiana are racist.  

This week, State Senator and Louisiana Democratic Party Chair, Karen Carter Peterson, spoke on the Louisiana State Senate floor where she argued that Louisianians who are opposed to Obamacare are racist.

The Republican Party of Louisiana today calls on Senator Mary Landrieu to condemn the statement made by Louisiana Democrat Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson that Louisianians who oppose Obamacare are racist.

Nearly two days after saying the people of Louisiana are racist for opposing Obamacare, State Senator Karen Carter Peterson finally released a statement on her comments, but instead of apologizing she has chosen to double down on her remarks. Below is a statement from Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Roger Villere calling on Senator Peterson to resign as chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party. 

Yesterday, in my column, I said, “While perhaps it might be a little hyper-technical, words do matter.

Stating that an issue or even a motive is about “race” is not stating that those in opposition are “racists” 

Last, it absolutely time for the political parties to speak the truth and to be careful with their rhetoric.  Playing the race-card or the reverse race-card is not for jokers.  It’s serious stuff.

As Limbaugh has often said, “words matter”.

So when top representatives of our two major parties choose their words, they should and must know, that creating political hay for advantages can create unfortunate and uncontrollable feverish emotions in the best of us resulting in fertile political environments festering the worse.

 This morning, courtesy to another email from the LAGOP, I discovered that yesterday, Karen Carter Peterson released a statement about this controversy.  After investigating, I found her statement, which is below: 

Statement from Karen Carter Peterson, Senator – District 5:

“I think we should judge a policy by its content, not the person proposing it. To be clear, I didn’t call any person “racist.” Rather, I was simply relaying the truth about conversations I’ve had with my colleagues and the factors they considered on the expansion of Medicaid. While others are using this as an opportunity to take my comments out of context in order to distract from the true issue, I think it’s critical that we focus on the substance of the policy because it’s the right thing to do for Louisiana. Expanding health care access is a vital issue for the people of Louisiana, no matter what it’s called or who offers it. The Republican Party and even our very own Governor have chosen to twist my words and I would politely suggest that they review the attached transcript that reveal what I actually said.”

[transcript below]

Transcript from 5/28/13 HB 533 by Kleckley – Senate Floor

@2:13 SENATOR PETERSON:

This isn’t about the administration and it should not be about the administration of the state nor federal level when it comes to Obamacare but in fact it is and why is that. I have talked to so many members in the House and Senate and you know what it comes down to? Are you ready for this? It is not ab how many federal dollars we can receive. You ready? You want to know what it’s about? It’s about race. Now nobody wants to talk about that. It’s about the race of this African American President because this same thing has been offered by who? By former Speaker Newt Gingrich in the past. Yeah he had a similar bill to what President Obama has offered. Similar legislation was offered! It comes down to the race of the Pres. Of The US which causes people to disconnect and step away from the substance of the bill. So I agree with Senator Buffington, it shouldn’t be about the title. It should not be about the title. It should be about the subject matter and others have shared that with me personally. “You know the reason I can’t support this Senator Peterson is not because of you, but it is because I cannot go back to my district and face my constituents and tell them that I embraced, not Medicaid expansion, not 100% of funds going to help the uninsured of Louisiana, I cannot say I supported Obamacare.” So I guess we can’t support JindalCares either. I think that’s what it all comes down to if we are honest with ourselves. But we’ll continue the madness here in this state. We will leave here on June 6th, the Hospital Association you will get what you want because this bill is about to pass but what will you do after that when these Private-public partnerships don’t work? What will you do? Will you come back to the legislature begging us to help you expand Medicaid?  Will you be on the front line with stickers then asking us to step up? Well you can do that now. There’s time, time will tell.

 Because the Louisiana Republican Party released links to publications both inside and outside of the state (including and Fox News), that  claimed  she was calling  Obama opponents  “racists” (a claim of which I obviously failed to see),  I called upon both state Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere  (who also holds the distinctive position of numero dos at the top of the national party) and his state executive director Jason Dore to explain further.

 Here is their responses and our exchange:

 

By Jason Dore

Peterson made it clear that race is the sole reason anyone could oppose the president’s universal health care plan.

That's pretty simple Steve. According to KCP, if you oppose Obamacare it's on the basis of race.

The clear implication of Peterson's rant is that if you oppose Obamacare you must be racist as that's the only reason she says her fellow senators and tthe majority of Louisianians oppose it. That's appalling and absurd. The GOP strongly opposed "Hillarycare" in the 90s. We have and always will be opposed to government takeover of healthcare regardless of who the proponent of the policy is.

Reporters across the state, country and even in the UK (the Daily Mail) are outraged by her comments and Peterson has twice run away from TV cameras in BR. If you want to defend the below comments, that's your prerogative.

“It’s about race,” Peterson said. “No, nobody wants to talk about that. It’s about the race of this African American president, because this same thing has been offered by former Speaker Newt Gingrich in the past. Yeah, he had a similar bill to what Obama, President Obama has offered. Similar legislation was offered. It comes down to the race of the President of the United States, which causes people to disconnect and step away from the substance of the bill.”

 By Stephen Sabludowsky

 Jason,

First, thank you for your response.

Second, your emails have said she called opponents "racists".  In my column, I took issue with your email missives then on that specific point of "racists"  and I certainly do so now.

It is quite clear from your comment that she did not call opponents 'racists" as you say she did.  

You said, "The clear implication of Peterson's rant is that if you oppose Obamacare you must be racist as that's the only reason she says her fellow senators and the majority of Louisianians oppose it." 

"Implication" is not "express" as you well know.   

As far as your statement, "If you want to defend the below comments, that's your prerogative.", i will respond further in my column,  but my column, should you read it, in no way defends her "below statement", nor her, nor does it defend the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.  It simply takes issue with the very words you and others are using since we are relying upon them when we report,  disseminate and comment.  

Thank you,

Steve 

By Jason Paul Dore

 In the words of Senator Elbert Guillory, some people's decks have only one card, the race card. It is clear that is the deck Peterson and Mary Landrieu are playing from to defend Obamacare.

 (Bayoubuzz Note: After making that comment to me by email, it was announced that Guillory has just announced his switch to the Louisiana Republican Party making him the first black republican legislator in modern Louisiana history).

 By Stephen Sabludowsky 

Jason,

I had read Sen. Guillory's comments, yesterday and posted them yesterday. Coming from a black person, it puts the discussion in perspective that at least one black Louisiana legislator has a certain feeling about using the race card.  As far as Senator Landrieu, as I said in my column, It is also time for Senator Landrieu to realize that most voters in Louisiana are on the opposite side of her votes and sometimes she must step out from behind the party line or otherwise be rejected as the state’s highest federal official"

Thank you,

Steve. 

By Roger Villere

Look at the Video , she said its about race 

The last email I received from Jason Dore was the following which was forwarded to me.  The email originated from Jordan Gleason, who works for Governor Bobby Jindal.  It was sent from his personal gmail account:  


Subject: News Alert: Louisiana Democrat after calling Obamacare opponents racist: “I didn’t call anyone racist”utt

Louisiana Democrat after calling Obamacare opponents racist: “I didn’t call anyone racist”

HOT AIR: Erika Johnsen

The obligatory followup to Allahpundit’s post yesterday chronicling the the rhetorical misadventure of the Democratic state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who during a session informed her fellow legislators that — and I quote — criticisms of ObamaCare come down to “the race of this African American president.” When she was later asked to apologize for and/or defend her comments, she effectively did neither (h/t the Weekly Standard)

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/05/31/louisiana-democrat-who-called-obamacare-opponents-racist-i-didnt-call-anyone-racist/ 

The obligatory followup to Allahpundit’s post yesterday chronicling the the rhetorical misadventure of the Democratic state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who during a session informed her fellow legislators that — and I quote — criticisms of ObamaCare come down to “the race of this African American president.” When she was later asked to apologize for and/or defend her comments, she effectively did neither (h/t the Weekly Standard): 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TghuAiGIJqg 

I’m not stepping away from anything that I said on the floor. I didn’t call anyone a racist. I referenced some of the conversations that I’d had with colleagues that, you know, shared with me that one of the factors, it’s not always the factor. I didn’t say that everybody’s decision was based on that. But certainly one of the factors was politics around it and race, the issue of race. So, that has kind of stirred up some folks that are not, I guess, accustomed to having that conversation openly but I think that it’s time that we not ignore the issue.

 Er… how is it that you can at once insist that much of the opposition to ObamaCare is based on race, but that you are not not calling anybody a racist? Pretty sure that comes down to just about the same thing, whether or not she was calling anybody out specifically. And no, by the way, she did not say that racism was “one of the factors” for opposition; she actually said that race is “what it comes down to,” as if Republicans would be all too happy to blithely accept universal health care if only it were somebody else that had offered it and their objections are not in fact mainly due to the concern that a bureaucratic takeover of a gigantic sector of the economy will in the long run result in much more harm than good, o ye of little faith. (Say, where else have we heard this type of argument recently?)

 Going one step further in her sorry-I’m-not-sorry, the state senator called for an apology from Governor Bobby Jindal on behalf of the people of Louisiana.

 

He declined. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vPuFZo-8ZQE

 

Now, to respond to Jason Dore that I am defending her comments by asking them to provide me the words they claim she used,  let me say the following:

Those in the media and in public light have certain responsibilities.  People depend  upon  our very words.

Sometimes we use certain words as symbols or as art.

We speak “expressly” and sometimes “figuratively”

In this case, I believe some of us failed in our duties.

While Karen Carter Peterson spoke about the healthcare law, I believe she also said what has been felt by millions around the world.  There is anger against President Obama’s policies that has been much more amplified due to his race.

I personally believe that the reaction to Obama’s policies and his presidency is enhanced because of his race.   

This is true on both sides of the aisle.  Blacks support him because of his policies and his color.  Whites tend not to support him for both reasons.  The passions on both sides of the color line are inflamed due to his pigmentation.

Also, I (and obviously others) have  legitimate concerns about the Affordable Care Act.  Just the uncertainty of the law and the impact upon our families and businesses are a reason to have due pause.  There are also good features such as the elimination of pre-existing conditions which even Obamacare opponents appear to support.

You do not need to be white to oppose the law or any of Obama’s policies just as you do not need to be black to favor it or them.

To what extent people oppose or approve the President and his policies due to his race is a matter of debate which apparently was the nature of Peterson’s comments

I can understand why the GOP would say that her comments on the floor were all about race.  They were.

Peterson, who is a state Senator and the head of the Democratic Party, was speaking  not  only for herself and her district but her party.  For those reasons, she has enhanced responsibilities to make sure that her words do not give cause to be misinterpreted or twisted and that they reflect facts.

If she believes this opposition to Obama  is  really about  race, then she has the obligation to provide legitimate detailed and relevant reasons to support her belief.  Her initial comment failed to do this and only stirred the political pot, giving spicy ammunition to use against her and her cause.  The Louisiana GOP, the national party and conservative groups used her words to justify their political argument.

I likewise believe her posted comment fails to do so also.

However, the Louisiana Republican Party leaders and Governor Jindal, who also claimed she said she called opponents “racist”, might have won in the war of propaganda, but  they are losing in the battle of credibility.

She did not state it.  Look at what Dore said,  "The clear implication of Peterson's rant is that if you oppose Obamacare you must be racist as that's the only reason she says her fellow senators and the majority of Louisianians oppose it." 


Villere said here video was about race.  Absolutely.  But, does that give his party, other media, our Governor to claim and possibly even to make up words that were not expressed?

There is room for advocacy in politics but it should never undermine the truth.  Nor should  it distort words never uttered.   In today’s climate of anger, hatred and division, we all have a responsibility to stay away from the race card for political advantages.  Our comments have a way to make waves on the “Internet and Cable express” as never before.

This is evidenced by propaganda machines such as Fox News and MSNBC and others pushing one side beyond  fairness and accuracy.

As written in the New Testament and modified by Martin Luther King said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”

Yet,  hopefully,   we in positions of immense responsibilities and reach of voice and words,  will learn that this does not mean we are free to be untrue.

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