Thursday, 30 May 2013 18:44

Louisiana GOP plays Peterson's Obamacare race card

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race-white-blackThe Louisiana Republican Party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee are making plenty of hay out of a statement made by Democratic State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, who happens to also be the Louisiana Democratic Party chairperson.



The hay, which is being spread all over primarily by conservative media and causes, is claiming that Peterson stated that those who oppose Obamacare are racists.

Unfortunately for all of us, this type of accusatory political talk by our political leaders is merely seeding the base instincts in all of us as we try to make important decisions in this process called democracy.

The Louisiana Republican Party has sent out three emails about this issue, this week.  The one from the Republican Senatorial Committee is targeted not just Peterson, but, and in particular, Senator Mary Landrieu who is up for a nasty re-election fight.  For those who have been on earth the past couple of years, you probably know that Landrieu’s popularity plunged after she cast the now infamous “Louisiana Purchase” vote which not only made her a national target on the Limbaugh-Hannity talk circuit but made her a target by a ridiculous conservative folk heroes who clandestinely and deceptively filmed her office to get dirt on her staff  when they were inundated by the onslaught of angry calls from across the country.

Republicans, obviously, would want to relive those anti-Mary Landrieu-Obamacare moments, at least, long enough for her to be replaced.

So, while that election is over a year away, let’s focus upon the talk of “racism”.

The Republicans and apparently Governor Bobby Jindal would want everyone to believe that Peterson called those against Obamacare, “racists”.

Reading the transcript provided by the LAGOP, she did not do that at all.

What she said, in part , was ““It isn’t about the administration, and members, it shouldn’t be about this administration at the state level nor should it be about the federal administration when it comes to Obamacare, but in fact it is. And why is that? Why is that? I have talked to so many members both in the House and the Senate, and you know what? You ready? You ready for what it comes down to? It is not about how many federal dollars we can receive, it is not about that. You ready? It is about race. I know nobody wants to talk about that. It is about the race of this African-American President …”

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”

Just for argument sake, a vast majority of whites in Louisiana voted for David Duke when he ran for statewide office.  David Duke, I believe, ran campaigns bloated with anti-black code, was the former Grand Wizard of the KKK and has turned out to be a blow-dried fraud.  I can go on.

I would think that most people would call him a “racist” .  I do.

But, does that mean that the overwhelming percentage of white voters were racist when they voted for the “crook” (Governor Edwards), in that infamous race for Governor against the Duke of Racism?

For one, the discussion might turn upon the definition current definition of racism.

Did a vote for Duke automatically make the voter, a racist?

Don’t think so.

Many abhorred Edward and Duke’s prior opponents.   Many voters were  against government bailouts, against affirmative action, welfare, food stamps and issues causing the race-divide.  But, being against the Great Society does not qualify one as being a racist, even if that someone pulled the Duke lever.

Instead, I believe many pro-Duke voters were and perhaps are not as racially-tolerant as others on the issues of race.    Not liking hard-earned dollars going into what they perceive as a wasteful pit is a view shared by millions.  It does not make one a racist.   It might be cause for those to revisit the horrors of generations of slavery, destruction of the family unit and a culture when deciding issues of today.  It would help for all of us to visit the other side of the race equation from time to time and to view the issues from the eyes of others.  But insensitivity or understanding does not equal to racism, not then and not now.

Also, surely, the population who supported a black man for President, Herman Cain, cannot be called racists, can they?   

Don’t think so.  I would say many of them saw an opportunity to back a candidate who had a different message, particularly, one of which they agreed.

Nor are those who oppose Obamacare or the state’s refusal to accept its Medicaid dollars “racist” by virtue of that opposition.  There are plenty of reasons to oppose it or even dislike it.  While I support parts of the plan, I am concerned about radically changing the way one-sixth of the economy works.  Am I a racist?

Nope.  Never been called that in my life.

The truth is--Peterson did not call me or those in opposition to Obamacare “racists”  Instead, she said the vote against accepting Medicaid expansion is really about President Obama and his skin color.

In my view, she is partly wrong and to some extent right.

She is wrong for there are many who oppose Obamacare or extension of Medicaid for so many other reasons including those above.

But, we would be fooling or even lying to ourselves if “race” has not played a role in the anti-Obama anger.  It has and it does.  In fact, in part, race played a role in his becoming President and being re-elected.   Were those who supported him, racists? 

Don’t think so.

While our political parties and our media want to use words for political advantages, all that really does is make a lot of noise and raise the temperatures in plenty of us on both sides of the discussion.

As the Louisiana GOP is noting in its most recent e-message, Peterson ran away from discussing this issue.  It is time for her to address it and clear the record.   She chose to run for this important position of Chairperson and for State Senator and she must not run away from curious minds.

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.

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.

destdestausing hay what they say do have consequences. 

Here are the recent GOP emails on this issue, including the one released late Thursday morning:

 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.

Yesterday, WBRZ attempted to track down Senator Peterson and ask her about these comments, but was unsuccessful after she ran from the reporter and avoided him. While Senator Peterson scurried away from a TV reporter who tried to inquire about the comments, Governor Jindal and the Republican Party of Louisiana have responded and made it clear that it is wrong to call people racist just because they disagree with President Obama’s policies. We have called on Senator Peterson to apologize for the remarks.

Watch WBRZ’s report here.


WBRZ’s SYLVIA WEATHERSPOON: At the capitol Democrats go after Republicans and call them racists, but the Senator who made the claims dodged our questions. …

WBRZ’s RYAN NAQUIN: Senator Karen Carter Peterson isn't usually one to back down from speaking her mind. But when I approached her about her racially charged comments she made yesterday, she walked away. … Tonight, Senator Karen Carter Peterson's usually bold voice ran away from our cameras in retreat. Her scurry into the capitol halls where we couldn't follow comes a day after she stood in front of the entire State Senate . . . and said Senators are opposed to universal healthcare because President Obama is black.

GOV. JINDAL: I think it's wrong to call people racists just because they disagree with President Obama, just because they disagree with Obamacare.

GOV. JINDAL: There is a way to have that debate. There is a way to express your opinion without name calling without calling people a racist. I'd hope the Senator would apologize. I'd hope she'd go to the well and retract her comments.


SEN. ELBERT GUILLORY: Not only am I African-American, I am black.

SEN. ELBERT GUILLORY: Some decks have only one card in it, and that's the race card. And I am so sick of hearing it.

NAQUIN: Now we waited for more than four hours today at the Capitol before we approached Senator Carter Peterson. We also sent a request to her desk that was on the senate floor and as soon as she got that request she threw it in the trash.

LA Democratic Chair Calls Obamacare Opponents Racists

LAGOP Calls on Senator Peterson to Apologize

    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. 

Click here to watch the video. 

· State Senator Karen Carter Peterson: “It isn’t about the administration, and members, it shouldn’t be about this administration at the state level nor should it be about the federal administration when it comes to Obamacare, but in fact it is. And why is that? Why is that? I have talked to so many members both in the House and the Senate, and you know what? You ready? You ready for what it comes down to? It is not about how many federal dollars we can receive, it is not about that. You ready? It is about race. I know nobody wants to talk about that. It is about the race of this African-American President …”

Senator Peterson’s comments are completely out of line and she needs to apologize to Republican and Democratic members of the Louisiana House and Senate who have opposed the expansion of Obamacare with good merit, along with the citizens of Louisiana who know our state cannot afford an expansion of this poorly written law.

Expanding Obamacare would cost Louisiana $1.7 billion over 10 years, move up to 171,000 Louisianians from private insurance to Medicaid, and would result in 41 percent of our population being placed on a Medicaid program that delivers inferior health care. 

Aside from the policy merits of the expansion of Obamacare, there is no place for the type of divisive rhetoric we heard from Senator Peterson today. Louisianians deserve better than these kinds of comments from our leaders in Baton Rouge, and we urge Senator Peterson to apologize for her outlandish statement. 

Read Coverage Of Democratic Party Chair Senator Karen Carter Peterson’s Unfortunate Statement Below:

Washington Free Beacon: Louisiana Democratic Party Chair: Obamacare Opponents Are Racist

· “Louisiana State Senator and State Democratic Party chair Karen Carter Peterson went on the Senate floor Tuesday and claimed that other legislators opposed Obamacare because the President is an African American.”

The Hayride: “Karen Carter Peterson: Everybody Who Dislikes Obamacare Is A Racist”

· “Now we know that the Louisiana Democrat Party has nothing left to offer but vicious, spiteful, ridiculous race-baiting to the people of the state. We know this because the chair of that party, one Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, put this forth on the floor of that legislative body today . . .”

· “Certainly Louisiana – even the Louisiana Democrat Party – can do better than this.”

Weekly Standard: “LA Dem. Party Chair: President's Race Inspires Obamacare Opponents.”

KPEL: “Sen. Karen Carter Peterson Says Obamacare Discussion In La. Legislature ‘About Race.’”

Rare: “This Is So 2009: LA Legislator Says Colleagues Oppose Obamacare Because Racism.”

National Review’s Jim Geraghty: “Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson: Opposition To Obamacare Is Driven By Racism.”


Washington, D.C. - Polls show that only 1/3 of voters in Louisiana support ObamaCare, yet Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson recently suggested that people oppose it only because of President Obama’s race. That would be more than 50% of voters in Louisiana. 

Does Mary Landrieu share that view?

"Families, workers and health care professionals have legitimate concerns about how ObamaCare will raise the cost of care while lowering the standard," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "The suggestion that more than half of the people in Louisiana are racist because of their concerns is absurd, but it raises serious questions about where Mary Landrieu stands.  Does Senator Landrieu believe that folks in Louisiana opposed to ObamaCare are racists?  Landrieu cast the deciding vote to make ObamaCare law, and she owes it to voters to weigh in on the offensive comments made by the head of her Democratic party."


Republican Party Targeted: The Plot Thickens...

In case you missed media reports from last night, please see the links below to follow coverage of the Legislature’s strange inquiry into the finances of the Republican Party of Louisiana in possible retribution for our efforts to oppose tax increases that were pushed by some members of the House of Representatives.

In the last 24 hours, we have learned the following:

1. After the Republican Party of Louisiana helped to defeat a $1.3 billion tax hike promoted by some of the members of the House of Representatives, a legislator asked the Legislative Auditor to enforce an obscure, decades old law, which has never been enforced, as a means to inspect the LAGOP’s finances.

2. The legislator in question was specifically targeting the Republican Party of Louisiana, not all political parties.

3. The Legislative Auditor wasn’t even aware the law existed until brought to his attention by the legislator.

4. The Legislative Auditor admitted that the Republican State Central Committee of Louisiana is a private organization and that the Auditor has no authority to audit it. 

Watch this clip from WBRZ in Baton Rouge:

Read this story from the Times-Picayune:



Media Sources

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