Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What is up with the Hillsborough County, Florida GOP?

Aside from being infested with bigots, I mean.

Lawyers, Guns, and Money has the story of Carol Carter, a Florida Republican State Committeewoman who got herself into trouble by e-mailing a racist message to eight of her closest friends.

"How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in 1 day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn't get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?"

After her "joke" migrated beyond the initial group to whom she sent it, Carter sent out an apology. Sort of.

"I have been asked to send this apology for my earlier email. I am sorry that it was received in a negative manner. I do hope that we are going to be allowed to keep our sense of humor. As you can now see, it went to very few people. I did add Todd Marks in this apology, as he is in the mix now. I am also sorry to learn that some of these persons are not real team players. There really was no reason for this to go beyond those that I emailed ( 8 people). This was not an email blast as I do not have that capability.


She then resigned.
Really, if that's the best you can do, why go through the pretense of apologizing at all? Blaming the offended party for taking offense at your "sense of humor" does nothing to soothe hurt feelings. In fact, people would respect you more if you told them to go f____ themselves and get over it. They still wouldn't like you very much, but they wouldn't think of you as a weasel in addition to being a vicious racist.

Anyway, when I read this, Hillsborough County sounded familiar.

Now I remember why.*

This is not the first time that a Hillsborough County Republican Party official got in trouble for a racist e-mail.

In October, 2008, then-party chair David Storck instigated a scandal when he forwarded a racist e-mail from a local volunteer warning of "carloads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes for Obama."

It begins with the words "The Threat," and, referring to an early voting site in Temple Terrace, reads in part: "I see carloads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes for Obama. This is their chance to get a black president and they seem to care little that he is at minimum, socialist, and probably Marxist in his core beliefs. After all, he is black — no experience or accomplishments — but he is black."

Near the end of the e-mail, Whitley writes: "There is only one way to stop Obama: Vote!!!"

Storck prefaced his forwarding of the e-mail by saying: "If you think it can help us win this election, please pass it on."
And the similarity doesn't stop with the racist e-mail.

Like Carter, Storck reacted to the resulting controversy by whining about the fact the e-mail went beyond the original recipients.

It was supposed to be an internal e-mail, Storck said, and someone releasing it to the media was an attempt to "sabotage the Republican Party."

Later, however, Storck said he did not endorse the statement. Thursday afternoon, he sent a followup e-mail offering his "sincere apology."
And like Storck, Carter either never noticed the "Forward" button on her e-mail, or never bothered to figure out what it could be used for.

I wouldn't go so far as to call it a trend, but the Hillsborough County GOP definitely seems to have a problem - with racism and stupidity.

*My original post from October about the David Storck controversy is here.

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