In this video, the evangelical, Koch-backed, tea party Arkansas state senator Jason Rapert explains why minorities like President Obama don’t represent his America.
While addressing a tea party rally in 2011, Rapert said, “I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don’t represent the country that I grew up with. And your values is not going to save us. We’re going to take this country back for the Lord. We’re going to try to take this country back for conservatism. And we’re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in!”
This is Republican politics in a nutshell. Rapert isn’t some random person at a rally, so the one bad apple theory that conservatives love to use doesn’t apply. This is an elected state senator. His fellow Republicans nominated him for office. Rapert is the perfect embodiment of the three forces that currently make up the base of the Republican Party. He is an evangelical who is backed by the Koch brothers, who is pushing the state’s extreme anti-abortion legislation, who also happens to be filled with anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Rapert is literally the model Republican. Earlier in the clip, he even mentions Obama hosting a dinner for Muslims at the White House. In a minute and a half, he invoked all of the the guiding principles of today’s Republicans. Rapert also delivered the clearest statement of why so many Republicans oppose this president. It isn’t just because they disagree with his policies. There is a belief among a sizable number within the Republican rank and file that Obama and his minorities are “running roughshod” over what they believe in.
Of course, what they seem to believe in is a conservative white man in power.
Videos such as this one from Republican elected officials make it impossible to take the party’s about face on immigration seriously. It also makes it difficult to see how a political party that is so anti-minority is going to convince their base to accept legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship.
A segment of the Republican Party has demonstrated in the 2010 and 2012 elections that they aren’t willing to sacrifice their beliefs in order to win elections. These people truly believe in the illegitimacy of Obama and the threat posed to them by minorities. This is why dressing up the same racist Republican Party with an attempt at immigration reform and Marco Rubio isn’t the answer.
Republicans can change the window dressing, but they can’t hide the rotten, intolerant heart of their party. At least Rapert was honest. Republicans don’t just hate Obama because he is a Democrat. They hate him because he is a minority who represents the changing face of America.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association