Originally published on July 24, 2010 at David Horowitz’s NewsReal
Nikki Haley whupped a whole lotta good ol’ boy ass in the South Carolina GOP gubernatorial primary, trouncing her establishment opponents at the polls and leaving behind a battered pile of the state’s nastiest corruptocrats and sleazebags. And boy are they pissed.
Now, just a month after Haley’s victory, one Republican cartoonist has emerged from his gutter to dredge up the same vile race-baiting and sexism that failed to derail her primary campaign. In a cartoon published Tuesday (pictured above), Robert Ariail portrays the Indian-American gubernatorial candidate as a bikini-clad pageant queen in the first panel and a niqab-clad Muslim in the second. The cartoon explicitly echos previous race-, religion-, and gender-based attacks against Haley, a practicing Methodist raised in the Sikh tradition by her immigrant parents.
Ariail depicts Haley as a radical Muslim posing as an all American pageant contestant so she can put one over on voters. He claims that’s totally different than when State Senator Jake Knotts described Haley as “a raghead that’s ashamed of her religion trying to hide it behind being Methodist for political reasons.”
The cartoon on Ms. Haley is, I think, pretty straight forward: It contrasts her campaign’s message of open government and transparency ( which I support) with her recent closed-door meetings, her refusal to release House e-mail accounts and her explanations on consulting fees and what she did to earn them. The cartoon is neither salacious nor an ethnic or religious slur. I came up with the idea of her as “Miss Transparency” wearing the title sash and bikini and chose the burqa as the best clothing metaphor representing the opposite of transparency. The burqa is a visual metaphore I’ve used before to make similar points.
Let’s get this out of the way right now: no one in South Carolina has taken greater risks to improve government transparency than Nikki Haley. These unimaginably titillating messages that might or might not lurk in her email archives are part of a manufactured controversy, one that provided an excuse for Ariail to revive the “Nikki Haley is a slutty secret Muslim” meme with his cartoon. He continues:
It is not about Ms. Haley’s religion- after all, she was a Sikh, not a Muslim, before she became a Christian. Anyone who claims this cartoon is an ethnic or religious slur is deliberately misconstruing its simple, issue-oriented meaning.
Oh, of course. Can’t you see? The cartoon wasn’t about religion because the enlightened Mr. Ariail knows the difference between Muslims and Sikhs. That’s why he couldn’t possibly have intended his cartoon as a dog whistle to alert the state’s bigots that Nikki Haley is different and ethnic and not really one of us. And it never crossed Ariail’s mind that depicting Haley in a niqab was awfully reminiscent of the “raghead” incident (or that drawing her in a bikini next to the words “what she promises” would remind his audience of the Haley sex scandal that wasn’t).
There are dozens if not hundreds of simple, reliable visual metaphors to convey lack of transparency. Either Robert Ariail is the most tone deaf cartoonist in the business, or he deliberately attempted to stoke doubt about a female candidate of Indian descent in the minds of bigots. The former is unlikely. A talented two-time Pulitzer finalist like Ariail doesn’t achieve that level of success without a keen eye for subtext and nuance in politics.
Tapping into ethnic and religious bigotry is a repugnant political tactic. Fortunately, South Carolinians have proven it’s an ineffective one as well.
Originally published on June 28, 2010 at David Horowitz’s NewsReal
Mark Morford, misogynist Obama worshipper
Mark Morford’s San Francisco Chronicle column is what a leftist’s diary might look like — if that leftist was a horny 14-year-old with a man-sized crush on Obama and a predilection for verbally abusing conservative women. Hmm. Scratch that. Morford’s column is exactly what a leftist’s diary would look like.
You might recognize Morford as the drooling Obama fetishist who proclaimed candidate Obama a “rare kind of attuned being” and a “Lightworker.” Or perhaps you remember his enlightened progressive description of “docile doormat” Laura Bush as “the ideal Republican wife: Prim, sexless, nearly useless, lets the men do the real thinkin.”
So really, who better to appoint himself this week’s Grand Arbiter of True Feminism?
Finding few reasons to gush about the Obama presidency, Morford’s current mission is to expose the “perverted kind of new womanhood” of Sarah Palin, Meg Whitman, and Nikki Haley. Ladies of the Left beware! warns Morford. The success of these “largely insufferable” conservative women comes packaged with a “s–bag of downsides, drawbacks, jackals and bitches.”
You kiss your mama with that mouth, Mark?
After a handful of slobbering sentences about progressive men with “perfectly sculpted genitalia” (no, I’m not kidding) and several more about their fat and sweaty Republican counterparts, Morford uses his column to explain that conservative women aren’t allowed to be feminists and don’t actually qualify as women anyway:
Witness, won’t you, the zeitgeist’s nightmare trifecta of largely insufferable women, the Sarah Palin/Carly Fiorina/Michele Bachmann hydra-headed hellbeast of pseudo-women, one part huge cash reserves, one part evil grammar-abusing ditzball psychopath, one part sassy misinformed moxie, overlaid with wonky ideas of motherhood, love of guns and ignorance of sex and reproductive rights.
These, along with Meg “I’m a Billionaire!” Whitman and Nikki “Sarah Palin hugged me!” Haley, et al, are the apparent “champions” of a perverted kind of new womanhood, some sort of mutant breed who claim it’s entirely possible, even desirable to be “pro-life and pro-feminist,” which is a bit like saying you’re “pro-oil spill and pro-environment.”
In other words: Sorry, no. No f–ing way. This is the rule: You do not ever get to say you’re any kind of feminist or champion of women and mothers everywhere, and in the same breath add that you also believe no woman should have control over her reproductive powers and, by the way, poor immigrant women should be sent back to Mexico and guns should be legal for all.
Another day, another tiresome attempt to dehumanize conservative women and belittle their accomplishments with absurd caricatures, vicious insults, and largely insufferable prose.
But at least Morford’s portrayal of successful conservative women as “some sort of mutant breed” of “pseudo-women” was condemned by the feminist Left, wasn’t it? No, as usual a man who calls himself progressive gets a free pass on misogyny as leftist women lap up puddles of his hateful venom.
A Jezebel writer calls his piece “a thoughtful column.” “Love this thoughtful and insightful rant,” writes Caitlin Kelly at True/Slant. British journalist Alison Clarke thinks Morford is “just plain wrong,” but only because he fails to acknowledge that enlightened feminists like her already know that conservative women are “a whole delightful s–bag of downsides.”
Men on the Left have had it affirmed for them time and again that misogyny is perfectly acceptable – even desirable – as long as women on the Right are the targets. Even public rape fantasies about conservative women are excused. As long as these men are good little lefty foot soldiers, they’re welcome to direct all manner of misogyny toward women who fail to toe the line on abortion, gun control, and illegal immigration.
So, Mark. As long as we’re making up rules, here’s one for you: You do not ever get to create feminist litmus tests, and in the same breath call Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley, and others pseudo-women and bitches.
I think it’s clear who the real anti-feminist is.
Update: Sister Toldjah also has a few choice words for Mark Morford.
A month ago, few people outside of South Carolina knew of State Rep. Nikki Haley. But that didn’t stop her opponents from wetting themselves when Haley picked up some impressive endorsements and her gubernatorial campaign gained momentum.
Don’t worry, said their trusty consultants as they mopped up the puddles, a scarlet letter oughta finish her off. And if a little old fashioned slut-baiting doesn’t do the trick, we’ll just make sure everyone knows Nimrata Randhawa Haley is secret “raghead.” Trust us, the good ol’ boys in South Cackalacky know just how to handle a foreign lady who’s in our way.
And thus began their Hail Mary pass to sideline the uppity woman with the ethnic name.
Why bother? Because Haley’s record of fighting for transparent government is a direct threat to politics as usual at the Statehouse. South Carolina’s good ol’ boys are terrified that Haley will force on-the-record legislative voting, so they scraped the sewers for the scummiest strategy imaginable.
Up first was Will Folks, the fiancée-beating degenerate who titillated the drooling media with unsubstantiated tales of his “inappropriate physical relationship” with Haley. Haley has been married for 13 years and Folks claims the affair occurred in 2007.
News organizations from the New York Times to the Greenville News printed Folks’ allegations, dutifully including the contention that he was a longtime Haley cheerleader. Oddly, none of them mentioned that just after Haley announced her gubernatorial bid, Folks posted a mock interview in which he threatened her with violence:
You need to learn to count. And while you’re at it, shut your mouth. Don’t you know I beat up women, like all the time? Nikki, what I’m saying is that if you can’t beat these [inaudible] mouth-breathing, inbred knuckle-draggers with one hand tied behind your back then someone should raise a fist up against you.
What could have possibly motivated this fine upstanding gentleman to help undermine Haley’s candidacy? After all, entering a guilty plea on one criminal domestic violence charge couldn’t mean he’s got a problem with the ladies, now could it? Perhaps this diehard Haley supporter will come clean about his hatred of women in the book he’s currently shopping … if the price is right.
Next at bat was Larry Marchant, former employer of Will Folks and a paid consultant to gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. Marchant just happened to pick the week before the primary to tell the world that he and Haley had a one night stand in 2008. The proof? Why, his word, that’s the proof! If it’s good enough for the media, it should be good enough for you.
Starting to see how this works?
Haley says she’s been 100 percent faithful to her husband throughout their marriage, and even promised to resign if any allegations are proven. But proof isn’t really the point. The point is to raise doubt about her virtue and leave voters with the indelible impression of a home wrecking hussy who sluts around Columbia with all sorts of sleazeballs.
And that impression is just fine with Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. In a Friday press release, Bauer suggested that Haley take a lie detector test, presumably because a lying whore can’t be taken at her word. But a couple of jowly dudes talking smack about the hot chick they banged? Totally credible in Bauer’s neck of the gutter. As Melissa Clouthier noted, there is “deep misogyny” involved in this campaign to sink Haley.
As if the misogyny weren’t bad enough, Haley’s opponents are bringing other forms of bigotry into the mix. U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett’s team reportedly “discussed playing the religion card” against Haley (who his aides privately refer to as “Nimrata”). And Friday morning, a member of the Bauer campaign emailed supporters an article that asks:
After seeing how the faith issue hurt Mitt Romney and damaged Barack Obama to some extent as well, is Haley making a political decision by playing up her Christian faith (just like Obama did) and LOSING the Sikh emphasis?
Haley was raised Sikh and converted to Christianity. But again, that’s not really the point, is it? Haley’s religious roots are being emphasized in an attempt to paint her as a scary outsider, someone who can’t govern South Carolina because she isn’t like us.
“She’s a f#!king raghead,” Knotts said.
He later clarified his statement. He did not mean to use the F-word.
Knotts says he believed Haley has been set up by a network of Sikhs and was programmed to run for governor of South Carolina by outside influences in foreign countries. He claims she is hiding her religion and he wants the voters to know about it.
“We got a raghead in Washington; we don’t need one in South Carolina,” Knotts said more than once. “She’s a raghead that’s ashamed of her religion trying to hid it behind being Methodist for political reasons.”
Knotts, a Bauer supporter, says he’s called Haley a “raghead” a number of times and that he was just joking. He added, “I still believe Ms. Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur.”
This isn’t the first time Knotts attempted the “I was joking” excuse to get out of a sticky situation. Here’s the ProQuest abstract of a Jun 6, 1996 Sentinel article titled “White Lawmaker Angers Blacks”:
Several black and white legislators objected when South Carolina state Rep Jake Knotts introduced amendments to the black monument bill that would have created monuments for Scottish-Americans, Polish-Americans and others. Knotts later announced that he had only been joking about the bill.
Oh, but there’s more. In 2003, Knotts worked himself into a frenzy over a group of Somali Bantu refugees who were going to be “dumped” in his district. He insisted the 40-50 Bantu children would “lower our SAT scores and our accountability.” (The State, Jun 28, 2003)
Hmm, seems like the persecuted immigrants didn’t need to bring any stupid. Knotts made sure there was plenty to go around.
With a despicable history like that, would it be surprising if we learned that political operatives sent Knotts to tape a live talk show knowing that he wouldn’t bother to self-censor his bigotry? Is is out of the realm of possibility that they wanted–even encouraged–him to blow the dog whistle, alerting fellow bigots to the “raghead” in our midst?
Just like allegations of adultery were intended to tap into existing voter misogyny, these religious and ethnic slurs were designed to exploit voter bigotry. Bigotry that doesn’t exist at anywhere near the levels bigots think it does.
When Nikki Haley launched her campaign in May 2009, reporter John O’Connor wrote, “To become governor, Haley will have to overcome questions about her Indian heritage and whether S.C. voters will accept a woman chief executive.”
A year later, Haley is leading the race. I guess she overcame those questions more easily than her opponents hoped. Now it’s time to focus on the issues that matter to the people of South Carolina.
Full disclosure: I am a volunteer with Nikki Haley’s gubernatorial campaign.