Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No Surprise There

Chris Crain has discovered, thanks to the efforts of one of his readers, that Democrat Presidential candidate Bill Richardson has a bit of a way with unfortunate Spanish words -- and is more than a bit upset by it.

To me, what Richardson says is irrelevant; I expect nothing but the worst from him, and quite obviously, we got it. But, in my opinion, the real issue exposed by this incident lies elsewhere.

Sixteen months ago, Richardson’s Imus appearance flew under the media
radar, and the Democrat has never publicly acknowledged or apologized for using
the word. That has bothered Denver, Colo.-based Christopher Hubble, a member of the spiritual activist group Soulforce and
a blogger.

Hubble was listening to the Imus show that morning, and afterward
alerted Shana Naomi Krochmal, then GLAAD’s media strategist for the Southwest

“I was shocked that an elected official would think he could use a
derogatory epithet simply because he is speaking Spanish and is perhaps assuming
we don’t understand what he is saying,” Hubble wrote later in an email
describing his reaction at the time.

Krochmal told Hubble she would pass the email along to Monica Taher and
Carlos Macias, GLAAD’s “excellent Spanish-language media advocates.” Taher would
say later in an interview for this story that another GLAAD employee decided
instead to go to Equality New Mexico with the information.

“The statewide organization [in New Mexico] asked us not to contact
[Richardson] because that would jeopardize the domestic partnership bill that
the governor was supporting and working on at that time,” Taher said.

Alexis Blizman, executive director of Equality New Mexico (EQNM),
acknowledged that she asked GLAAD not to “go after” Richardson because of his
strong gay rights record, but said the domestic partnership bill was not under
consideration at the time.........

Hubble also asked a friend to inform Media Matters for America about the Imus appearance, and although Media Matters located an MSNBC clip of the exchange between Richardson and Imus and posted it online, the watchdog group took no additional action.

Now, keep in mind that GLAAD, for one, was throwing hissy fits over the use of the word in question and applauding people who called it out as hateful back in 1999 and providing helpful guidebooks on what it actually meant in 2002. Obviously they knew what it meant, and they weren't shy about calling out public figures on such statements -- a statement which I am certain can be said about Equality New Mexico as well.

Not in this case, though.

What is most amazing is that I have never once heard of GLAAD, Media Matters, or any of the innumerable "Equality X" groups refraining from public tantrums, handling the matter in private consultation, and constructing elaborate apologia blaming culture, upbringing, and Santa Claus when a Republican does something they construe to be antigay. Indeed, it's invariably the opposite; no matter how obscure the person or oblique the statement, their reactions to it make the Spanish Inquisition look understanding and tolerant.

But, it seems, let a Democrat use words on a national radio program that they have previously had aneurysms over, and they not only ignore it, but do their best to deep-six it completely. Indeed, had Christopher Hubble not had the courage (and it is courage) to come forward and keep coming forward, what Richardson gleefully replied to Imus would still be on the back shelf of some moldy closet, half past the Nehru jacket and to the right of the mothballs.

Pity we can't put Hubble in charge of GLAAD or "Equality" New Mexico -- and tell the folks who work there now that, if they want to kiss politico ass, they can do it on the politico's dollar.

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