Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Campfield's Racist Card Lands in Washington Post

"Why [Rep. Campfield] chose to focus on the Black Caucus, I have no idea other than he is crazy and a racist." --Rep. Larry Miller

If you are new to this story, Stacey Campfield is the white Tennessee lawmaker who tried to join the state's Legislative Black Caucus. The Republican said he wanted to see how the Black Caucus spent its money. If you're not new to the story, scroll down to see the Washington Post account, in which Campfield succeeds in his effort to make this state a national joke, again.

After the local press revealed that the Republican had been turned down twice by the Black Caucus, Campfield posted to his blog a scaled down version of Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech. The East Tennessee Republican introduced MLK's speech thusly: "I thought this might be appropriate."

Campfield titled MLK's speech: "I too dream."

Campfield's blog readers posted comments featuring references to "reverse discrimination." They followed the lawmaker's lead and put Campfield's desire to join the Black Caucus on the same plane as the struggle of African Americans for the most basic of civil rights.

After the story spread through the blogosphere (thank you Jesus General), Campfield's blog became a magnet for righteous indignation. The righteously indignant posted links to Campfield's blog, links to media accounts that are not exactly flattering to the State Rep.

Repeatedly, Campfield deleted the embarrassing links. Finally he removed all comments and said he was no longer accepting comments because of "foul language, personal attacks and threats of violence." The lawmaker added that he had "tried to allow wide birth on peoples opinion."

The Republican has an extremely poor command of the language and has been known to make very bizarre leaps in logic. So it is no surprise that he seems to be genuinely ignorant of the offensiveness of his behavior. His blogroll includes a link to a blog that features several explicitly racist statements, including references to the Katrina survivors in New Orleans as "trash" and "zoo animals." When this was pointed out to him, he offered an excuse for one of the racist statements, ignored the other statements, and left the offensive link in place. But see a refutation of Campfield's excuse here and here.

In his latest post the lawmaker makes asinine statements about his "attempt to break down racial walls."

Talk about national disasters, the real national disaster is that we have a huge portion of the country that is infected with rampant ignorance. Can we please get some education in this part of the country? Cause all the election reform in the world is not going to do a damn bit of good until we do.

From the Washington Post:

White Lawmaker Likens Black Colleagues, KKK
September 27, 2005; 9:19 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A white Tennessee lawmaker lamenting his exclusion from the state's Black Legislative Caucus claimed Tuesday the group was less accommodating that even the Ku Klux Klan.

"My understanding is that the KKK doesn't even ban members by race," said Rep. Stacey Campfield, adding that the KKK "has less racist bylaws" than the black lawmakers' group.

The freshman Republican from Knoxville was rebuffed earlier this year when he asked for the Black Caucus' bylaws and inquired about joining. There are 18 black state lawmakers in Tennessee.

Caucus chairman Rep. Johnny Shaw, a Democrat, dismissed Campfield's request and called him a "strange guy" who was simply interested in stirring up trouble. "He is using this as a joke. This is an insult coming from him," said caucus member Rep. Larry Miller, also a Democrat. "Why he chose to focus on the Black Caucus, I have no idea other than he is crazy and a racist."

The 37-year-old Campfield defended himself Saturday in a message on his Web journal, or blog, under the heading "I too dream."

The long excerpts from the Rev. Martin Luther King's famous 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech infuriated some readers. It prompted Campfield to ban reader comments after some of the angry postings included death threats.

Experts on race and hate groups said Campfield hit a nerve when he used King's words to take on a black institution. It's the same tactic white separatists often use, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"Very typically these days we see white supremacists, hate groups, trying to use the words of King and other civil rights leaders to try to advance their agendas," Potok said.
On the Net:
Campfield's blog:

UPDATE (9-29): Think Progress has the story and Huffington Post and MSNBC and ABC NEWS and Australian Charge, etc. Campfield also won the not-so-honorable distinction of being nominated for the Worst Person in The World award on MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. The categories are: worse, worser and worst. Campfield came in second place as worser.

White GOP Lawmaker Wants to be Black 9/23/05
Jesus General Offers Sympathy to Rep. Campfield (R) 9/24/05
Rep. Campfield (R) Linked to Racism 9/26/05