National Republican Party leaders are nothing if not astute observers of the political trends that have damaged their party’s brand.
Witness the instant – and welcomed – lambasting of U.S. Rep. Don Young’s racial slur against Mexican-Americans.
Young, an Alaska Republican and the second-most senior member of the House of Representatives, referred to migrant workers recently as “wetbacks” while recalling his childhood growing up in central California.
Speaker John Boehner called the remark “beneath the dignity” of Young’s office. Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus, according to The Hill, “sought to distance Young from his party,” which is trying desperately to build some kind of link with ethnic minorities, such as Hispanics who voted nearly 3-to-1 in favor of President Obama in last year’s presidential campaign.
“My father had a ranch. We used to have 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” young told an Alaska radio station. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”
Young did apologize immediately for his remark. But it might not be enough to assuage the outward anger of Republican leaders who must be fuming at their colleague while they are trying to make inroads with the very people Young has just insulted.
“During a sit down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in central California. I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect,” Young said.
You know, the more I look at Young’s apology, the more it reads like one of those “If I offended anyone …” non-apologies.
Oh, the danger of speaking from one’s heart and mind.