On his radio show last week, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told a caller that it was “not a huge jump” to think that President Obama would stop the judicial system from prosecuting African-Americans, regardless of the severity of their crimes. While it is important to remember that he didn’t actually say that he personally believed it, Kris Kobach basically told the listener that they weren’t crazy for thinking such a thing was possible. You know, because President Obama is a wild, out of control dictator who hates white people and wants to take their guns away – or at least that’s the message conservative politicians and pundits keep pushing.
Many Republicans have learned from their mistakes in 2010 and 2012, and have tried to put a damper on their politicians saying really outrageous stuff that makes them look even more ridiculous and out of touch than many voters already perceive them to be. So instead of coming out and directly saying “President Obama is racist who loves terrorists and wants to turn your kids gay,” they will instead take an approach of not discouraging the most outrageous statements from extreme members of the media and their party while sneaking draconian conservative legislation in, while the rest of us are distracted by the latest dumb thing on Fox News or from Rush Limbaugh.
Here’s a summary of the interaction via Right Wing Watch:
Kobach was discussing the University of Minnesota’s decision to stop including race and other physical descriptions in email alerts of crimes on campus unless they have “sufficient detail that would help identify” a perpetrator, when a listener named Stu called in to share a theory.
“Given the situation in Minnesota, given the recent story that Obama was instructing immigration enforcement to not enforce the immigration laws against illegal aliens, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch, Kris, to envision an announcement that any black person accused of a crime, charged with a crime, is not going to be prosecuted, regardless of the crime,” he said, adding that “we’ve already seen it from Eric Holder in his failure to prosecute the Black Panthers.”
Holder, Kobach agreed, “basically made it clear….that the civil rights laws were only to protect minority races, and he was not going to be enforcing them to the benefit of white people who were discriminated against on the basis of their race. So, that’s basically what you’ve described.”
“So the word is going to come down that there just won’t be any prosecutions of black criminals,” Stu predicted. “And I can see it happening. I don’t think I’m nuts for envisioning it.”
“Well, it’s already happened more or less in the case of civil rights laws,” Kobach responded. “So I guess it’s not a huge jump, I think it’s unlikely, but you know I’ve learned to say with this president, never say never.” (Source)
If Kris Kobach didn’t actually believe in these wild conspiracies about President Obama, why wouldn’t he just tell the caller that this was a silly stretch and move on to the next conservative political Nostradamus? Why not back away and say that he and President Obama have different interpretations of the law and different political beliefs, and leave it at that? Because that’s not how it works when you’re trying to rile up the base and get them to vote for you. It’s because rational discourse of politics and policy fails when you’re dealing with a voting bloc that has been taught for decades that the other side is evil and probably sacrifices baskets of cute golden retriever puppies during gay Satanic rituals, instead of going to church on Sundays like all good Christian conservatives do.
Kris Kobach also has a history of anti-immigration rhetoric and has previously stoked fears of “ethnic cleansing” on his radio show in the very same manner he wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of President Obama obstructing justice when it came to African-Americans accused of crimes. This isn’t an isolated case with a conservative politician’s words being taken out of context by the liberal media, this is someone who repeatedly plays to the paranoia of the fringe element of his party, with great success. Kris Kobach and other politicians have learned that fear and dogwhistle racism sells better than anything else, and it’s the easiest way keep low-information voters voting for them.
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