Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Texas GOP cuts off vendor that sold racist button
By APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Republican Party is distancing itself from a vendor who sold campaign buttons at last weekend's state convention that asked, "If Obama is president ... will we still call it The White House?"

The state GOP party said Wednesday that it will donate the $1,500 rent it collected from the vendor,, to Midwestern flood victims.

State GOP spokesman Hans Klingler said the party does not vet the merchandise being sold, but officials plan to discuss doing so in the future. The button sales at the convention in Houston were first reported in The Dallas Morning News.

"This vendor need not apply to another Texas GOP state convention," Klingler said. "We will neither tolerate nor profit from bigotry."

Barack Obama, who clinched the Democratic nomination this month, is the first blackpresidential nominee of a major party.

The vendor, Jonathan Alcox, said he was trying to be funny and based the button on apolitical cartoon. He said he made 12 buttons and sold four, two of them to reporters.

"We're into humor, not racism," said Alcox, who described himself as an independent who may vote for Obama in November. "Why would I do that purposely? I thought it was funny."

The state GOP will bar the vendor from booth space at future events and "encourage him to clean up his act," Klingler said.

"The Republican Party of Texas told me I can never go there again. They're my biggest event," Alcox said. "It's pretty much put me out of business."

State GOP officials said they also have alerted the Republican National Convention so that Alcox will not be allowed to sell merchandise at the convention in St. Paul, Minn., in September.

The Texas Republican Party, whose platform is often far to the right of the national GOP, has been in hot water over diversity issues before.

In 1998, the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest organization of gay Republicans, was denied a booth at the GOP state convention in Fort Worth and likened to the Ku Klux Klan by a Texas Republican Party spokesman.

"We don't allow pedophiles, transvestites or cross-dressers, either," then-GOPspokesman Robert Black said at the time.

So, I'm just curious. HOW is this any different than the Rev. Wright-Obama thing, exactly? Note two things here. First, the guy DID have his booth and presumably kept it for the entire state convention, which means he WAS allowed to pander his crap for the entire convention. Second, that last bit about gay Republicans (isn't that an oxymoron? Better yet, doesn't that pretty much prove no one CHOOSES to be gay?). Is there some reason the state GOP then didn't "distance" itself from its own spokesperson?


Kylopod said...

"HOW is this any different than the Rev. Wright-Obama thing, exactly?"

It's completely different. This vendor has got nothing to do with John McCain.

Kylopod said...

A better comparison would be the Hamas guy who endorsed Obama.