Some In GOP Push Back Against Racism. But Is The Party Listening?

While Newt Gingrich is off accusing President Obama of pandering to radical jihadists by acknowledging the fundamental constitutional right to worship, some moderate members of the GOP, including top Muslim and Arab-American Republicans are working behind the scenes to change the tone of their party’s rhetoric surrounding Cordoba House.  According to reports those working to change the tone include officials who served in the Bush administration or have strong ties to GOP leadership.  If the news cycle is to be believed though, those efforts have created little change.

The problem for the GOP with the amplified and racist rhetoric surrounding Cordoba House is much the same it faces with the rhetoric surrounding immigration reform.  By appealing to fear and the nativist impulses of its fringe the GOP risks becoming a marginalized party for years to come.

Similar to Latino voters, the Muslim or Arab-American voting bloc expresses conservative issues and voting tendencies.  But, very much like Latino voters, the GOP has witnessed these voters flee in droves to Democratic camps over the past eight years as Republicans increasingly refuse to distinguish between Islam and its extremist elements.  This has only increased as purported leaders like Gingrich bat around inflammatory accusations like Cordoba House being the first step in an imposition of Sharia law.

Furthermore, as moderate Republicans like David Ramadan, a prominent Muslim-American conservative operative point out, it is absurd for Republicans to claim to be a party of constitutional fidelity while it simultaneously uses opposition to the Islamic cultural center as an electoral wedge issue.

Of course the problem facing Ramadan, and any other voice of reason right now in the GOP, is that they lack any real political capital–either financial or cultural.  But for the rest of us who are appalled at the direction of this conversation it is our duty to support Ramadan’s efforts and to push back with him and others within the GOP against this wedge and to yank back control of this debate.  If we fail to do so then we are as guilty of perpetuating the uninformed racism as those like Palin and Gingrich who are at best using this issue to score cheap political points and at worst to impose a new vision of religious intolerance on our democracy.

photo courtesy of Mick Licht, via Flickr


Sandra S.
Sandra S.6 years ago

"Moderate Muslims oppose location of Cordoba Mosque on religious grounds"

Sandra S.
Sandra S.6 years ago

To be against Park51 is racist? Pleeeeeese...
Those opposed to the "ground zero" mosque include Muslims. This isn't non-Muslims against Muslims. Can’t their voices be heard and given equal consideration as well as those of Muslims who are for this mosque?

'A Patriotic Muslim’s Warning on Ground Zero Mosque'

The project threatens to send a message of weakness to Islamists the world over, warns Dr. Zuhdi Jasser


'Planned NYC Islamic Center Draws Muslim Critics'

A proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in Manhattan has triggered a national debate about the limits of religious expression. President Obama has even weighed in on the issue, saying it would be a violation of American values to block the construction of the center. While many Muslims have publicly supported the project, others have suggested it would be counterproductive and insensitive to those who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Neda Bolourchi, an Iranian American who lost her mother on Sept. 11, explains her opposition to the center. And Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, suggests other ways to build interfaith bridges.

Transcript & audio:


Juan Pablo de la Torre

Call the right wing for what they are, retrogradists.

Frank S.
6 years ago


Not all "tea party" folks are racist so please try to not tar the entire movement because of some bad actors. (That would be profiling ;^)) " Vince D.

Vince, don't worry, I don't have to tar the whole Tea party movement, because they seem to be doing a great job of tarring themselves! Also I don't know how one can go about profiling members of the Tea Party which persist in acting like dummies, while making fools of themselves before the entire world.

Care2 members please see these hilarious videos,but only if you like to watch dummies in action. Pardon the pun, I just couldn't resist it,lol.

Why Dummies Can't Build a Tea Party

Why Dummies Want to Forget the Tea Party Ancestry

Vince D.
Vince D.6 years ago


No doubt the "tea party" is attracting some people from the fringe of society, and they will taint the movement. Not all "tea party" folks are racist so please try to not tar the entire movement because of some bad actors. (That would be profiling ;^))

The Democrats aren't innocent either, that was my point.

Remember the hate for George Bush? Well now the right wing is pissed off.

As someone who is firmly in the middle, I hated Bush, but I'm not too sure about Obama either.

Bush was the worst president to date, but I fear Obama is no better. I wish we had someone who was less idealogical. The facts should shape opinions, opinions should not shape facts.

Frank S.
6 years ago

@Vince D.

"As if there is no racism in the Democratic party....."- Vince D.

Your right Vince, but you are comparing a hill in the Democratic party, to a mountain in the Repubs and Tea Sippers!

TEA PARTY RACISM: What The Media Won't Show You About Teabagger Racism

Vince D.
Vince D.6 years ago

As if there is no racism in the Democratic party.....

Walter G.
Walter G.6 years ago

there seems to be only one party, composed of both claiming monopolistic parties. The parts are interchangeable, so are the platforms, etc. Try looking up "oligarchy" in the dictionary. After that read about some of the governments which practice it and you will be able to predict our future.

Frank S.
6 years ago

Anyone who thinks the Republican party has not corrupted itself by lying in bed with the Devil is obviously not doing their homework. The Tea party has also sold its soul away to the racists and bigots of the nation, for votes. If anyone wants to find out the truth about any politician who they suspect may be supporting and actively promoting "a racist agenda," against minorities. Then just Google the politicians name and the words "ties to right-wing extremists" and you may just be surprised, what turns up! I'm not saying all Republicans are playing the "fear mongering song," and dancing to the music of the extremist right-wing, but unfortunately, quite a few are!

Flake says Republican's neo-Nazi tie hurts GOP

by Gary Nelson - Aug. 22, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Read more:

SCANDAL! Rand Paul MUST return Neo-Nazi funds NOW and DENOUNCE

Kenneth M.
Kenneth M.6 years ago

@Gene: you seem like a well-read fellow. Go back and read Jessica's article. Nowhere does she say that Gingrich and Palin themselves made racist or bigoted statements. Right?

Jessica does say that these two "are at best using this issue [racism] to score cheap political points and at worst to impose a new vision of religious intolerance...". I think that is dead-on. You are of course free to interpret Gingrich's and Palin's motives differently, and then write your own article with your own half-truths prominently displayed.

But when it is sunny out and I see a blue sky, I am wary of those that describe the scene as dreary grey. The problem with you GOPers is that your whole stategy to re-gain power is to repeatedly describe dreary grey skys no matter the reality of it. It is this very disconnect from reality, this intellectual dishonesty, that is demeaning to our country. The last [R] president which spoke cogently on "conservative" issues was Richard Nixon. The rest (except for Bush I, who in any case did not speak cogently on "conservative" issues) have been happy to steer precipitously to the rightwing underbelly, and in my opinion many thoughtless Americans have blindly followed along in the name of being "conservative"...a term which has consequently lost all political meaning.

Stop asking for proof that the sky is blue. Although I do not know for sure what is in the heart of Newt and Sarah, I do know the rightwing is rife with racism and bigotry. And