Wild pitch, Bunning.

Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, speaking of Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, a dark-haired, dark-skinned second-genration Italian-American running against him this fall:
“I have to tell you he looks like one of Saddam Hussein’s sons… I mean before they were dead, of course…I really mean that he looks like one of Saddam’s sons, and he even dresses like them, too.”

Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, speaking of Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, a dark-haired, dark-skinned second-generation Italian-American running against him this fall:

“I have to tell you he looks like one of Saddam Hussein’s sons… I mean before they were dead, of course…I really mean that he looks like one of Saddam’s sons, and he even dresses like them, too.”

Bunning made the remarks at a Lincoln-Reagan dinner (Abraham Lincoln couldn’t be reached for comment either on pairing his name with Reagan’s or on Bunning’s Know-Nothing comments). After word leaked out, Bunning’s campaign denied that he’d said any such thing.

But then it emerged that the event had been videotaped, and Mongiardo’s people started to demand that the Bunning folks release the tape.

Suddenly, someone at Bunning HQ had an attack of memory, and issued the standard non-apology: “We’re sorry if this joke, which got a lot of laughs, offended anyone.” Bunning still refuses to release the tape.

(Here are the stories from the Cincinnati Post and the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Dan Crowley’s column from the Cincinnati Enquirer.)

Digby of Hullabaloo found this at Catch.com.

Digby points out that Bunning is a serial offender, having run an ad six years ago about his opponent’s vote for NAFTA that concluded with a Latino-looking man walking on camera and saying, “Mucho gracias, senor Baesler.”

[Right. Should be “muchas.” Whattaya want, good grammar or good hate?]

Update:

1. If you were wondering whether the Right Blogosphere was willing to keep silent about this sort of nonsense, you can stop wondering. At least some of them aren’t.

John Cole picked up the above, wrote a strong essay on it, and picked up an approving link from Glenn Reynolds.

Call it “political correctness” if you like (as one of Cole’s commenters does), but it is, simply as matter of social fact, no longer acceptable in polite society to make racist “jokes” except about one’s own group.

[Not to say this isn’t a loss in literary terms as it effects stand-up comedy and related artforms. Cutting myself back to Jew-jokes only has greatly limited my range, though fortunately leaving a pretty big field of comedic action. Imagine if you were, say, Swiss or Sri Lankan!

But I put “joke” in scare-quotes because the racist sneer, wrapped in “Did you hear the one about?” concluded with a laugh, and intended to damage its target by calling up bigoted images, is delivered for serious, rather than purely comedic, effect.]

2. Note, by the way, the crying unfairness of the Blogosphere. Kevin at Catch.com found the story and did the actual legwork. Then Dibgy commented on Kevin, I commented on Digby, and Cole commented on me.

Cole, of course, gets the Instalanche. Well, you can’t say he didn’t earn it. Calling a foul on your own team is a difficult and honorable thing to do.

[Second Update Actually, GLM of Notes from Ground Level had it a day before Kevin. Atrios picked it up from GLM, but so cryptically that you had to follow the link to identify the story.]

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

6 thoughts on “Wild pitch, Bunning.”

  1. ScumWatch

    I ought to make this a daily feature… today’s lowlights: Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) thinks his November election opponent looks like Uday or Qusay Hussein. Only if Dr. Mongiardo is loading his patients in the wood-chipper, methinks. UW-Madiso…

  2. Let's Be Outraged About the Right Thing

    Glenn Reynolds invokes the Lott affair while linking to John Cole's reaction to another objectionable statement from a Republican. Cole quotes Mark Kleiman's summary: Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, speaking of Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, a dark-…

  3. Don't call us, we'll call you.

    John Cole takes a moment from this weekend's regularly scheduled righteous chastisement* to target Senator Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republican and schmuck. Seems that Sen. Bunning declared that his likely Democratic opponent (Dr. Daniel Mongiardo) looked …

  4. The Electric Koolaid Poison Test…

    *snnnnnnnnniiiiffffffffffff!* Ahhhh! I love the smell of a mass de-linking in the morning. 😉 It's been at least, what, two-three weeks since the blogosphere's done one? From the Commissar comes a link to LGF noting that the Daily Kos has…

  5. Right-wing heels

    In the wake of our recent criticism of Democrats Corrine Brown (D-FL) and Kos, it's only fair to point out unacceptable rhetoric from the right side of the aisle, too. And this comment from Senator Bunning about his opponent is…

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