From Obama effigies and hate speech to coded racial commentary and flat-out lies, this campaign season has had no shortage of bizarre, infuriating and downright insane political moments. As the presidential election approaches, we're collecting them here for a special edition of our Crazy Talk series. We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.
Friday, Oct. 12, 12:01 p.m. EDT: "Some girls rape easy" backlash continues: Wisconsin Freshman Rep. Roger Rivard lost Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's endorsement on Thursday after claiming that "some girls, they rape so easy," and then "clarifying" the remark, saying, "[My father] also told me one thing: 'If you do [have premarital sex], just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,' " the New York Daily News reports. Later, Rivard’s camp issued another clarification, calling rape a "horrible act of violence." Sure took a long time to state the obvious.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 3:31 p.m. EDT: Paul Ryan on inner-city character development: Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, when asked whether this country has a gun problem, responded in a recent interview, "The best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities. Is to help teach people good discipline, good character." We were with him right up to the "opportunity" bit.
First, it's curious that this conservative candidate would place the government in charge of what we can only imagine would be the pretty intrusive work of character development for would-be criminals. But AlterNet's Laura Gottesdiener captures the real issue with the statement, which was unfortunately even more problematic than the out-of-touch gaffes we've come to expect in the run-up to the election:
The idea feeds into the well-developed propaganda about the "culture of poverty," the idea, first pushed under Reagan, that the inferior ethics of the inner city is what keeps its residents impoverished.
This theory entirely disregards chronic unemployment, failing schools, institutional racism, political disenfranchisement and the dozens of other structural forces that create chaos and crime in swaths of the country that capitalism has effectively abandoned. To hear such a dangerously misinformed statement coming out of the mouth of a vice presidential candidate less than a month before the election is terrifying.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 3 p.m. EDT: Obama-inspired chair lynching? An Austin, Texas, homeowner hung an empty folding chair from a tree branch in front of his house and later attached an American flag to it. NCB News reports that he told a political blogger who expressed concerns about the display, "You can take it and go straight to hell and take Obama with you." Meanwhile, in Virginia, an empty chair with a sign reading "Nobama" was strung from a tree in or near a park. The image of an empty chair has been linked to President Obama since Clint Eastwood used one to represent him at this year's Republican National Convention, but the symbol is now being used in ways that cross over from bizarre to disturbing.
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