Updated Analysis: Oklahoma Republicans, Democrats and national media are expressing outrage over an OK GOP web statement The McCarville Report today features as breaking news. Oklahoma City Fox affiliate Fox 25 asked morning show viewers to react. A “flood” of responses by viewers/voters generally opposed the statement and its wording.
In short, the statement on the Republican Party’s official web site likens food stamp recipients to wild animals. The statement follows:
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because “The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”
As Tulsa Today checked, the statement has, apparently, been removed.
Republican Rep. Josh Cockroft in response posted this on Facebook: “We all agree we should strive to reduce the numbers of recipients who receive Food Stamps across our state and nation. However grace, tact, and common sense should also be used when discussing this and other issues. This statement is very disappointing and unprofessional and should have been stated very differently. I am embarrassed and do not agree with my party’s approach in this statement.”
Update: After Tulsa Today‘s first posting, Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon apologized for the Facebook post that many have found offensive.
“This post was supposed to be an analogy that compared two situations illustrating the cycle of government dependency in America, not humans as animals.
“However I do think that it’s important to have conversations about government welfare programs since our dependency on government is at its highest level ever.
“Quoting President Reagan, ‘We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.’
“As read in our Oklahoma Republican Statement of Principles, we believe that “free market principles are the best to stimulate our economic development rather than government subsidies or programs” and I was doing my best to echo that view.
“Again, I apologize for any misconceptions that were created.”
It was signed, “Randy” presumably Chairman Brogdon, but there are few with any misconceptions of meaning here. The comparison is clearly bad and it isn’t apples to apples. but a rhetorical oversimplification intended to reinforce a stereotype about people in poverty.
As Tulsa World pundit Ginnie Graham wrote here and reporter Barbara Hoberock wrote here; the reaction by everyone is negative because the comment was just dang dumb – my words not theirs. National criticism coming is Brogdon’s self-inflicted wound.
Fortunately, responsible Republicans think and declare otherwise.
“The comment is offensive and thoughtless,” said Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.
Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, called the post “crass and offensive.”
Leftists local and national will remind Republicans of this for some time to come. Thanks Randy.
This writer received a personal OK GOP fundraising letter from Chairman Brogdon this afternoon. The envelope proclaims above the recipient address, “Let me introduce myself” with the return address and letter header identifying “Chairman Randy Brogdon.”
Dated “Friday night” it begins with “how honored and humbled I was to be elected your Oklahoma State Republican Chairman.”
It brags about success he had little to do with at the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference and the reply envelope in red notes “Attention: Chairman Brogdon.” Like the man himself, it was long on glittering generalities and short of specifics.
Having contributed time, talent and treasure over decades to the party, it is not a surprise Brogdon asked, but I have all the introduction to Randy Brogdon and his methods needed. Based on public interaction covered in detail in the editorial analysis, “GOP tempers up” (click here for that story) it is unlikely that I will contribute to Chairman Brogdon as I publicly called for his removal May 17.
This sad side story is best ended with a quote today by U.S. Sen. James Lankford provided in response to this current Brogdon controversy and published by POLITICO, “I believe that everyone is created in the image of God and has value and worth, therefore every person should be respected. We are a state and a party that embraces everyone, no matter their socioeconomic status and we want everyone to have the opportunity to live the American dream. It was the right thing to do to apologize for the way the post portrayed people.”