REPUBLICANS ACCUSE REP OF WANTING GOV RAPED
Nice of politicians to give Sarah hilarious fodder for her act:
July 5: Sarah tweets her criticism of Wisconsin’s governor’s signing of ultrasound requirement for women considering abortion. July 6: After he retweets Sarah’s tweet, Colorado Legislature State Representative Joe Salazar tweets confirming his opposition to the Wisconsin governor’s action. July 7: The Colorado State Republican Committee puts out an official news release accusing Salazar of having called for the governor’s rape. Alicia Caldwell’s op-ed in the Denver Post summarizes the stupidity of the situation well:
It sounds like an unsettling riddle: What do you get when you mix Twitter, a comedian’s shocking joke, and abortion rights?
In Colorado, as it turns out, you get a political skirmish that has veered into the absurd.
For those of you who spent your weekend doing normal things like cutting the grass and grilling burgers, you might be blissfully unaware of the dust-up that began when state Rep. Joe Salazar re-tweeted a vulgar observation by actress Sarah Silverman about the governor of Wisconsin.
She used the social media tool Twitter to say she’d “very much like to anally probe @GovWalker each time he needs to make an ‘informed decision.’ “
Silverman is a professional comedian who has a long history of making her points in some pretty graphic ways. In this instance, she was criticizing Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s signing of a bill requiring women considering abortions to have ultrasounds.
Make no mistake, opposing the law is the right position. It’s an offensive piece of legislation intended to intimidate women who are making what is already a very personal and likely difficult decision.
Salazar, D-Thornton, resent Silverman’s crass observation to his Twitter followers without comment.
And that’s when the Republicans got involved.
The state GOP sent out a news release dated Sunday saying Salazar was calling for the rape of the governor of Wisconsin.
Call Salazar’s re-tweet bad taste. Silverman is typically pretty raunchy, and this tweet was no exception.
Or say it’s unstatesmanlike. No self-respecting public official should be voluntarily linking their name to such a phrase unless it’s included in a dry public health report about the need for routine colonoscopies.
But for the Republicans to jump on Salazar’s re-tweet and brand it a call for a sexual assault on a public official is not only ridiculous, it also smells like desperation.
While desperation is understandable given election results in Colorado in recent years, it’s not smart.
Trying to create an issue out of the re-tweet of Silverman’s joke is not going to help the GOP with the moderate Coloradans they need to attract to become competitive again. It’s going to make them look foolish.
First of all, it’s Twitter, people.
No doubt, a lot of serious news has been broken on Twitter, but expecting a fulsome policy discussion in a 140-character message is to miss the point of Twitter.
Its brevity is both its strength and its weakness. The truncated nature of conversation on Twitter leaves a lot unsaid.
And what does a re-tweet mean, anyway? Lots of people re-tweet missives they disagree with or find shocking.
Second, if they want to go after Salazar and soften him up for a GOP challenger, Republicans don’t really need to stretch. The well-publicized stumble Salazar made earlier this year when talking about women, guns and rape might be enough for some voters.
The GOP tried to make him into a Democratic version of Todd Akin, the GOP’s U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri who said women who were victims of “legitimate rape” rarely got pregnant because their bodies shut down. But Salazar’s inartful ramblings were never all that.
His comments suggesting that an armed woman on a college campus could misjudge someone’s intentions and shoot in error were clumsy and could even be read as patronizing. Yet any effort to overinflate the meaning of his inarticulate sentences would only alienate voters, who are smarter than most politicians think. One whiff of untruth and they’ll stop believing anything you say.
Lastly, should Silverman, even as popular as she is, be considered a serious player in what should be a thoughtful policy discussion about state-imposed regulations on abortion?
Her job, and she’s very good at it, is to be provocative and to entertain. By Salazar re-tweeting her and the GOP making an issue of it, they are playing in an arena that they have no business occupying.
And you can bet that somewhere, Sarah Silverman is laughing hysterically.