Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Virgil Goode Attacks Muslims Again

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Virgil Goode has repeated, in an op-ed published today in USA Today, all the bigoted things he said about Muslims in the letter he wrote to his constituents that was leaked to the press.

A letter I sent in early December was written in response to hundreds of e-mails from constituents upset about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Quran in connection with his congressional swearing-in. Their communications followed media reports that Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, had said that he would swear on the Quran. He repeated that at a gathering of Muslims in Detroit on Dec. 26.

My letter did not call for a religious test for prospective members of Congress, as some have charged. Americans have the right to elect any person of their choosing to represent them. I indicated to my constituents that I did not subscribe to the Quran in any way, and I intended to use the Bible in connection with my swearing-in. I also stated that the Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall of my office, and I have no intention of displaying the Quran in my office. That is my choice, and I stand by my position and do not apologize for it.

My letter also stated, "If American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran."

Immigration is arguably the most important issue facing the country today. At least 12 million immigrants are here illegally. And diversity visas, a program initiated in 1990 to grant visas to people from countries that had low U.S. immigration at that time, are bringing in 50,000 a year from various parts of the world, including the Middle East.

Let us remember that we were not attacked by a nation on 9/11; we were attacked by extremists who acted in the name of the Islamic religion. I believe that if we do not stop illegal immigration totally, reduce legal immigration and end diversity visas, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to infiltration by those who want to mold the United States into the image of their religion, rather than working within the Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world.

This is not a clarification. This is a nose-thumbing. Most of the blogger commentary on Goode's latest venture into xenophobia is saying some variant of "Virgil Goode is really asking for trouble; he just can't leave well enough alone."

That's not what this is about at all. Virgil H. Goode, Jr., wrote that op-ed because he knew he could do so with no chance of suffering any political consequences, or being put under any meaningful pressure to back down. The thunderous silence that followed the letter he wrote in early December -- not merely from conservative bloggers, but, far more significantly, from the Republican leadership, including the White House -- conveyed a clear message. Goode is a disgusting racist and opportunist, but he is not stupid. He got that message. As far as I can tell, Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog is the only one who recognized this repeat performance for what it really is: not the act of a clown and a fool who doesn't know when to stop; but the calculated move of a demagogic politician who sees that he's been given the green light to run with the ball, and decides that's exactly what he will do. Here's what Steve writes:

The fact that Goode doesn't back down an inch, and -- especially -- the fact that the op-ed appears in the largest-circulation newspaper in America on January 2, not during the dead-zone week between Christmas and New Year's, tells me that the Republican Party doesn't see any reason whatsoever to pressure Goode to tone it down. I'll say again what I said before Christmas: The GOP doesn't mind a bit that Goode is rallying the haters in the party's base. It's the same old Republican strategy: paint Democrats as utterly beyond the pale, as a way to make sure that some voters, at least, never, ever consider voting Democratic. It may be the wrong strategy these days, but nobody in the party believes that yet -- or, at least, nobody in the party believes it enough to tell Goode he needs to shut the hell up.

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