Under fire and on the run
You can always tell when you have the tea party backed into a corner. That’s when they bring out the Big Crazy guns with both barrels blazing. That happened this week when the tea party’s Madison Project Michigan PAC sent out an email from Jack Hoogendyk, a tea partier who primaried U.S. Representative Fred Upton because he wasn’t conservative enough to pass their litmus test. The Madison Project Michigan PAC was there to endorse Hoogendyke in this failed attempt.
The email from the PAC whose tag line is “Less Government. Lower Taxes. Personal Responsibility” christened homophobic bigot Dave Agema “a prophet” for spewing anti-gay rhetoric and lies at a recent Republican Party fundraiser. They went on to label the LGBT advocacy group Equality Michigan a “hate group” for calling out Agema on his offensive rhetoric. Agema’s comments even drew fire from members of his own party which has Madison Project Michigan PAC ready to tear the Michigan Republican Party apart and reshape it in their own sad, extremist image.
From the email:
You don’t have to surf the internet long to see a multitude of stories…about a speech delivered recently in Berrien County by Michigan’s National Committeeman, Dave Agema. It didn’t take long for mainstream Republican leaders, following the lead of some fringe GOP adherents and the far-out-liberal-left to pile on and call for Dave’s resignation as Committeeman.
Did the media take Mr. Agema’s remarks out of context? Is Dave Agema really “a venomous committee member whose hate speech and fear tactics have become an embarrassment to not only their party, but to everyone in Michigan,” as Emily Dievendof, managing director of Equality Michigan described him?
Dennis Lennox, “Republican strategist” and party delegate made this statement about Dave. “Dave Agema’s hateful rhetoric and unabashed bigotry have no place in our Republican Party. Republicans will not win a national governing majority until Mr. Agema’s extremist behavior is no longer tolerated.”
Hate speech? Fear tactics? Hateful rhetoric and unabashed bigotry? Was the rank and file Republican Party calling for Dave’s scalp? Are they really embarrassed by Dave’s comments or are some members of Republican leadership cowering under pressure from the real hate groups like Equality Michigan? […]
In MY opinion, Dave Agema is a prophet, willing to take the slings and arrows of the left and members of his own party to speak the truth. He may be a bit blunt at times but what he is saying needs to be heard and I applaud his courage in saying it.
According to the author of the email, Agema is “a prophet” for saying that gay people “want free medical because they’re dying (when they’re) between 30 and 44 years old”. It’s not the first time he’s uttered such offensive lies about the LGBT community, of course. His Facebook page is full of this sort of bigotry and ignorance. But, this time, he’s even managed to offend people in his own party including Governor Rick Snyder.
It’s clear that this group of tea partiers won’t be happy until they have completely taken control of the Republican Party. They are ready for 2014 to be bar room brawl as they work tirelessly to seize control.
Emily Dievendorf, Managing Director of Equality Michigan put it this way:
Jack Hoogendyk, Dave Agema, and other Tea Party leaders continue to harm the Republican Party by making statements that can only cause further division. Ironically, the statements are nestled not so subtly in messages which profess to promote party unity. This represents a toxic and desperate attempt to “rally the troops” as Agema and his friends have few left in their closed-minded club. Extremists are angered to see many Republicans favoring a more reasonable and constructive dialogue on LGBT issues. A May 2013 poll showed support for marriage equality amongst Michigan Republican voters rose a staggering 14-16% in 2012. If young Republicans are any indication, polls will show that rose even further this year. Hoogendyk and I agree on one thing and that is that you should have your facts straight. Agema’s Republican colleagues, American Airlines, the Michigan Department of Community Health, and many voters have already done what Hoogendyk is asking, and they have concluded that Agema’s remarks do not represent them, the truth, or the future of Michigan.
While it is amusing to watch the Republican Party tear itself apart, the harmful rhetoric coming from their most extreme elements is only further polarizing our political dialogue. They show just how unhinged and delusional they’ve become when they call Agema “a prophet” and characterize a group working to protect members of the LGBT community from violence, discrimination, and from being denied basic civil rights in our state as a “hate group”. It’s just further evidence of how far out of the mainstream the tea party has become.
It’s worth noting that the Madison Project Michigan PAC is essentially a sham group who spent only about 5% of the nearly $2 million it raised on helping its candidates in 2012. In typical tea party astroturfing fashion, they raise enormous amounts of cash but spend most of it on fundraising, salaries, and consultants.
It’s a good gig if you can get it.
Adding… throughout this entire affair, Republican Senate candidate and RNC member Terri Lynn Land has remained silent on Agema’s offensive statements and Governor Rick Snyder hasn’t called for his resignation, even as he boldly waits for others to provide leadership on ensuring that civil rights are extended to ALL Michiganders, including those in the LGBT community.