Well, it looks like Democrats in a Southern state have embarrassed party officials once again. Back in 2010, it was Alvin Greene in South Carolina, whose victory in that state's U.S. Senate primary so infuriated Palmetto State Congressman James Clyburn that he accused Greene of being a plant and called for a federal probe. Greene refused to step aside; incumbent Republican Jim DeMint defeated Greene in a landslide.
A similar script is playing out in Tennessee, where relative unknown Mark Clayton defeated seven other challengers in the Volunteer State's Democratic U.S. Senate primary. It turns out that Clayton is vice president of an alleged "hate group." If that characterization really fits Clayton's Public Advocate of the United States (there's ample reason to doubt that), then Associated Press reporter Lucas L. Johnson II "somehow" forgot to notice that a couple of national Democrats apparently agree with the group's supposedly "hateful" positions -- as well as, it would appear, President Barack Obama himself. Excerpts follow the jump:
TENN. DEMS DISAVOW SENATE NOMINEE, CITE HATE GROUP
The Tennessee Democratic Party is disavowing the man who won the party's nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Bob Corker in November, saying the little-known candidate belongs to an anti-gay hate group.
Mark Clayton, 35, reported raising no money and campaigned little but received more than 48,000 votes, twice the number of his nearest competitor in Thursday's seven-candidate Democratic primary.
Clayton is vice president of Falls Church, Va.-based Public Advocate of the United States, which calls itself a conservative advocacy group. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the organization an anti-gay hate group.
Clayton did not immediately return messages left Friday. Public Advocate says on its website that it "offers strong and vocal opposition to," among other things, "same-sex marriage and the furtherance of so-called gay rights."
The Tennessee Democratic Party said in a statement that many Democrats knew nothing about any of the candidates and suggested that Clayton won simply because his name appeared first on the ballot.
Geez, can the state party insult its rank and file voters any more completely than to say they voted out of complete ignorance?
As to Public Advocate's "hate group" status, it's hardly an automatic badge of shame that the organization, which says it has been active since 1981, has been labeled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which, as the Daily Caller noted in 2010, has also applied the tag to "the Family Research Council, American Family Association, the Traditional Values Coalition, and 11 other social conservative groups" -- simply because, according to the DC's John Rossomando, of "their views about homosexuality."
Well, if that's where the hate group bar resides, then the AP's Johnson should have looked at Public Advocate's 2006 Congressional scorecard (questions here; PDF of results here), because a couple of Clayton's fellow Democrats who happen to currently be serving in Congress answered it in a "hateful" way.
Specifically, GA-02 Democratic Congressman Sanford Bishop and WV-03 Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall answered "yes" to the following questions:
7) Will you vote in favor of any and all legislation exercising the right of Congress under the Constitution to remove the issue of gay marriage from the jurisdiction of the federal courts and activist judges?
8) Is homosexuality an immoral lifestyle choice?
10) Would you vote to impeach judges who legislate the homosexual agenda from the bench?
Their "yes" answers to Number 8 pretty much tag 10-term Congressman Bishop and 18-term Congressman Rahall as haters, according to the SPLC -- and now, apparently, according to the Tennessee Democratic Party.
Based on his supposed "evolution" on the issue, and to the extent you can actually believe anything he says, President Barack Obama, by saying in 2008 that "federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage" -- and not changing that aspect of his stance in his recent "evolution" to now favoring gay marriage -- appears in essence to be backhandedly agreeing with Number 7, and by inference (if federal judges didn't stand down in these matters) to be agreeing with Number 10.
But the main point is that in SPLC's world, anyone who believes that homosexuality is an immoral lifestyle choice is a hater. That isn't even in the neighborhood of being a mainstream view, and runs counter to the specifically stated positions of the vast majority of Christian religions, orthodox Judaism, and (punishable by death, according to the Qur'an) Islam.
The AP's Johnson was shamefully and chillingly reckless in blindly relaying the SPLC's evaluation as to what constitutes a hate group as automatically credible.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.