Dems need to condemn senator's remarks about race
Posted 9/29/2008 11:52:00 PM
By Dan Foley
Fernando C. de Baca has resigned his post as chairman of the Republican Party of Bernalillo County. I want to state from the outset that his comments that prompted his departure were absolutely wrong, divisive and in fact historically incorrect. I want to get that point out of the way early in this article because I know those of you who are not particularly my fans will be presuming that I did not disagree with his comments. However, I did and I still do.
I also want to say that Fernando C. de Baca has proven by stepping down that he has more integrity, courage and loyalty than any of the Democrats who couldn’t wait to get their pictures and comments in the media.
I am confident not a single Republican, at any level in
Why would Brian Colón, Ben Lujan and Sheryl Williams Stapleton all get out front talking about Fernando C. de Baca while failing to say a single thing about an elected member of their own party who has made equally offensive comments about Barack Obama? I don’t know the answer to that either. But here is a quote from a widely published article about N.M. State Sen. Mary Jane Garcia published in August in the Rocky Mountain News:
“Mary Jane Garcia, a
New Mexicostate senator and pledged Clinton delegate, cried as conceded. She first met Hillary Clinton in 1992 and speaks of her like a sister who has been wronged. ‘It hurt me deeply,’ she said of Clinton ’s loss. ‘I’m really struggling. I’m going to Clinton to cast my vote only for Hillary and no one else. She’s good. She’s kind. She’s compassionate.’ Denver
“Garcia, 71, lives in Doña Ana, just north of
. She thinks Obama has come off as condescending and arrogant. Las Cruces
“‘I don’t know one single Hispanic over 50 who will cast a vote for Obama,’ she said, conceding that ‘there have always been conflicts between blacks and browns.’”
Now why does Mary Jane Garcia, who by the way is the sitting Democratic whip in the New Mexico State Senate, get a pass on her comment, while Fernando C. de Baca is sent packing as a county chairman? What would posses the chairman of the Democrat Party, the speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives and the majority whip of the New Mexico House of Representatives to say anything about C. de Baca while allowing Mary Jane Garcia to get away with her comments? How come nobody is calling for her to resign with the same strength and vigor they did for C. de Baca?
Had the Garcia story been about a Republican…
I am sure some of you are going to say you didn’t know about her comments. And I have to concede that, but that in and of itself raises a question about the media coverage. Whether it had taken place in
But my question today is to the Democrats who called on Fernando C. de Baca to resign. Are you going to be consistent and ask for the same thing from Democrats who make these same kinds of statements? Or once again are you going to sweep it under the rug -- like you do Robert Byrd’s history with the Ku Klux Klan? Are you going to stand up and show that you actually care more about people than you do your party? Are you going to once again follow the lead of Republicans and do what is right when it comes to civil rights and dealing with race?
Although your party came kicking and screaming, so to speak, after 120 years of opposing civil rights, it did finally join Republicans in doing the right thing. The first Civil Rights Act they supported was, finally, in 1964. And I give them credit for that.
But now Democrats need to do what is right, follow the Republicans’ lead and stand up to a member of your own party. Democrats need to condemn the offensive comments of Mary Jane Garcia, and do so with the same energy you did when the comments came from Fernando C. de Baca. This is your chance to do what is right. Unlike before, you don’t have to wait a century to do the right thing. You can do it now.
Foley, a Republican, is the outgoing minority whip in the New Mexico House of Representatives.