GOP legislator talks about “Jewing down the price,” then laughs about it

Rank and file GOP lawmakers continue to take the term “re-branding” to mean affirming their party’s unique brand of sexual, racial, religious and cultural intolerance.

Yesterday, the co-majority leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Dennis Johnson (R-Duncan), casually tossed out an anti-Semitic slur – to “Jew down the price” – during a debate over a bill that would outlaw big-box retailers from selling their products at a loss in order to bankrupt local small businesses:

Johnson, who clearly does not realize his offensive word choice until after a note is passed to him, laughingly apologizes to the Jews, saying:

“I apologize to the Jews [laughter from the others in attendance]. They’re good small businessmen as well [again, lots of laughter all around].”

As a Jew whose grandfather’s small business was bankrupted by big-box retailers, let me assure Mr. Johnson that he can go take a hike.

Oklahoma State Rep Dennis Johnson says "Jew down the price" during floor debate.

Oklahoma State Rep Dennis Johnson says “Jew down the price” during floor debate.

Johnson’s bigotry comes on the heels of New Hampshire State Representative Peter Hansen (R-Amherst) referring to all women as “vagina’s (sic)” in an email sent to the entire legislative body.  (This, shortly after a schoolteacher in the GOP-run state of Idaho gets into trouble for using the word “vagina” in a class about human reproduction.)

Then there was Kansas County Commissioner Jim Gile (R-Saline), who expressed a preference for hiring an architect to design a new government building, over having someone “n*gger-rig it.”  Once he was confronted about his racism, Gile explained:

“I am not a prejudiced person,” Gile said in his apology. “I have built Habitat homes for colored people.”

Yes, we’re not only dealing with people who think the n-word is acceptable, but who don’t realize that the word “colored” went out of style before I was born.

And who can forget Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) recalling how his father “used to hire 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes:”

Congressman Young’s slur against Latinos was made public on March 28th, meaning that the GOP has ten days to go in order to complete its month-long bigotry gauntlet. How many more Americans will the party publicly disparage in the next ten days? I’m going to put the over/under at three.

Also, kudos to Gawker for their handy compilation of the GOP’s recent missteps.  We’ve documented quite a few as well, which go a long way towards explaining why the Republican party is having such a hard time wooing minorities, women, and young voters.  After all, if you think the GOP’s only problem with attracting young people is not having enough LOLcats on its Web site, and you think that “in the closet” is a sexual orientation, you’re far worse off than any of us ever thought. And that says a lot.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • NoGunControl

    That situation won’t last forever. The blood and money WILL RUN DRY one day. Also, the people whose grandparents were not even BORN when WWII ended WILL stop crying about the holocaust that has NOTHING to do with them.

  • vonlmo

    I don’t care what they call us. Because thanks to AIPAC, Christians 4 Israel & etc, Uncle Sam picks up our tab w blood & money every time & will do so 4-ever-n-ever, Amen.

  • are you Jewish? No? Then STFU. I am Jewish and I am a hardcore liberal. Most of my friends and family are hardcore liberals. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • It’s hard to tell whether or not they’re dead.

  • Sit, spin, repeat: sit, spin

  • Butch1

    If we didn’t know any better that man and dinosaur weren’t in the same time period, I would have a tendency to agree with you. ;-)

  • But of course. ;-)

  • Put a lid on the garbage, it stinks so I don’t have to ask you.

  • “Where do they spawn these cretin republicans?” They re-animate fossil dinosaur eggs.

  • Sarah Silverman. —-truly a genius at the wicked turn.

  • Not to mention—a shlep.

  • and good poets and fighters. and dancers…er, well, that’s true.

  • And can’t drive!

  • Ukkk, you may be right!

  • Butch1

    Where do they spawn these cretin republicans? They seems to have special DNA that drives them to a certain party. Such ignorance and then to laugh about his ignorance is even more pathetic. They get elected is truly scary.

  • Source?

  • Tyrell

    Oh man this is such a big deal! lets all freak out! He used a term even the most hard-core liberal uses in their regular speech (ask me how I know).

  • emjayay

    I think you meant to say our people are all excellent writers and poets and playwrights.

  • Gary Harmer

    Just another typical ignorant repukelikan…

  • And we Irish are notorious drunkards.

  • And they really ought to vote Republican because they’re industrious and not like all those other shiftless [fill in the blank]s.

  • “As a single person, I should also have the same rights that the Gay Marriage advocates claim they are interested.”

    Oh, I agree! I think you should have the right to marry a woman if you like. So that’s one purported disagreement settled right away.

    And keep your “traditional values” (from which tradition? there are many to choose from you know) in your church and leave the rest of us the fuck alone, OK?

  • emjayay

    Also, the Orientals are good at math.

  • emjayay

    OK, you can make all the medical decisions if your nonexistent spouse is incapacitated.

  • I am a conservative woman and I see things very different. It’s amazing all of the liberal democrats that change their positions when it becomes politically advantageous for them to do so, such as Barry suddenly becoming pro-gay marriage as re-election drew near. I am for equal rights, but that includes ALL People, not just marital or marital type relationships. As a single person, I should also have the same rights that the Gay Marriage advocates claim they are interested. And it is plain wrong that millions of people are demonized by people such as yourself, for holding traditional values. I believe the government should be out of the marriage business altogether.

    And remember, it was Senator Byrde, Dem. from West Va who was a top leader in the KKK, but somehow your party has no problem with that. Your party also has no problem with the president having sex with an intern in the oval office.

  • Not acceptable, I agree. But it’s not like the Democrats are any better on this front.

  • grandpamike1

    Gee, another dumb ass cracker.

  • Jim Olson

    “come on, you don’t really think they’re bigots, do you?” Yes, yes I do. And so long as you continue to support the Republican party, I will be suspicious about you. You may claim that you’re a Republican because of their fiscal policies (which I also disagree with) and that you personally find the intolerance and bigotry and sexism that is rampant in the GOP to be abhorrent; but so long as you vote for Republican candidates for office, send money to Republican candidates and campaigns, you are complicit in their truly horrible social policies that do nothing but divide, separate, denigrate and demean everyone who is not a heterosexual white male.

  • But of course. I shall make the necessary correction. :-)

  • cambridgemac

    We value an inclusive society, where everyone has a voice and all people are treated with respect. They don’t. It’s a fundamental values issue.

  • PeteWa


  • cambridgemac

    you left out STRAIGHT. “Conservative, STRAIGHT, white Christian males.” And hysterical about their “manliness” and assumed threats to it.

  • dula

    Boss Hog is so oblivious to his douchebaggery that it’s almost endearing.

  • d3clark

    That implies that they all have some cerebral cortexes to remove . . .

  • I’m 33 and have heard it more times than I care to mention.

  • that man is a shanda

  • we’re bigoted against bigots :)

  • Zorba

    Yes, I’ve heard it a lot over the years, Pete, although I’m older than you.
    And I have called out those idiots who used that term in my hearing.

  • Indigo

    No. I can’t think of dead Republican who wasn’t a throwback when living and there’s no reason to imagine they’ve somehow changed.

  • Good job I already had no appetite. Yuck!

  • Indigo


  • Their ten million bucks for the whole rebranding effort would be much better spent on lobotomies, I think.

  • You must be looking down the hole…

  • I’m 50, and I heard it used at home more than once from my proudly racist father and other relatives. They also freely used the N-word. And the same word Don Young used.

    Probably depends pretty much on one’s upbringing. I was raised by bigots, and caught hell any time I objected to their hate.

  • I really do think of such people as bigots and those who view that bigotry as merely an alternative point of view, devoid of any particular moral or ethical weight, are active enablers of bigotry.

  • PeteWa

    I’ve lived a number of places in various states where I’ve unfortunately heard that term used… and I’m only in my 40s.

  • and the shite-eating grins on their faces as they do it…………

  • More than a little backhanded, actually. “I got nothing against Jews! Everybody knows they’re great with money! C’mon, it’s a compliment!” (/snark)

  • That’s very white of him don’t ya think?

  • Too flattering …… how about pencil dicks?

  • Nixon, with a little help from Cheney, who was pushing to get out and spawn.

  • Yes, I imagine there were Germans that thought genocide was just a point of view. And, some of those were perfectly nice people, or so Hannah Arendt informs us…..the banality of evil.

  • I can see Sarah from my out house!

  • cole3244

    i always find it interesting that places like okla & kan and other centrally located states are called the heartland of america, bs, people that aren’t white and don’t fit into the round hole bigots think is acceptable move to the coasts and large cities because they are treated as equals there and not subjected to name calling from repulsive morons like rep johnson, that yard ape is big enough to be a small business himself.
    ps – my apologies the the apes of the world, i meant no harm.

  • tamarz

    he let it slip, several months ago, that he encounters a fair amount of antisemitism in the Republican caucus.
    Then he walked it back.

  • “…after all, their opinion on gay marriage is just a point of view, isn’t it?”

    Yep, a wrong one.

    It’s a deeply hypocritical line of argument to take from people who love to assail liberals as being squishy, unprincipled “moral relativists” who don’t have solid ideas about what’s right and wrong. By their own measure I don’t have to accept their beliefs as “just an opinion”.

  • tamarz

    I tried to explain that (your point) to an acquaintance at our temple — a generally liberal guy. I said that when I see my neighbor’s Republican political signs, I can’t help but think of them as bigots because they are supporting people who are against marriage equality, against gay people have the same rights as anyone else. He said “come on, you don’t really think they’re bigots, do you?” I thought he was going to point out that maybe they didn’t agree with Republicans on things like gay marriage but liked them for some other reason. However, then he went on to say “after all, their opinion on gay marriage is just a point of view, isn’t it?” I was so mad I was almost spitting. I wondered whether he would think someone who was against Jews being able to marry would just be someone with “a point of view.”

  • I’m surprised the term “South Park conservative” hasn’t popped up yet. I’ve encountered a number of antisemitic slurs but I don’t think I’ve heard the verb “jew” ever used outside that show. Until now.

  • tamarz

    I’m amazed that anyone still knows that term. I never heard it used growing up and I’m over 60! I only knew about it because my parents told us about antisemitic slurs they had been subjected to.
    There are large portions of the Republican party that are not only stupid, they are also living in a whole different era. Like maybe the 1940’s?

  • MyrddinWilt

    If you see stupid Sarah, please ask her “Hows that minority outreach working out for ya?”

  • MyrddinWilt

    The dead ones?

  • jimcracky

    And let’s not forget the recent comments by TN State Senator who said (and I quote): “Most people realize AIDS came from the homosexual community – it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly.” (Yes, he really said that.)

  • Wish I could take credit, but it goes to Sarah Silverman.

  • samiinh

    That’s a new one, and I like it. Thanks.

  • lynchie

    they were elected by like thinking folks.

  • I just want to know who turned over the rock that all these vermin were hiding under.

  • I prefer to call them “douche nozzles”.

  • S1AMER

    Is there anybody in the Republican Party who isn’t a walking, talking cliche of a throwback?

  • PeteWa

    quite a run of it they’re having.

  • trumandem

    Wow, isn’t it lucky for him that not one member of the Oklahoma state legislator is jewish. That goes for their national congressional delegation as well. Now that I think of it I wonder what the one jewish member of the GOP in the House of Representatives would think about this slur being so casually used? That one member would be Eric Cantor of VA, the House Majority Leader.

  • samiinh

    I suggested that we in NH should consider rightwing republican male legislators DICKS.

  • I, for one, am quite grateful the rank-and-file GOP elected officials tell us repeatedly and often exactly how they feel about those who aren’t conservative white Christian males.

    It makes judging them and the people who vote for them to be ignorant narrow-minded bigots that much easier.

  • It’s the very next thing John mentions in his story.

  • this is one of the reasons why I’m more and more embracing a zero-tolerance policy about the GOP. I admit to being a screaming pinko liberal, but I have tried to keep an open mind to opposing viewpoints, I really have. But at this point, with this much bigotry and willful ignorance being not only tolerated, but endorsed, by the Right…if you’re still on that team, you’ve sold your soul.

  • constant comment

    You forgot the NH legislator who referred to women as *vaginas.*

  • It makes me wonder how these people got into office in the first place. -sigh- Oh well… the only way to fix it is to make sure they don’t get to stay in office. VOTE THEM OUT in “14”

  • Tor

    Wow. It leaves one wondering who else they can alienate. So much prejudice, so little time.

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