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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