Capitalizing on a Gaffe
Democrats are in the beginning stages of capitalizing on a political gaffe by a Greene County Republican official.
U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine wasted no time Thursday sending an email with the subect "Armed Revolution?" -- a reference to what Ponch McPhee calls for in the Greene County Republican newsletter if Barack Obama is re-elected president.
"It's bad enough when politicians try to pit us against one another, but inciting violence is completely unacceptable," the email said.
"The campaign wants the email to have some juicy news peg in it that will make people mad to donate money because I think a lot of politics is getting people angry and getting them fired up," said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
Kaine asked for a $5 donation in the email to "restore the politics of respect and defeat the politics of division."
But Kondik says it's a two-way street.
"If a Democrat had said something outrageous about a Republican, maybe not an armed revolution or whatever, but I think the Republcians would be eager to pick up off that or fundraise off that or score political points off it," he said. "That's just the way the game is played."
May 10, 2012
The man who called for an "armed revolution" if President Obama was re-elected is no longer the editor of the Greene County Republican Committee's monthly newsletter, The Constitutional Conservatives, according to a statement on the group's website.
Gary Lowe, Chairman of the GCRP, posted the statement Thursday in response to recent outrage over remarks made by then-editor Ponch McPhee in a column titled "Whitehouse Watchdog" in the March edition of the newsletter.
"The referenced comment is included in an Editorial comment made by the former Newsletter Editor," Lowe writes, denouncing the language used by McPhee. "It was written... before a change in the Greene County Republican Committee (GCRC) leadership, and clearly illustrates the needed change for leadership via recent elections."
Lowe notes that the newsletter includes a disclaimer that states its content does not reflect the opinions of the Republican party.
"As a editorial comment, it is the musing of one person, not the party," he writes. "While we believe this election is critical to the direction of the future of this great nation, we do not believe that if the results end up with the re-election of Barack Obama, that will necessitate what the author suggests."
Lowe adds that editorial comments, like those made by McPhee, Ted Nugent, Bill Maher and countless others, are ultimately protected by the First Amendment.
To read the complete statement, click here.
The Greene County Republican Committee and the editor of its newsletter are receiving heavy criticism for a column that calls for an "armed revolution" if President Barack Obama is re-elected in November.
Ponch McPhee, editor of the Greene County Republican Committee newsletter, The Constitutional Conservatives, made those comments in a column titled "Whitehouse Watchdog" in the March edition of the newsletter.
In the column (available here), McPhee urges readers to rally friends to vote in the 2012 presidential election. He writes that the consequences of not defeating President Barack Obama, who he calls "an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized," are too risky to ignore.
"[W]e shall not have any coarse [sic] but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November," he writes. "This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue."
A response on the group's website says the true meaning of the statement is being armed with the voices of "We the People." It reads:
Democratic leaders say it's a good save, but the damage has been done. "There really isn't a very productive place for that in the discourse. People can say what they want, but this encourages the kind of rhetoric that is not very good for our political community," said Del. David Toscano (D-57th).
Greene County Democrats have also responded to the comments, telling CBS19 "advocating violence as part of the political process is reprehensible. It is unfortunate that such hatred comes from someone who gives the impression he is representing Republicans in the county."
CBS19 contacted McPhee and the Gary Lowe, Chairman of the Greene County Republican Committee, for comment, but we have not heard back.
CBS19 also contacted Greene County Sheriff Steve Smith, who says there are no charges pending against McPhee.