Oyster’s been covering this woman’s antics for a few years now, and recently, she made national headlines after seemingly endorsing an overtly racist comment about President Obama.
Her name is Audra Shay, and on Saturday, she was elected as the next Chairperson of the Young Republicans.
Some people may question whether or not a 38-year-old is truly a “young Republican.” That’s not fair. Clearly, this woman is immature beyond her years. John Avlon of The Daily Beast has been on her trail, and on Friday, he posted a scathing article uncovering some of Shay’s most absurd comments on the social networking site Facebook.
Young Republicans, meet your new leader:
* In October 2008, in the wake of news that an effigy of Sarah Palin was being hung outside an affluent Hollywood home as an offensive Halloween decoration, Shay replied, returning to the “LOL” style that she employed after the “coons” comment: “What no ‘Obama in a noose? Come on now, its just freedome [sic] of speech, no one in Atlanta would take that wrong! Lol.”
She picked up the thread again the next morning with a clarification and a new insight. “Apparently I could not spell last night. I am wondering if the guys with the Palin noose would care if we had a bunch of homosexuals in a noose.”
* Posting and endorsing a conspiracy-theory video that attempts to prove that Obama believes he can only “ensure his own salvation” and “fate” if he helps African Americans above whites, complete with Barnum-esque captions (“LISTEN AS HE ATTACKS WHITE PEOPLE”).
* Numerous posts in which Shay says that President Obama is “anti-American” and has “disdain of this country.”
A newly discovered Facebook thread from June 30 shows her Obama Derangement Syndrome in full bluster, when she reacted with extreme displeasure with Obama’s cautious stance on the Honduran crisis.
“This is an outrage and I CAN NOT believe this nation has him as our leader! It makes me sick!” She posted a few minutes later: “My disdain for Obama is directly proportionate for his disdain of this country.”
By the way, Shay was endorsed by Governor Bobby Jindal (as well as Congressman Cao and Congressman Cassidy), and as Oyster points out, in 2006, Shay was the Chairperson of the Greater New Orleans Republicans, which publicly endorsed Democrat Ray Nagin for Mayor of New Orleans.
Here’s a picture of Ms. Shay with Congressman Steve Scalise:
I don’t know Ms. Shay. The comments do seem to betray a certain immaturity that belies her age and experience.
However, and I’m not going to make moral equivalencies, but I’ll say this: After 8 years of what was done to, in particular, the President and the Secretary of State (and I mean Dr. Rice, not General Powell), “Progressives” who live in glass political parties shouldn’t throw bricks.
In wake of the Sarah Palin mess, all of us should, 1.) Use common sense in political rhetoric, and 2.) Grow thicker skin.
Wrong is wrong, regardless of who’s doing it, and to whom it’s being done.
Also, I would be somewhat careful of the “guilt by association” implied here. I don’t think any of us wants to be seen as endorsing every goofy statement made by a friend, business parter, or politician we’ve supported or endorsed.
What was done to President Bush and Secretary of State Rice, for the most part, never called into question their love of country or their patriotism, nor were they fanned by an apparatus comparable to that of the right wing noise machine. Nor did most of the attacks from the left on President Bush’s intelligence and on Secretary Rice bring ugly racial imagery into the picture, like more than a few of the attacks on President Obama have.
The comments on Obama repeatedly call into question his citizenship, his love of country, and at best border on racism and at worst are outright racist, and are fanned by the right wing noise machine – Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly and Rush. In addition, the GOP is speaking to their base in code used regularly by white separatist groups.
Those four (Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly, and Rush) give license to people like Audra Shay to think and act in the same way towards President Obama. It’s unfortunate that Ms. Shay thinks calling attention to “obama in a noose” is funny and a part of freedom of speech, but it is apparent that those with whom she associates herself with think nothing of it, as they just voted her into the national leadership of the Young Republicans.
Selective memory is a great thing, isn’t it? There were vicious attacks, with a racial component by Code Pink, among others, on Dr. Rice. Depicting her variously as a parrot, and otherwise used exaggerated racial features to depict her as either a “house negro” or worse. In one case (and I can’t confirm that this was the Code Pink or not) a caricature was placed on a box of Uncle Ben rice (Get it, “Uncle Ben”, “Uncle Tom”?). Who was doing that? The John Birch Society? The Young Republicans?
Al Gore ranted and raved that Bush “..betrayed this country. He played on our fears.” This was while he was the de facto leader of the party, though Hillary was in ascendancy at that point.
Again, I don’t want to make a moral equivalence. It’s wrong, no matter who is doing it, or who does it.
However, I want to point out that in the example above, Ms. Shay was defending against an attack by saying, “How about if [we] show X, Y or Z?” in response to attacks on Palin. In other places where she is quoted, if accurate, does demonstrate a certain immature spirit (but this is an age of instant communication – don’t respond to an email, or post to a blog angry.) I stand by my contention that what she has been quoted saying about President Obama pales by comparison as to what was said by mainstream democratic leaders, not to mention the fringe (Huffpo, Daily Kos, Moveon, others), about the previous president, cabinet officials.
Al Gore was the defacto leader of the Democratic Party after December 2000? No, I’m sorry, but he wasn’t. Nor did Mr. Gore call into question President Bush’s patriotism, or his love of country. He was calling attention to the fact that President Bush lied to the nation with respect to the reason for going to war in Iraq. When you lie to the people who elect you, and trust you to do the right thing … that’s betrayal, Ace.
Just so you know, Code Pink is a considered a joke on the left. They are truly the fringe of the left … if you want proof, even Markos over at Daily Kos makes fun of them for their ineffectiveness as well as their idiocy.
Now, I’d like to call attention to what I wrote above:
“Nor did most of the attacks from the left on President Bush’s intelligence and on Secretary Rice bring ugly racial imagery into the picture, like more than a few of the attacks on President Obama have.”
Please read the first 6 words closely … nor did most of the attacks. That is my admission that there were some racial attacks on Secretary Rice, but for the most part, racial attacks against Secretary Rice were not broadcast on national television, as the racist attacks on President Obama are uttered on Fox News almost daily. The attack that I most recall against Secretary Rice was that she went shoe shopping on 9-11. That’s not making fun of her … that’s criticizing her decision to go shoe shopping on the day of a national tragedy.
Most of what has been said about the Bush Administration and their officials has been criticism of what they did. Most of the attacks on President Obama involve attacks on his citizenship, on his patriotism, on his race, and bring in the ugly imagery of racist code words – nooses, et al.
Nor have we heard any condemnation by any GOP leaders of the perpetrators of the racist attacks on President Obama. No, rather, we hear Rush say he hopes Obama fails, or we hear guests on Fox News openly call for then-Senator Obama’s assassination, or even see newspaper ads that call for it.
All that talk of assassination makes it seem okay for small-minded people to throw racist attacks out there against President Obama. After all, they reason, I’m not calling for his assassination. Plus, I’m allowed to say whatever I want, because we have free speech in this country. (Actually, we don’t … as there are limits on free speech, as anyone who attended law school knows.) The point is the right-wing noise machine, by allowing comments impugning President Obama’s citizenship and/or love of country, or calling for his assassination without calling those speakers on their lack of patriotism, are making it seem to just fine for ordinary folks to follow suit.
The fact that you’re sorta-kinda-maybe defending Ms. Shay’s comments on the basis of her immaturity, (she’s 38 … she’s no longer entitled to that defense … she is out and out a bigot), shows that the right-wing noise machine has largely succeeded. And that’s a shame.
So W. was only guilty of a “patriotic” betrayal? My dictionary has those words with opposite meanings. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Bush Derangement Syndrome dies hard.
As for Ms. Shay, I wasn’t defending the content of her comments at all. I admit that they are immature, and I orginally said that the immaturity belies that of Ms. Shay’s age and experience. The only “defense” I presented was to put some of her remarks in context, and to further indicate that there appears to have been no well thought out attack plan. I ask this, what is worse, the hanging of Palin in effigy, or Shay’s (and other’s mentioned) clumsy and ineffectual retorts to that act?
I don’t speak for Rush Limbaugh. I understand what he means when he says he wants the President to fail. However, on this point, he’s wrong. It’s wrong, and I don’t agree with it. It was wrong when the overwhelming majority on the left wanted President Bush to fail, and they unequivocally did. It will be wrong when the left wants the next Republican president to fail.
And when did a noose become a de facto surrogate for race? I’m educated and I understand the lynching context, but I need more than the mere mention of a noose. In fact, at the beginning of this whole topic – many of the comments referenced were in response to Palin having been hung (with a NOOSE) in effigy. Certainly you don’t contend that there was a racial component in that protected expression of free speech?
The real irony is that most on the right (at least the mainstream) don’t go out and protest, giving rise to opportunities to hang people in effigy – that’s the general province of the left, buring flags, signs, slogans, bullhorns, etc. (The radical Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion protestors are a notable exception to this rule, having largely adopted the techniques, tactics and procedures of leftist groups.) I know that the Tea parties are amusing to you progressives, largely because the right simply doesn’t know how to protest effectively.
In this case, what is being attacked here is the response – “How would [the left] like it if we hung [then Senator] Obama or homosexuals in effigy?” Again, I don’t like the hanging in effigy to begin with. I don’t like the moral equivalence being drawn in response. It’s wrong regardless of who is doing it, and to whom it’s being done.
We will simply have to agree to disagree.
Ace, what’s your point?
Lamar, you better stop with all that “White Guilt” that you are spreading around in Alexandria (smile). I’m messing with you after I read Greg Aymond’s post of his web post about your artilce on Ms. Shay, the newly elected chairperson of the Young Republican Association. Greg never seems to have anything nice to say about you, but hey, who needs his comments anyway. It seems that some people never have kind words for those of us who like to voice our opinions. I was branded a “racist” by two people last week who responded to my article in Your Mail re: the movement to ask President Obama about his birth certificate. Some people just don’t want to hear the truth that there are still “racist” among us, both black and white.
I just wanted to kid with you about Greg’s piece. Take care, my friend, and keep on with expressing your opinions. I will do the same.
I will also keep on expressing my opinions Leonard.
Leonard, thanks for the encouragement.
Greg, I should have known, in advance, that you were going to post a reaction to this. After all, the word “racist” appears in this post.
Just for the record, Greg: I have never disputed anyone’s freedom of speech, and I do not deny that it is perfectly within Mr. Piker’s and Ms. Shay’s rights to use the word “coon” or to talk about hanging people by nooses. It’s reckless; it’s irresponsible; it’s insensitive; and it’s protected by the First Amendment.
You have acted as if people who denounce racist speech are somehow against the First Amendment. It’s a blatant attempt to re-frame the conversation— to somehow paint those who engage in racist speech as victims of an attack, perpetrated by “liberals” who are too consumed by “white guilt” to respect the First Amendment.
Give me a break.
As much as you would like to reappropriate the noose as a symbol of “freedom of expression,” for most people, it’s a symbol of murder, racism, and a shameful history of lynchings.
I ask you the same question I asked Ryan:
What is worse – actually hanging someone in effigy or responding to that by talking about hanging someone in effigy?
Ace, both are equally stupid, though hanging someone in effigy takes more effort.