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Column: 'Will We Still Call It The White House?' Buttons The Latest GOP Fiasco

This story was written by Zack C. Hall, Daily Texan


While Rick Perry & Co. crept around the Texas Republican Convention claiming to have actually accomplished something and John "McBush" McCain sold off our coastline to Houston oil and gas executives, a Texas GOP-sponsored vendor sold racially charged campaign buttons at the state convention asking, "If Obama is president ... will we still call it the White House?" Sorry, Texas conservatives -- contrary to popular Republican belief, The Dallas Morning News did not make this up.

Right-wing bloggers, upon hearing of their latest gaffe, claimed that The Dallas Morning News made it all up, as if the ghost of FDR tricked Texas Republicans into selling racist campaign buttons at their convention. Just like in the aftermath of their failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, their failure to respond after Hurricane Katrina and their failure to accept the science surrounding global warming, Texas Republicans merely pointed their fingers and claimed the controversy was a figment of the liberal media's imagination.

The calls for proof became so pronounced that they prompted The Dallas Morning News to post a video smack-dab on the front page of its Web site. The clip featured a reporter displaying the racist black-and-white button as if she were one of Barker's Beauties on "The Price is Right."

All the proof anyone needed, however, was on the GOP-sponsored vendor's Web site, republicanmarket.com. A quick glance by any Texas Republican staffer would have confirmed that, perhaps, it was not the best group to accept money from at a convention. For $5, the GOP vendor allows you to mix and match a variety of racially charged, homophobic and sexist campaign buttons including, "Press 1 for English ... Press 2 for Deportation" and the anti-Hillary Clinton, "Life's a bitch ... don't vote for one" button.

A Texas Republican Party spokesperson told The Associated Press that vendors don't go through a vetting process for the right to sell items at the convention. Yet media reports show that for years the Texas Republican Party has denied a booth to the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans, saying that homosexuality is not "an acceptable 'alternative' lifestyle" and sodomy should be criminalized.

Perhaps the Log Cabin Republicans should come over to the left where they belong and where they'll be accepted.

Is it possible that these mishaps are indicative of the current state of the Republican Party? A party that is so incapable of energizing its base that all it can possibly do to avoid complete annihilation this November is to engage in the politics of intolerance and fear?

There is a reason recent polls have shown Sen. Obama within striking distance of "McBush" in recent GOP strongholds like Georgia, Virginia,

North Carolina and Montana. The Democratic Party's message of inclusion, change and hope resonates with voters. Even in Texas, Democrats are only five seats away from taking a majority in the Texas House. And in the Texas race for U.S. Senate, an Army lieutenant colonel and Democratic state representative named Rick Noriega is gaining national attention and points in the polls in his battle against Bush crony and incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. "Big" John Cornyn.

Anyone who suggests that the November election will be a nail biter is dreaming. Republican activists, some of whom were wearing "I will hold my nose when I vote for McCain" campaign buttons at the state convention, have truly dominated Texas politics in recent history. This year, however, they don't stand a chance.

So don't try to blame this disaster on the left. The latest fiasco is anything but a left-wing conspiracy; instead, it's just another right-wing screwup.

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