Davis Goes Nativist

The Democrats have never hesitated to appeal to various kinds of bigotry when it suits their purposes, so perhaps Gray Davis’s anti-immigrant slur against Arnold Schwarzenegger shouldn’t be surprising. Still, it was pretty bald: “[Y]ou shouldn’t be governor unless you can pronounce the name of the state.”
Davis doesn’t deny that he made the comment or that he was talking about Arnold, but now says “I was just joking around with someone in the crowd.”
The original news account, however, doesn’t sound very funny:
“Whipped into an anti-Schwarzenegger frenzy at the picnic, one crowd member screamed, ‘He’s a foreigner!’ as Davis criticized Schwarzenegger, who hopes to succeed him as governor in the Oct. 7 recall election.
“The man later approached Davis and apologized several times for making the remark. Davis told him not to worry, and added with a smile, ‘You shouldn’t be governor unless you can pronounce the name of the state,’ in an apparent reference to Schwarzenegger’s Austrian accent.
“The theme was picked up later in Alhambra at an Asian American rally against the recall. An appointee to the Workforce Investment Board, Sukhee Kang, suggested that Schwarzenegger’s accent hindered his governing abilities. ‘He can’t even speak English well. How can he govern the state of California?’ said Kang, who emigrated from South Korea in 1977, as he warmed up the crowd before Davis arrived.”
We’re long past the point, I guess, where it’s useful to point out how different the press reaction would be if a Republican made similar anti-immigrant “jokes.” Still, it’s not out of the question that Davis might pay some kind of price for this latest manifestation of his tin ear.


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