A day after reports of two Republican state lawmakers’ controversial comments on slavery and Muslims, Arkansas GOP leaders commented on the statements.
Congressmen Tim Griffin (R-Little Rock) and Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) condemned the comments, while the state GOP and House GOP caucus distanced itself from the two men but did not call on them to withdraw from their races.
Talk Business blogger Michael Cook first reported on comments published in a book by Rep. Jon Hubbard (R-Jonesboro). In a book titled “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” Hubbard said that slavery for blacks “may actually have been a blessing in disguise” and that living in slavery was “likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Hubbard also said black students today lack discipline and ambition. “Wouldn’t life for blacks in America today be more enjoyable and successful if they would only learn to appreciate the value of a good education?” Hubbard wrote.
The story was picked up by other media outlets in state and nationally.
The Arkansas Times has also reported on a book written by a state legislative GOP candidate, Charlie Fuqua of Batesville. Fuqua advocates in the book for the expulsion of Muslims from the U.S. and the execution of repeat criminal offenders.
On Saturday (Oct. 6), Griffin and Crawford issued statements as did the Arkansas GOP and House GOP caucus.
Cong. Tim Griffin (R-Little Rock):
“While people have the First Amendment right to say whatever they want, the newly reported statements of Hubbard and Fuqua are ridiculous, outrageous and have no place in the civil discourse of either Party. Had I known of these statements, I would not have contributed to their campaigns. I am requesting that they give my contributions to charity.”
Cong. Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro):
“While I have not read either book by Representative Hubbard or Charlie Fuqua, I am disappointed and disturbed by the news reports of the divisive and racially inflammatory content. The statements that have been reported portray attitudes and beliefs that would return our state and country to a harmful and regrettable past.”
Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb:
“The reported statements made by Hubbard and Fuqua were highly offensive to many Americans and do not reflect the viewpoints of the Republican Party of Arkansas. While we respect their right to freedom of expression and thought, we strongly disagree with those ideas. It’s unfortunate the Democratic Party of Arkansas is attempting to hold onto one-party control by engaging in distractions that do nothing to put hardworking Arkansans back to work and rebuild our economy.”
Arkansas Republican House Caucus:
“The published statements of Rep. Hubbard and Mr. Fuqua are their individual views protected by the First Amendment, but are in no way reflective of, or endorsed by, the Republican caucus. The constituencies they are seeking to represent will ultimately judge these statements at the ballot box.”
Subsequently, The Times also reported on letters to the editor written over a decade by Rep. Loy Mauch (R-Bismarck) in which Mauch wrote in support of slavery and condemned Pres. Abraham Lincoln.
“If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?” Mauch wrote in a 2009 letter.
In another letter written in 2007, Mauch said, “I would like to thank this newspaper’s editorialist for publishing the tribute to Abraham Lincoln as well as his second inaugural address so that the readers can see for themselves what a fake this neurotic Northern war criminal truly was.”
GOP leaders have not responded to Mauch’s writings, but Rep. Hubbard did issue a statement on Saturday night to local Jonesboro TV station, KAIT Ch. 8 :
Rep. Jon Hubbard (R-Jonesboro):
“Obama-Pelosi-Beebe Democrats, led by left-wing bloggers, have attacked me over a book I wrote in 2008. They attacked me because I’m a conservative, and they’ve taken small portions of my book out of context, and distorted what was said to make it appear that I am racist, which is totally and completely false. These liberals offer no positive plans for dealing with the issues which are of major concern to the people of our state, and all they can do is to launch these negative attacks on those of us who do have legitimate and workable solutions to these problems. The one thing that scares the life out of them is losing their political stronghold they have had on our state for the last 138 years, and this is what keeps them awake at night. They will do anything to steer the conversation away from the real issues, and that is why they try to make me and other conservatives spend our time defending ourselves against their false accusations, instead of addressing these real issues the people of this state desperately want answers or solutions for.
“I’m focused on private sector job growth, reducing spending, and fighting Obamacare and burdensome federal mandates on small businesses, and these are the priorities I and my Republican colleagues are devoted to finding realistic solutions for. If these Obama-Pelosi-Beebe Democrats would spend more of their time working on solutions to problems, instead of trying to discredit their opponents, maybe they too could find time to address these same problems which Republicans have been working on for months.”