Republican Congressional candidate Ian Bayne of Illinois figured out a nice way to draw a little attention to himself. In an email to supporters today, he compared Duck Dynasty's anti-gay Phil Robertson to Rosa Parks. Apparently the title of "Worst Analogy of 2013" has a new contender.
Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty is "Rosa Parks" of our generation http://t.co/ausKWBwg7i— Ian Bayne (@ianbayneisright) December 20, 2013
Bayne, who uses the clever/ironic Twitter handle @IanBayneIsRight, tweeted a link to a blog post that shared the email's content, and which included his intentionally provocative headline.
"In December 1955," the post reads, "Rosa Parks took a stand against an unjust societal persecution of black people, and in December 2013, Robertson took a stand against persecution of Christians." This is the common argument in defense of Robertson's comments, the idea that he was simply expressing his religious faith when he told GQ magazine that "a vagina … would be more desirable than a man's anus" and in which he compared homosexuality to bestiality. It's the argument made by Robertson himself, by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and it's now prompted an unknown candidate in Illinois to draw an extremely poor comparison.
Bayne is running in Illinois' 11th District, one of at least three Republicans hoping to challenge Democrat Rep. Bill Foster, in a race that Cook Political sees as strongly favoring the incumbent. Bayne wants attention; Bayne, like other Republicans, wants to send a message to conservatives that he's their candidate. So he compares Robertson's obviously grasping defense for his offensive comments to the determined civil disobedience of a leader of the civil rights movement. As Talking Points Memo notes, it's made even more awkward by Robertson's lesser known comments in which he claimed that "pre-entitlement, pre-welfare" black people "were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."
Bayne's campaign website points to another site, TakeBackAmerica.com, which features the video at left. The message is precisely the opposite of the one Rosa Parks advocated. "We will not back down and have someone tell us what to do or how to live," he argues. "We must reclaim our freedoms." Rosa Parks wanted to tell white Southerners what to do; namely, eliminate segregation. Robertson wants to tell gays what to do: Ignore their nature or go to Hell. (Literally.) That's not an attempt to claim a freedom. It's an attempt to curtail one.
"Ian Bayne’s resume resembles that of a founding father more than a contemporary American professional," his campaign biography claims. In part, apparently, because his understanding of race issues is a bit archaic.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.