Ventura County Democratic Chairman Richard Carter half-heartedly distanced himself Wednesday from comments made by his vice-chairman, after the Ventura County Star followed up on an article I wrote criticizing David Atkins for offensive statements he posted on his Twitter account. From Timm Herdt's article:
Comments posted by a Ventura County Democratic Party official on his Twitter account last week in which he wrote that some east county Republicans who testified at a hearing in Oxnard should "just put your white hoods on already" do not represent the views of the county party, Chairman Richard Carter said Wednesday.
Atkins also tweeted that the "racist" Republicans were "afraid of brown people" and were just trying to protect their "lily-white" communities from being separated under the state's redistricting proposal.
Not surprisingly, the statements offended members of the Republican and Tea Parties.
While Carter said he believes Atkins now regrets those comments, Atkins' statements since the story broke seem to indicate otherwise.
In Herdt's article, Atkins said he is "proud of calling out the obvious racism that was on display" at the hearing, although he acknowledged he "might" have used different language in retrospect. He went on to describe his actions as courageous and said even commenters that write on the Star's website show a "virulent underbelly of right-wing racism in Ventura County, and the Oxnard hearing was no exception."
Carter said he did not condone the language Atkins used.
Had a Republican officer said something similar, we can only imagine what Atkins and Carter would have done. Osborn said he wouldn't tolerate it from a member of his executive board and suggested that Atkins step down.
Certainly fairness calls for that--again, if Osborn said something similar Democrats would call for his head. Justice also calls for it--the vitriol Atkins publishes really is beyond the pale and shouldn't be tolerated by a political party.
But Republicans might be secretly hoping that a politically wounded Atkins keeps his job near the top of the county Democratic food chain. Someone that is prone to posting hateful emotional outbursts for the world to see not only shows Ventura County voters what the modern Democratic Party is willing to tolerate, he provides a recurring handle for the GOP to use over and over again. Earlier this year, Atkins wrote that conservatives want "to use minorities for target practice."
Of course, Carter might neuter Atkins and put him on a short leash, but given Atkins' history he won't stay housebroken long.
In the final analysis, if he gets booted out of his position, local Republicans would be pleased that justice was served. If he stays, they can take heart he only does so at the expense of the daily embarrassment to his party.