The dishonesty of Howie Carr

Howie Carr is a conservative talk show host out of Boston. He’s very entertaining and I enjoy listening to him on my way home from work, but he has a tendency to engage in some pretty overt dishonesty. For instance, he was discussing a comment made by a Democratic leader about South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. First, here’s the story:

While he was chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Dick Harpootlian was known for his “pithy and pungent comments.” Now, he’s trying to apologize and clarify such a remark he made last week about GOP Gov. Nikki Haley.

Harpootlian said he hoped South Carolina voters next year send “Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from” — a comment that many Republicans believed was racist because of Haley’s Indian heritage. Haley, South Carolina’s first female and minority governor, is up for re-election in 2014.

I can see how people would make such an interpretation, but I’m not really buying it. Haley is from South Carolina, not India. Harpootlian clarified:

“I’m the grandson of immigrants. She’s not from India,” Harpootlian said Tuesday on MSNBC. “She’s from Bamberg, South Carolina, where she was an accountant in her parents’ clothing store called Exotica. All I’m suggesting is she needs to go back to being an accountant in a dress store rather than being this fraud of a governor that we have.”

This is where my beef with Howie Carr comes in. In response to the above quote, Carr asked “What’s wrong with being an accountant? Why does this guy have a problem with people who work in the dreaded private sector?” (Paraphrased.) I think the issue here is obvious: Harpootlian didn’t say anything about there being anything wrong with accounting. All he said was that he wants to send Haley back to what she did prior to becoming governor. For some context, consider the 2004 VP debates. Joe Lieberman light-heartily said something to the effect of his wife sometimes wishing he was back in the private sector. Dickface Cheney responded with a zinger about hoping to help Lieberman get there. Now, imagine someone like Howie Carr hearing this. Is there a chance he would question why Cheney thought there was something wrong with the private sector? Would he question why Cheney found Lieberman’s previous occupation problematic? I doubt it.

Of course, the reason Carr wouldn’t question Cheney is obvious. Aside from the political bias of it, he believes Cheney doesn’t have a history of undermining the private sector, so he’s going to give him the benefit of any doubt. Interestingly, I think this point can be enlightening when we consider why people tend to give Harpootlian the benefit of the doubt: modern Democrats don’t have a history of saying racist things and undermining the social and economic status of minorities. Republicans, on the other hand, do. I mean, who is going to assume the best of intentions of a party that made early voting illegal on the specific Sunday (in Florida) when black churches bus voters to the polls? History matters here.

(I realize the first line of attack from most Republicans will be to point out that Democrats prior to and around the middle of the 20th century tended to be the overwhelmingly racist party. This, like Carr, is pretty dishonest. Those Democrats were largely conservatives who later became Republicans as how we defined the major parties evolved.)

One Response

  1. “but he has a tendency to engage in some pretty overt dishonesty.”

    That was understood when you said he was a conservative talk-show host.

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