Texas GOP reacts to Obama visit with ‘papers please’ cartoon
With President Barack Obama making a campaign stop in Austin on Tuesday, the Texas Republican Party just couldn’t help but say something snarky. Unfortunately for them, the snark didn’t come out quite right: instead of a snappy comeback or witty retort, they produced an odd little cartoon which seems to suggest that Republicans should never work with Democrats, and that President Obama might secretly be a foreigner.
Riffing off the classic Aesop fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” Texas Republicans depict “The Story of The Elephant and The Donkey,” where the donkey represents President Obama and the elephant represents Republicans in general.
“While the elephant trained, the donkey… Well, he had other priorities,” a narrator explains as an artist’s hand draws the donkey playing golf. At the outset of their race, the donkey arrives in a race car with a license plate that reads “PLAN B,” a not-so-subtle nod to the birth control pills Texas Republicans have tried to ban.
“As the race went on through the great land, the elephant appeared steady, while the donkey appeared lost,” the narrator continues, depicting the donkey crossing into Mexico and then attempting to cross back into Texas. “Can we see your papers?” a text box asks, jutting out from a “CUSTOMS” sign. “Of course not,” the donkey replies.
Then the donkey loses the race because he runs out of “change” once gas prices become overwhelming. “The elephant thought, ‘I could stop and help him,’ but he’s been trying to help the donkey for years,” the narrator contcludes. “And you know donkeys: always stubborn. The elephant kept his focus on the finish line and won the race to the White House. The end.”
In effect, the Texas GOP’s cartoon bizarrely illustrates two very important points Democrats have been trying to make for years now: that Republicans believe they score political points by gridlocking government and refusing to compromise on anything, and that the party itself is comfortable promoting a malicious, racially-motivated conspiracy theory which presents the president as illegitimate and un-American.
And that’s how Texas Republicans think they’re going to win in November, apparently.
Of course, it is true that Republicans have consistently refused to work with Democrats on anything since 2008. They’ve even resisted policies that they previously agreed with, along with numerous measures that would save jobs and put more Americans back to work, invoking the filibuster to shut down business in the Senate more times since 2008 than during any other period in U.S. history. So, in a sense, the Texas GOP got that point across very clearly: they believe that not helping is an effective strategy for victory.
The other point — or, maybe not so much a point as a coy nod to a popular lie — would also seem to be disadvantageous to Republicans given that President Obama released his birth certificate years before seeking the presidency, and again after winning (PDF). The Texas GOP’s not-so-subtle nod to conspiracy theorists would seem to confirm that party leaders know the birthers now make up a large portion of their base, a detail that first emerged in polling conducted by Democrats earlier this year. That survey showed roughly 60 percent of Texas Republicans believe President Obama is a foreign-born interloper who’s not the country’s legitimate leader — and 60 percent is a hard number to ignore.
However, the Texas GOP’s nod to the state’s birther constituency may also serve to remind viewers that there is just one candidate who’s currently sitting on some very much sought-after documents: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who’s utterly refused to release his tax returns despite calls to do so from fellow Republicans — including Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
“Republicans continue their race-baiting while Mitt Romney won’t show the American people the papers that matter,” Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said in prepared text. “Romney probably doesn’t want the American people to know whether he’s taken advantage of foreign tax havens to avoid paying his fair share.”
This video was published to YouTube by the Texas GOP on July 16, 2012.