Friday, July 3, 2015

Democrats Back Away from Takei

George Takei has been an ally of many Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.  However, Takei's denunciation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as a "clown in blackface" is now causing some Democrats to try to put some distance between themselves and the Star Trek alum. Former Clinton staffer Paul Begala has declared Takei's controversial comments "awful" and called upon Takei to apologize to Thomas.

The backlash against Takei's remarks has now begun to reach Congress.  As Roll Call reported in June, Democratic congressmen Mark Takai (Hawaii) and Mark Takano (Calif.) have recently formed a joint-fundraising committee dubbed the "Takaucus."  A major forthcoming Takaucus October fundraising event will feature George Takei in New York City (the fundraiser will reportedly involve a preview of Takei's upcoming Broadway musical, Allegiance).

When reached for comment about the Takei controversy, a spokesman for Representative Takano issued the following statement:
"Despite the Congressman being highly offended by Justice Thomas' opinion, as he is the son of internment camp survivors, he disagrees with Mr. Takei's characterization."
So now even close Democratic allies of Takei are trying to isolate themselves from his controversial remarks.  (At the time of this writing, Congressman Takai's office had not replied to a request for comment.)

In a later post,Takei denied that there is anything racist about calling Clarence Thomas a "clown in blackface."  This denial has not satisfied many of those offended by his comments.

UPDATE: Facing increased political and popular pressure, George Takei has now retracted his earlier remarks about Justice Thomas.  An excerpt from Takei's retraction is below:
While I continue to vehemently disagree with Justice Thomas, the words I chose, said in the heat of anger, were not carefully considered.
I am reminded, especially on this July 4th holiday, that though we have the freedom to speak our minds, we must use that freedom judiciously. Each of us, as humans, have hot-button topics that can set-us off, and Justice Thomas had hit mine, that is clear. But my choice of words was regrettable, not because I do not believe Justice Thomas is deeply wrong, but because they were ad hominem and uncivil, and for that I am sorry.

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