DNC Chairman Defends Actor?s ?Fundamentalist Wackos? Remark
July 7, 2008
Boston (CNSNews.com) - The chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Thursday defended actor Alec Baldwin's remark at an official DNC event that the GOP has been "hijacked by these fundamentalist wackos."
DNC chair Terry McAuliffe told CNSNews.com, "Alec Baldwin said that? But you know what? [Vice President] Dick Cheney went on the floor of the United States senate and told a fellow senator to go 'blank' himself."
"Alec Baldwin can speak for himself, anybody can speak for themselves," McAuliffe said.
"Now I am sorry, I am not going to be too outraged over Alec Baldwin when the incumbent vice president of the United States of America uses language that I can''t talk about in front of my five children," McAuliffe added.
Baldwin made the controversial remarks on Wednesday at a DNC panel discussion with other Hollywood celebrities called "Funny But True: Important Issue in 2004."
"To me, the Republican Party is the real great tragedy of the last 25 years because there are lot of good and decent people and a lot of good political points [that have] come from the Republican Party in the post-war period, but it has been hijacked by these fundamentalist wackos," Baldwin said.
The audience, which included Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, greeted Baldwin's comment with sustained applause.
Following the 90-minute panel discussion, DNC Chair McAuliffe joined the celebrities on stage at Boston's Schubert Theater: "What did you think of our group? Give them a great round of applause," McAuliffe said.
"What we wanted to do this year instead of just hosting parties, we wanted to have substantive events for you like we had here today," McAuliffe added.
The Republican National Committee fired back on Thursday, calling McAuliffe's comparison of Baldwin's tirade to Cheney''s cursing "a silly analogy."
"It is not surprising that [McAuliffe] would embrace Alec Baldwin because anger and vitriolic rhetoric has become the trademark of the Democratic Party," Jim Dyke, the RNC communications director, told CNSNews.com.
Dyke predicted that the Democrats may have problems attracting swing voters by not repudiating Baldwin's comment, because "voters don''t appreciate a party whose message is based in anger and vitriolic rhetoric."
'Hostage to right-wing ideology'
Actress-turned-Air America radio host Janeane Garofalo dismissed Baldwin's use of the phrase "fundamentalist wackos."
"That kind of langue is so silly. Why do people pretend on the right and the left that it is so outrageous when adults use language?" Garofalo told CNSNews.com.
Garofalo believes that Baldwin was correct. She said she believes "the Republican Party is being held hostage to right-wing ideology."
"The Republican Party has been done a great disservice by the theocrats, the religious right -- guys like Jerry Falwell -- they are not well represented," she added.
'Their values are different'
Former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich said Baldwin should not have use the extreme rhetoric.
"I would never use the term wackos, I mean that is not respectful," Reich told CNSNews.com.
But adjectives aside, Reich did agree with Baldwin's overall point about the GOP being dominated by religious conservatives.
"Undoubtedly the Republican Party is relying to an extraordinary extent -- it has relied to an extraordinary extent -- on right-wing religious conservatives, and that is not a secret. That is not a surprise. We know that, and that is well documented, just look at who the ground troops of the Republican Party are," Reich explained.
"Some of these people are perfectly fine, decent people, but their values are different from the mainstream of American values," he added.
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