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Bigotry and the GOP: The Case of Ali Hasan

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As the news cycle churns with commentary on Sarah Palin’s use of “blood libel,” the Nieman Journalism Lab looks at how the phrase has spread online, pointing out that Palin was hardly the first conservative voice to issue the words in reference to her alleged influence upon the recent Arizona shootings. Such a tempered tone is far from the norm in most perspectives on Palin’s choice language, as undercurrents of racism and bigotry rise to the surface, particularly regarding Palin’s opinion of Muslims post-9/11.

Those waves of discontent have washed up in Colorado, as well, where Ali Hasan, who ran for state treasurer in the 2008 Republican primary and lost, claims there is “growing bigotry in the party,” writes The Colorado Independent. As a result, the conservative Latino group Somos Republicans (We Are Republicans) has created a campaign of support for Hasan, equating his alleged discrimination to that of Latinos within the GOP. (The two ethnic groups have at times felt targeted by legislation and rhetoric aimed dually at terrorism and immigration.) In a typically odd statement, former gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes defends Hasan, claiming he himself was discouraged by Colorado voters who thought he was Mexican, writes Westword.

Further aggravating such tensions, New York Republican Congressman Peter King says he won’t consider holding Homeland Security hearings against any potential extremists who are not Muslim, reports Talking Points Memo, which notes that some critics are calling for King to consider non-Muslim extremists in light of the Arizona tragedy. Hoping to quell some of the vitriol, U.S. Senator Mark Udall has proposed that Republicans and Democrats sit together during President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address on January 25, rather than on opposite sides of the House chamber (via The Associated Press). “It’s a simple step, but an important one that will go a long way in bridging our political divide,” he says (via The Daily Caller).

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