A fundraiser for the Garvin County, Oklahoma, GOP is causing an uproar in the Sooner state. The flyer for the “Bean Feed” fundraiser, prominently displays a dancing bean wearing a sombrero in the top left corner. But if that wasn’t enough to inspire Tea Party members and assorted racists to attend, the flyer promises this:
Great Fun and Fellowship: Discuss issues with fellow conservatives and find out some things that you may not know about the NRA, Planned Parenthood, Ku Klux Klan, and other organizations.
The flyer also announces that the guest speaker for the event will be Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin.
Wallace Collins, head of the Oklahoma Democratic party, says that at first he thought the flyer was a joke. He tells Oklahoma tv station KFOR:
I thought this can’t be real, but it is. It really is. I think they were trying to energize their base, the Tea Party base, the right wing nuts, whatever you want to call them. In other words, throw some red meat, raise some money.
The governor’s office is vigorously denying that she intends to have anything to do with the event. On Tuesday her press secretary, Alex Weintz, issued this statement:
Governor Fallin was never confirmed to speak at the Garvin County event. She is not attending or speaking. Neither the governor nor her staff ever approved the flier in question or have even seen it before today. She would not ever attend an event that included a discussion on the KKK.
But also on Tuesday, Garvin County GOP chairman Allie Burgin posted this on Facebook:
I have been assured that Governor Fallin will be at the Garvin County GOP bean feed ‘with bells on’ along with her tour bus and entourage of staff.
The GOP gets a ‘bad rap?’
Chairman Burgin tells KFOR that he feels like Republicans get a “bad rap” when it comes to things like the Klan. He says the intent was to provide historical information that would debunk the notion of a connection between the GOP and the Klan. What he is likely suggesting is what a number of Republicans have been saying about the Klan in recent times: that it was founded by Democrats. When that claim was made by Virginia state senator Stephen Martin in 2013, Politifact ruled it “false.”
The party lines of the 1860s/1870s are not the party lines of today. Although the names stayed the same, the platforms of the two parties reversed each other in the mid-20th century, due in large part to white ‘Dixiecrats’ flight out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Also likely to be missing from the Garvin County Republicans’ discussion is this inconvenient fact: most white supremacists who have sought political office in recent years have run as Republicans.
Here’s a report about the Bean Feed brouhaha from KFOR: