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Is Anti-Hinduism the GOP's New Silver Bullet?

Posted: 11/02/11 03:43 PM ET

David Williams, Kentucky's GOP nominee for governor, may have finally found the elusive political silver bullet.

With Kentucky's gubernatorial election only days away, his Keystone-Cops, revolving-door campaign team flailing, most recent polls showing him running around 30 points behind the incumbent Governor Steve Beshear, and even former partisan allies publicly declaring the race over, the State Senate President has hit upon a new campaign theme that might just bring him a stunning, surprise victory:

You guessed it: Anti-Hinduism!

It turns out that Williams' previous anti-gay slurs (he termed homosexuality "aberrant behavior") had garnered no traction, nor did a prominent supporter's attempt to link the Democrats' Jewish Lt. Governor nominee to an international Zionist conspiracy involving George Soros, Barbra Stresiand and Steven Spielberg (a statement that Williams, to his credit, disavowed).

But when it was revealed that Governor Beshear dared to participate in a traditional Indian ground-blessing ceremony for a new India-owned, 250-American-jobs-creating, manufacturing plant in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Williams pounced on the issue that could revolutionize American attack politics:

"He's there participating with Hindu priests, participating in a religious ceremony," Williams said during a campaign stop in Shelbyville. "He's sitting down there with his legs crossed, participating in Hindu prayers with a dot on his forehead with incense burning around him. I don't know what the man was thinking...If I'm a Christian, I don't participate in Jewish prayers. I'm glad they do that. I don't participate in Hindu prayers. I don't participate in Muslim prayers. I don't do that...To get down and get involved and participate in prayers to these polytheistic situations, where you have these Hindu gods that they are praying to, doesn't appear to me to be in line with what a governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky ought to be doing."

(Brief digression: On behalf of all Jewish Kentuckians, I express our deep gratitude to Williams for sanctioning our worship, and assure him that we won't force him to join us in those prayers that he finds offensive...OK, back to the Senate President:)

Williams said he was not showing disrespect to Hindus with his comments. "I think you disrespect other people's religion when you go down there," he said. He said he has visited countries that had Hindu ceremonies but declined to participate. "That would be idolatry," he said.

Of course, the liberul establishment's response to Williams' bold statements -- his campaign theme is "Bold ideas. True leadership" -- predictably has been negative. Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics claimed that Williams' comments show that "he's frustrated because he's so far behind" in the race for governor, "He's got to roll the dice now, so he is bringing up religion."

And of course, the Hindus themselves had a beef...whoops, make that a disagreement...with Williams' comments:  "National Hindu spokesman Rajan Zed issued a statement Tuesday night decrying Williams' 'dragging of a Hindu ceremony ... into an electoral battle for governor's race in Kentucky...Kentucky governorship candidate David Williams should apologize for the reported comments about the Hindu ceremony, because if elected on November eighth, he would be the governor of all Kentuckians, including Hindu Kentuckians.'"

But Williams is banking instead on Christian Kentuckians -- by far the vast majority in the Bluegrass State -- to rally behind their faithful defender.  Because, as everyone knows, it is fundamental to Christian theology to shun other faiths and stiff-arm inter-religious bridge-building. (That is, of course, if you ignore the tripe in the Old Testament about loving "your neighbor as yourself" and all that stuff Jesus said about "welcoming the stranger.")

And after this coming Tuesday's election, we will learn if the anti-Hinduism strategy works.  If Williams can grasp victory out of an almost-assured landslide defeat, expect a whole new arsenal of Indo-phobic attacks in time for 2012. Consider these potential developments:

Will old photos of political candidates be scoured for evidence of forehead dots and/or smelled carefully for traces of incense?

Will Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the much-too-friendly convenience store clerk on The Simpsons emerge as the 2012 campaign's Willie Horton?

Will the birther community find new life by exploring Barack Obama's exposure to "polytheistic situations" during his childhood years in Indonesia? (Which sounds a whole lot like India, doesn't it? Well, doesn't it?)

Will Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative finally be scrutinized for its promotion of yoga poses that reflect the idolatry-minded principles of their Hindu teachers?

And will anybody discover an old Joe Biden quote referring to Ghandi as "articulate and bright but a bit disheveled"?

Stay tuned...

 

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