Earlier this month, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who’s a leading anti-immigration strategist in the GOP, took a call on his radio program from someone who speculated that President Obama might end criminal prosecutions of African Americans “regardless of the crime.” Rather than simply disagree with the caller’s theory, Kobach responded by claiming that while such a scenario was “unlikely,” it wasn’t “a huge jump” since “it’s already happened more or less in the case of civil rights laws.” “Never say never,” he explained.
Kobach’s willingness to encourage theories about an anti-white conspiracy led by President Obama understandably raised some eyebrows in Kansas, where the Democratic leader in the state senate called on Kobach to resign.
The Republican official at first defended his remarks, claiming that “the Obama administration has already done what the caller suggests in the context of voting civil rights statutes.” He cited a right-wing myth about the Justice Department’s handling of a New Black Panthers Party case to substantiate his claim.
But then, on his March 8 radio program, Kobach struck back, accusing his critics of subjecting him to a “struggle session” like those perpetrated against “class enemies” during the Cultural Revolution in China. He also seemed to reverse course by insisting that he actually told the caller he disagreed with him.
“The left wing went crazy,” Kobach said of the hubbub surrounding his comments. “And why did they go crazy? Because they wanted me to call the caller to my show, they wanted me to call him an idiot, they wanted me to call him crazy, call him outrageous, say that he was a numbskull for even suggesting such a thing. And those of you who are regular listeners to the Kris Kobach show know that I am courteous to my callers, even those I disagree with, and I don’t call them names and I don’t denounce them, I will tell them I disagree with them — which I did – but I will not be rude to them.”
“Now here’s the sickness,” he continued, “and here is where so many on the left have forgotten history and they are now doomed to repeat it. Indeed they are repeating it. This is dangerously close to what happened in the Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1971.”
In struggle sessions, he said, “you had to denounce the person who had unacceptable views. And if you didn’t denounce, then you too were unacceptable. That was the evil of the Cultural Revolution, where you had to denounce people who had unacceptable views.”
“What has the left been saying this past week? They’ve been saying that Kris Kobach is bad and is wrong and he’s horrible because he hasn’t denounced a caller to his show,” he said. “He hasn’t humiliated the caller to his show, and therefore Kobach must share the same views and he has to denounce. This is so closely akin to what the Chinese communists demanded during the Cultural Revolution. It’s scary. And I would wager that most of the left-wing nutjobs who criticized me this past week haven’t even heard of the Cultural Revolution.”
Kobach seems to have missed the fact that it was his own comments, not his failure to publicly humiliate the caller to his show, that drew so much criticism.