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Right-wing columnist seeks racial profiling of Hillary's donors

October 25, 2007 12:15 IST

Both papers uncovered dishwashers, cooks and other suspect Hillary campaign contributors in New York's Chinatown, Flushing, the Bronx, and Brooklyn who were limited-income, limited-English-proficient and smellier than stinky tofu.
Close quote.

That is right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin, in her latest column in The National Review, commenting on the donors who are adding, a few hard-earned dollars at a time, to Hillary Clinton's campaign war chest.

The thrust of her piece is that donors should be ethnically profiled; in fact, she calls "ethnical profiling" a bogey the Clinton campaign is raising to distract attention from the sort of people who are contributing to her in large numbers.

The piece falls squarely in line with the Republican right-wing tactic, of having some of its pundits – Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Billy Kristol and Malkin herself – go way out on a limb and make ethnically insensitive statements that appeal to the extreme right of the party. Deniability is built in – when one of these statements becomes so outrageous as to cause national revulsion, the party standard bearers disown the statement and even the pundit, arguing that they are personal opinions that do not reflect the Republican Party's thinking.

Malkin, for instance, recently distorted a Pew Research Organization survey to suggest that 29 per cent of Muslims in America supported Al Qaeda.

One per cent of those surveyed by Pew said they had a favorable opinion of Al Qaeda, and a further four per cent said they had a "somewhat favorable" view. 27 per cent of those polled said they had no opinion; the rest expressed negative opinions.
Malkin, however, wrote: "About 29 percent of those surveyed had either favorable views about al Qaeda or did not express an opinion. Yes, they either gave al Qaeda thumbs-up or had no opinion about the terrorist group responsible for slaughtering nearly 3,000 of their fellow Americans on 9/11 and responsible for a global bloodbath from Bali to Britain, the Middle East, and beyond."

Where Malkin got the 29 per cent figure from was never made clear; when the distortion was pointed out, the pundit merely moved on to other matters.

Malkin, the author of three books touting the hard right agenda, has made a strong anti-immigrant line her main plank. Though she was born to Filipino parents Dr Apolo and Rafaela Maglalang, who arrived in the US with Rafaela in an advanced state of pregnancy, she has gone on in her columns to oppose the granting of automatic citizenship to babies born to people who have only recently arrived in the US.

Referring to such babies as "anchor babies", she wrote in a column that "Citizenship is too precious to squander on accidental Americans".

Her latest critique of Asian donors, peppered with overtly racist catchphrases including the "smellier than stinky tofu" line, has already created considerable waves on the Net, and across the blogosphere. Elsewhere, questions are being asked about why an Asian is a "suspect Hillary campaign contributor" only because he or she happens to be a dishwasher, or a cook.

None of this will worry a columnist used to living her media life on the extreme edge. Her concluding argument is:
"If it's "ethnic profiling" to be extra-careful of Chinatown donors who can't speak English, live in dilapidated buildings, have never voted, can't tell Hillary Clinton from Hunan Chicken or simply can't be found, then "ethnic profiling" should be the standard procedure of every responsible campaign.

"Discrimination is not a dirty word when it comes to keeping dirty money out of American politics."

The Rediff News Bureau