-- by Dave
According to the Wall Street Journal, Michigan Republican leader Saul Anuzis is the front-runner to replace Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee.
We're sorry to see Steele go, because he's provided so much amusement over the years. But where Steele never failed to provide us truckloads of Republican dumbassery, Anuzis may more than make up for it in far-right wingnuttery.
You may recall that Anuzis argued vehemently last year that Republicans needed to attack President Obama's agenda as "economic fascism" -- and from the things he was saying then, it's clear he had become an ardent follower of the cult of Jonah Goldberg and his fraudulent "liberal fascism" thesis.
But Anuzis' thing about fascists goes much deeper than that, as Heidi Beirich at the SPLC noted earlier this week. Because Anuzis has not only long maintained an association with one of Michigan's leading young white supremacists -- a former campus activist named Kyle Bristow -- he has adamantly defended him:
Bristow led the Michigan State University campus branch of Young Americans For Freedom (MSU-YAF) and was so virulent in his politics that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) began listing it as a hate group in 2006. Bristow also served as a Republican precinct delegate.
Bristow’s MSU-YAF engaged in extensive racist activities. One of its first stunts was presenting a 13-point agenda that would have established a “Caucasian caucus” at MSU and, in turn, eliminated all student government representation for practically every other non-white, non-heterosexual, non-male or non-Christian student group at the university. Bristow was on record saying, “Homosexuality kills people almost to a degree worse than cigarettes. … these [pro-gay rights] groups are complicit with murder.” MSU-YAF sponsored a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” contest, held a “Koran Desecration” competition, jokingly threatened to distribute smallpox-infested blankets to Native American students, and posted “Gays Spread AIDS” fliers across campus. Bristow’s YAF also brought several extremists to speak at the MSU campus, including Holocaust denier Nick Griffin, leader of the whites-only British National Party (for more on YAF, read here).
None of this seemed to bother Anuzis. “This [Bristow] is exactly the type of young kid we want out there,” Anuzis, then already the GOP state chair, said on a radio program in May 2007, the year after MSU-YAF’s more outrageous activities were made public. “I’ve known Kyle for years and I can tell you I have never heard him say a racist or bigoted or sexist thing, ever.” Just this past October, Anuzis’ Michigan GOP issued a press release attacking a Democratic candidate for secretary of state because she once interned at the SPLC, which the release said used “fear and intimidation” in its hate group listings.
Since receiving this outpouring of support from Anuzis, Bristow has graduated to the top ranks of the American radical right. Now a law student at the University of Toledo, Bristow recently self-published a novel, White Apocalypse, whose plot revolves around a series of violent revenge fantasies against Jewish professors, Latino and Native American activists. A major subplot ends in the bloody assassination of a character apparently based on an SPLC staffer. Several notable white supremacists and anti-Semites have endorsed the novel.
Anuzis compounded the creepout factor Monday, when he went on Neil Cavuto's Fox show and said:
Anuzis: And I think we've got to get back to the fundamentals -- find somebody's who's basically going to make sure the trains run on time, raise the money, and then implement the best get-out-the-vote program Republicans possibly have in 2012.
Considering Anuzis' thing about fascism, maybe that wasn't an accidental reference.
Seem fitting, though, that Anuzis is being heavily backed by the Tea Party as well -- which is why he was so adamant in his support for the Tea Party's influence in the GOP.
George Zornick has more at ThinkProgress.
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]