UPDATE #2: Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post updates today's story–the hotel where the GOP Central Committee meeting this weekend is being held says that no "outside food" is allowed in the hotel's conference area, possibly creating a roadblock for Saturday's half-baked fried chicken "protest." Also, Bartels has a response from Republican Party Secretary Lana Fore-Warkocz underscoring a much larger breach between the conservative grassroots wing of the state party and chairman Ryan Call than simply "Chicken-Gate." Unfortunately, there's no sign any of the persons instigating this poultry putsch realize how bad it all looks to the outside world.
We're not feeling much like chicken tonight, but we're making popcorn.
UPDATE: ThinkProgress picks up the sorry spectacle:
Angry Colorado Republican party leaders are lining up in support of a state senator who claimed at an August hearing that poverty is higher among the “Black race” because they eat too much chicken — and a state representative who pointedly showed off a box of Popeye’s chicken in what many interpreted as a gesture of support. To signal their displeasure with the state GOP chairman, who has spoken out against the racist actions of those in his own party, a group reportedly plans to bring boxed chicken lunches to the state party’s meeting in Denver this Saturday.
According to the Denver Post, members of the state party committee circulated an email calling for the censure of party chairman Ryan Call for his comments criticizing the original comments and the Popeye’s stunt. Ken Clark, a right-wing radio host and state field director for the Tea Party group FreedomWorks, told the Post that he may have proposed the idea of bringing chicken to Saturday’s meeting.
As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports–oh yes, folks. Not over.
A group of Republicans upset with state GOP Chairman Ryan Call suggested party members attending a meeting in Denver Saturday bring boxed chicken lunches as a sign of protest against Call and a sign of support for two state lawmakers criticized for their poultry politics.
They also proposed censuring Call for criticizing Sen. Vicki Marble and Rep. Lori Saine after Marble made comments about what minorities eat and Saine later showed up with a box of Popeye’s chicken.
The boxed-chicken lunch proposal is one of 14 complaints outlined in “plan of action” e-mail about Saturday’s Central Republican Committee meeting, where the party typically handles routine matters.
“Get the chicken the night before and bring it with you in the box so the protest is obvious,” the e-mail states. [Pols emphasis]
The word of the day is schadenfreude.
The controversy over the display of fried chicken as a political protest began a few weeks ago, when Sen. Vicki Marble launched into a rambling speech about "problems in the black race" with diet and poor health in a poverty reduction hearing. Marble's remarks were roundly condemned, including by Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call–though Call subsequently walked back his criticism after Marble's remarks became a national story.
Two weeks later, Rep. Lori Saine inexplicably kept the narrative of racially insensitive Colorado Republicans alive by bringing fried chicken to the next hearing of the same poverty reduction commission. After Saine's "silent protest," a term she later denied using to describe her actions, she was followed around the capitol by a television reporter in a bizarre spectacle, repeatedly refusing to explain her actions but grinning arrogantly the whole time. Once again, chairman Call rightly spoke out against Rep. Saine's stunt–and this time he didn't walk it back.
Bartels quotes Ken Clark at Grassroots Radio regarding the anger at Chairman Call over this 'betrayal.'
“I get awful tired of Ryan Call throwing good, hard working Republicans under the bus,” Clark said. “I think he’s a squish, a jellyfish. He’s got no backbone.”
Call's dilemma is easy to understand: the same grassroots energy that put Republicans like Vicki Marble in power, with support from the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the talk-radio right wing, is ready to eat their own at the slightest provocation. As the GOP tries to reinvent its image from the "bad old days" of writing off young and minority voters, a large component of the Republican base is determined to prevent it. Call is right to be horrified at this ridiculous and ongoing PR disaster–and to be targeted for protest over it? Even the most partisan Democrat has to have some degree of sympathy for the man.
But only a little, folks.