Colbert Takes on Texas State Rep

Here we go again. Will Texas ever go, say, an entire year without becoming fodder for the likes of Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?

Another Texas lawmaker became the punchline last night on Colbert’s Comedy Central show. This time it was state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and his use of an ethnic slur during a committee hearing last week.

If your memory needs refreshing, Taylor said this:

Don’t nitpick, don’t try to Jew ’em down.

To his credit, Taylor, who is running for the state Senate next year, immediately caught himself and was swift in trying to mend fences. He issued a written apology the same day and the following day was on the phone with the Anti-Defamation League to offer a spoken apology.

But, as Colbert pointed out last night, committee hearings usually have those pesky cameras around. And there’s also social media and the press, so Taylor’s comment was already making the rounds when Colbert took his shot.

You can watch Colbert’s bit here.

Ironically, it was about a year ago that the Texas far right got rolling on a campaign to take down House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who is Jewish. That campaign, which appeared to be based at least in part on religious bigotry, landed Texas on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You can watch the clip from Stewart’s show here. The effort to topple Straus failed.

8 thoughts on “Colbert Takes on Texas State Rep

  1. It’s interesting that in Mr. Taylor’s apology, he acknowledged that “some people” find that phrase offensive. The other people– the ones who aren’t offended by it– are people I hope not to meet.

  2. Ah yes, the old “Jew ’em down” smear. Scots are thrifty; Jews are cheap. Why? Although people don’t think of Jews as a minority, we are one. World wide, we are only 0.24% of the population! In the United States we are a whopping 1.7 percent. Putting us into numbers, when the world’s population was 6,430,856,221, the number of Jews was 15,143,912. Think about that, fifteen million as compared to 6 BILLION people. We’re no even a statistical bump.

    Yet some people think that a mere 15,143,912 people, including children and women, are trying to take over the world. The venom that has been aimed at my people is unbelievable, but there are people who still believe that we uses blood in our unleavened bread during Passover. Jews are prohibited from eating blood (Leviticus 17), the Soviet Secret Police wrote “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a completely falsehood, yet there are people who will believe anything about Jews if it is horrendous enough.

    I have had friends of mine tel me they “Jewed someone down.” Then they wonder why I take offense. Now I just say, “You mean you gentiled someone down?” The next time you find yourself about to say you Jewed someone down, THINK. How would you like it if someone told you that they had (put your religion or nationality)ed someone down. It is a pure and simple insult and in 2011 it is beyond time that people stopped using slurs like that.

  3. Quite obviously if, without thinking, Mr Taylor made a remark like that, he was on automatic, or said another way, it was deep in his manner of being. That’s the bad news about lots of our slips, it gives a clue to what we are like way down inside. His apology, issued so broadly, is an attempt to purchase people’s support of the self that I didn’t mean to, but ended up showing you.

    He’s no Senate material, but then this is Texas.

    Bob Breihan

  4. Immediately upon hearing this comment by Mr. Taylor I emailed a complaint to both B’nai B’rith and to The Anti-Defamation League through their websites. I also filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee overseeing the Texas State Legislature, not that it will do any good since four of the five are republicans and the one democrat is (conveniently). from one of the smallest counties (Brewster County) in terms of population in Texas. I also emailed Mr, Taylor. Of course, neither Taylor’s nor the Ethics Committee has bothered acknowledging receipt, much less replying to my complaint.

    I took offense, not just because I am a Democrat and Mr. Taylor is a Republican, or because of my religious affiliation, although I am not Jewish. His comment wasn’t just insensitive, it was anti semitic, something that we can never allow. t has little to do with partisanship and everything to do with what is simply the right thing to do.

    I urge every person who reads TFN to do the same. Take a few minutes and email both B’nai B’rith and the ADL, and bombard the Ethics Committee and Mr. Taylor’s office. We need to let our lawmakers know that even in Texas we hold our elected officials to a higher level than their crowder peas and cornbread mentality can understand.
    The Ethics Committee is comprised of the following members:
    Each may be reached through the following State website:

    Chuck Hopson R-Jacksonville
    Larry Phillips- R- Sherman
    Brandon Creighton R-Conroe
    Pege Gallego D-Alpine
    Todd Hunter- R- Corpus Christi

    Each of these members has a personal email listed in their personal website. I urge any of you who follow through with this NOT to send it to their personal website, which can be deleted. Our complaints must go through the official state website so that it becomes a matter of public record.

    Mr. Taylor can also be emailed through the aforementioned website.

    By emailing B’nai B’rith and the ADL we let both of these organizations know that Texans will not tolerate bigotry or ant semitism by anyone.

    I am sure that the Quaker Founders of the town of Friendswood are turning over in their graves over Mr. Taylor’s comment.