Republican Texas Attorney General Candidate Defends White Supremacist Group

We suspect Barry Smitherman might find that headline a bit unfair. But maybe the chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission should spend a little time researching the organizations he almost reflexively chooses to defend.

The Texas Observer is reporting that Smitherman, who is seeking the Republican nomination next year to replace Greg Abbott as Texas attorney general, is upset that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has identified various “patriot, mormon and judeo-christian religious groups” as hate groups.

Apparently, last year Smitherman sent a letter to his daughter’s school, complaining about materials from the SPLC used in a classroom lesson about the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The SPLC “has a more radical view of racism, hate, and intolerance,” Smitherman wrote.

“I identify myself as a Christian and find it intolerant for the SPLC to label me as intolerant. Same with many of the patriot groups that have organized in Texas over the last several years. I personally know members of these groups and they are focused not on racism, but on balancing the federal budget and reducing or eliminating our $16 trillion national debt.”

In his patriotic fervor, Smitherman goes on to name a number of groups, including an organization called “Crusaders for Yahweh,” that he thinks the SPLC unfairly places on its list of hate groups.

Well, perhaps Smitherman should have done a little checking into what those groups, especially “Crusaders for Yahweh,” actually do and say. The folks at the Texas Observer (God bless them) actually did:

Turns out Crusaders for Yahweh is a white supremacist organization founded by neo-Nazi Paul Mullet, who’s been in and out of prison and believes Obama is the anti-Christ. The group registered to lobby in Washington, D.C., last year, explaining on its application that it would lobby on “any activities that adversly afect [sic] the White Race.”

The group claims that its “cause is… the advancement and survival of our Racial People’s the true children of Israel [sic].”

Oh dear.

Maybe we should give Smitherman the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn’t know about Crusaders for Yahweh’s repugnant, hateful record (or the real agenda of other groups on SPLC’s list that he was defending). But he says he “personally knows” members of those groups, so…

In any case, the mindless, knee-jerk defense of groups that misleadingly slap a “patriot” or religious label on themselves is typical of too many Texas politicians and activists (especially the tea party variety).

The Texas Observer has more on this story here. Read it — especially since Smitherman wants to be the state’s chief law enforcement officer.

8 thoughts on “Republican Texas Attorney General Candidate Defends White Supremacist Group

  1. It wouldn’t hurt for Crusaders to do a little research either. The Yahweh they crusade for, surely a “true child of Israel”, was not white.

  2. The problem with Texas is that only a small minority of tea baggers bother to vote. If Texas is to clear the stain of racist bigots from running for state and federal offices, then we have got to get all the people eligible to vote out there to vote. We have 26 million people in this state, and these tea bagger extremists got into office with barely 1/3 of Texas voters. We have got to get people to run for office to serve the people of Texas, not themselves like the tea baggers do.

  3. The problem with Texas is that we have separate elections for each and every little thing, and the elections are not coordinated.

    Between the November and March elections, we may have separate elections for bond issuances, local school board, replacement of an official who retired, died or just got sick of dealing with reactionaries who park themselves outside officials’ offices, etc. One year, we had eight separate elections within a single year. This causes election burnout — the result being that perhaps four percent of the eligible population turns out for the election, which makes it possible for the True Believers (primarily conservative Christians, Dominionists and Tea Party members) to turn out in droves and elect the most conservative and the most extreme politicians to office.

    The Republican Party likes it this way, because they know that too many elections and the resulting voter burnout keeps them in power, so they’re not about to do something sensible and mandate only two elections per year, which would require changing the Texas Constitution (remember: changing the date of fresh water delivery in water trucks requires a change in the Texas Constitution).

    I am hoping that the government shutdown is going to anger enough people that they will vote out the Teahadists and get us a workable government; but I also know that if Judas Iscariot were running for office as a Republican against Jesus Christ as a Democrat, Judas Iscariot would win with 65 percent of the vote!

  4. Please, please, please get a copy of “Wrapped in the Flag.” It shows the family tree of the tea party. It starts with the ever loveable KKK, it morphed into the John Birch Society one of whose hot shots was the Koch brothers father. And NOW…the TEA PARTY.

    They have changed their name, but not their hate. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry while reading the book.

    Our wonderful friends, the Koch brothers are missing only one thing, their KKK outfits. This book has got to be one of the most valuable books I’ve read recently.