Open thread for night owls: Kris Kobach defends now-open ties to white nationalist hate groups

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach head shot

Yet another fixture of the Republican anti-immigration movement has been caught in yet another active relationship with a designated hate group.

Kansas Secretary of State and the right-wing’s most prominent anti-immigration activist Kris Kobach was recently outed for speaking at the annual Writers’ Workshop of the The Social Contract Press (TSCP), a group classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a white nationalist publishing house.
According to SPLC, The Social Contract Press‘ publisher John Tanton is also the founder of the modern nativist movement. Kobach was spotted by the Center for New Community at the October 25 gathering in Washington, D.C. U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, a Republican freshman from Texas who recently proposed legislation to suspend refugee resettlement programs as the Syrian crisis finally made U.S. headlines, was also a featured speaker.

Kobach has been a key author of anti-immigrant laws adopted or attempted by

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conservative states, including Arizona’s infamous SB1070, the “papers, please” law authorizing law enforcement to demand so-called “suspicious” persons prevent proof of citizenship or immigration status upon request. What his role at a writer’s workshop for a white nationalist hate group might be can only be supposed at, but presumably Kobach felt he had some particular words of wisdom to impart to the group.
Kobach has responded to press questions about his attendance by defending the group and declaring the Southern Poverty Law Center to be “hateful”.

“According to the SPLC, if you’re against illegal immigration, you’re a racist,” said Kobach.
The SPLC says “hateful, false things,” he said. “They’re unethical smear artists.”

So there seems no further question of whether Kobach is willing to embrace these ties to the white nationalist group, a group which the spiteful SPLC points out advocates barring entry of all Muslim immigrants, associates with Holocaust deniers, keeps multiple white supremacist writers on staff, and promotes the conspiracy theory that Latino immigrants are flooding the country to “reclaim” parts of the United States for Mexico.
As for Kobach, his defense of the group (as of the other SPLC-listed hate group that Kobach advocates on behalf of, the Federation for American Immigration Reform) remains unwavering, even years after he was first confronted with the overt racism of both.

[I]n 2012, he dissimulated about his relationship to FAIR and Tanton. In a piece published by Salon, Kobach was quoted claiming that he is “not familiar with [Tanton’s] writings or his views.” He also said: “I have not done any legal work for any organization that expresses or supports racial discrimination, nor will I ever do so in the future.” Just the year before, the New York Times ran a front-page storylaying out Tanton’s racism at length.
So what is Kobach’s excuse now?

He doesn’t have one. When reporters for years have been pointing out that the group you work with publishes overt calls for white nationalism written by white supremacists and your only response is to declare the Southern Policy Law Center “hateful” for pointing it out, you’ve given away your game. He’s been “familiar” with the groups’ views for years.
And so yet another architect of the modern conservative movement embraces the white nationalist movement with open arms. You will note that this is not costing Kris Kobach as dearly as it would have cost a national Republican figure caught playing footsie with white supremacist groups only a decade or so ago. You will note, in fact, the conspicuous absence of any top Republican voices, ether in the party or in the press, condemning Kobach for his links to that movement.



Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008Voting begins. And so do the problems:

Reports are streaming in from all over the country about long lines for early morning voting (no surprise there). About 1,000 students reportedly were lined up at Penn State before 7 A.M.
We’re also getting our first reports about machines malfunctioning or other polling place problems.  Over at the OurVoteLive blog, we see reports of some problems in Virginia, confirmed by CNN, regarding machines that broken down before voters could even cast a vote. At one polling place, per CNN, almost all of the machines failed. State law permits those voters to vote on paper ballots for the time being.

Here in Chicago, Barack Obama just cast his vote, with his daughters at his side.
 



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