by Max Brantley
Those pesky Internet tubes.
[image-1]Take Audra Sigler Shay, a Fort Smith native and former UA student who now lives in New Orleans and who is running this month to be elected national chairman of the Young Republicans.
She has a busy Facebook page. As this screenshot shows, (click on image to expand it) she opened a comment thread recently by saying, "OK I think Wal-Mart just signed a death warrant in my eyes." This is a reference to Wal-Mart's joining with a union and a liberal think tank in endorsing mandatory employee health insurance. Sounds like a YR. As do many of her Facebook friends. For example, Eric Piker responded [all sic]:
.... obama is the new terrorist ... muslim is on there side ... need to take this country back from all these mad coons ... and illegals
Responded Audra Shay
You tell em Eric! lol
It's possible that Shay, who was born in 1971, didn't know that Piker wasn't talking about Gillett dinner fare (explanation for out-of-state readers: it's a fabled raccoon supper in a small Arkansas town) in his use of the word coon.
The good news is that several others on Shay's page called down the use of the language, as did a Republican who sent the screenshot of the page to me. A Republican blog has picked up the thread. It said criticism of Obama is one thing, but "using racist words and seemngly to applaud such words is just plain wrong."
Arkansas YR leadership has endorsed Shay. To be generous, she seems, at a minimum, clueless.
UPDATE: A spokesman for Shay has provided her statement on the matter. It's on the jump. She says it's a "desperate" effort by opponents to derail her certain victory.
STATEMENT FROM AUDRA SHAY
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Yesterday on Facebook, an unfortunate incident occurred. An individual posted two comments on my Facebook wall, the first comment arguing against big government and the second filled with racially charged comments. I responded supporting the individual's first post, to continue the fight against big government spending. I was not aware of the racial comments until sometime later, when a third individual brought it to my attention. I immediately deleted the derogatory and outright disgusting comments and subsequently posted a statement on my Facebook Status stating that in no way, shape or form are the comments posted by other individuals a reflection of me or my beliefs as an American, a Veteran, a Mother or a Candidate. I do not, nor would I ever, condone that type of language or behavior.
Unfortunately, my opponents have now spun a web of misconception and untruths, desperately trying to paint me as a racist. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, I have made it part of my Young Republican life to ensure that we did not just focus on outreach, but inclusion. Under my leadership as Chairman of the State of Louisiana's Young Republicans, we were able to raise $90,000 for a minority outreach media campaign. Also under my leadership as Louisiana Chairman we brought the largest minority delegation to the YRNF Convention in 2007.
It is a disgrace that these types of political attacks are taking place and once again, it proves that my opponents will stoop to the lowest levels to steal this election from the jaws of victory. Our Team is one of honor and integrity. We take this service to heart and will not allow others to tarnish our reputations. If you have any questions or concerns about this matter or any other matters, please email, call or Facebook message me. I'm always available.