The Republican party nationwide has a well-documented image issue. So if they want tips on what NOT to do to attract voters, they should look here in Michigan.
This week, former Michigan Republican National Committee chair Saul Anuzis shared a jab at Detroit on his Facebook page. Usually Anuzis would be a non-factor, but since he said he is considering running to replace outgoing six-term Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, he's been one to watch.
The joke is a photo of Detroit Police Headquarters with the caption "Police in Detroit last night announced the discovery of an arms cache of 200 semi-automatic rifles with 25,000 rounds of ammunition, 20 tons of heroin, 5 million in forged U.S. banknotes, and 25 trafficked Latino prostitutes, all in a semi-detached house behind the library on Woodward Ave. Local residents were stunned, and a community spokesperson said: 'We're all shocked; we never knew we had a library."
"I'm sure this is news to many!!!" Anuzis, who is also apparently really fond of exclamation points, wrote about the photo. Of course the usual Detroit-bashing comments rolled in, but once some voices of reason popped up, Anuzis writes back, "It's a joke, we're having some fun!"
To Anuzis' credit, it's not known who made the photo — but it was shared more than 300 times from his own page after he posted it Monday.
After another Facebook commenter basically said "hey, y'know, maybe Detroit people will see this, be offended and not vote for you or any of your party" (total paraphrase), Anuzis responds with a bit of backpedaling: "As someone who grew up in the city of Detroit, who visited libraries and realized education is the great equalizer I think this made a point worth considering...as well as brought a little humor to the situation."
Human sex trafficking and illegal weapons trade. Freakin' hilarious, bro!
Earlier this month, Dave Agema, a former state representative and current Republican National Committeeman, posted a note on Facebook titled "Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals." The GOP stance on same-sex marriage and other benefits for gays aside, the post was simply riddled with wild inaccuracies like "Many homosexual sexual encounters occur while drunk, high on drugs, or in an orgy setting" and most gays having "between 20 and 106 partners per year." Republicans here called for his resignation, but Agema — who's been on a bizarre media tour comparing gays to alcoholics in the aftermath — has yet to stand down or shut up.
You'd think after Agema's public dragging that political types on both sides would err on the side of caution with social media. It's not a Dems vs. GOP issue anymore. It's a "don't post recklessly online" issue.
Interestingly enough, Anuzis linked to a Washington Post commentary on his party in his most recent blog, which the Post writer asks "How out of touch is today's GOP?" Considering that many of the party's members still haven't grasped the limits of what can and can't be posted online, very much so.
We hit up Anuzis by email for a response and we'll post one if we get one.
UPDATE: Anuzis is nearing 400 shares on Facebook and he also posted a response under the photo two hours ago. The unedited text: "The sad fact is that education is the greatest equalizer and if more kids were lead to libraries versus glorified sports, gangs and a welfare state mindset...EVERYONE would be better off. There are so many successes in under privileged urban areas where education made the difference...Dr. Ben Carson and Cornerstone Schools come to mind! p.s. not all education takes place in public schools."
Props to Anuzis for shouting out my middle school alma mater (CORNERSTONE 4 LIFE!) but I wonder if he's aware that the oh-so-wonderful libaries he's praising are an endangered species in the city of Detroit. This is the part where you issue a statement apologizing before things get out of hand.
(Photo via AP)