Michigan GOP party chair calls elected Democratic women “witches who should be burned at the stake”

“The University of Michigan Board of Regents has censured regent Ron Weiser, who chairs the Michigan Republican Party, over comments referring to three of the state’s female Democratic leaders as ‘witches,'” The Hill reported on Friday, April 2, 2021. Weiser is a regent, but now faces demands for his resignation.

“According to text of the censure posted on the regents’ website, the board approved the motion in a special meeting Friday in response to Weiser’s comments about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D),” The Hill reported. Read story here.

Weiser’s precise comment, according to the Detroit Free Press (story here), was:

“Our job is now to soften up those three witches and make sure that we have good candidates to run against them, that they are ready for the burning at the stake,” Weiser said to laughter from the crowd.

Weiser (photo, above left) has a constitutional right to say whatever he wants about political opponents. He can give a Hitler salute, too, if he wants to. But there is no constitutional right to be a university regent.

Of course, the targets of his abuse are entitled to free speech, too, and would be acting within their rights to call him what he is, a jackass.

They probably won’t. There’s already more than enough incivility in political life. And it’s no coincidence that most of it is coming from the GOP side. But there’s no reason for Democrats to add to it; the public is better served if they set the example of how to act, when their Republican counterparts are modeling how not to act. But Weiser is a jackass, of the braying sort.

Weiser, an incendiary figure in Michigan politics, is a rich businessman who has donated over $100 million to the university, but he didn’t buy his way onto the board of regents. In Michigan, the regents are elected officials (details here), and it takes a recall election to remove them. A recall movement was already underway as a result of Weiser’s response to the Capitol insurrection (read that story here).

Weiser is what he is, and isn’t going to change, In the past, people like him were sidelined and ignored, not elevated to top party posts or elected to public offices. When that happens, the party that allows it is no longer acting like a group of responsible adults, and can’t be taken seriously. In a real sense, Weiser is merely a symptom of the sad state of today’s Republican party.

But the Michigan GOP’s complicity in his outrageous behavior (they did, after all, applaud his remarks) doesn’t make him less of a jackass, either.

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