No shoes were thrown, but Ali Hasan did put his foot in his mouth last week at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., baffling the arch-conservative crowd with some decidedly moderate views.
“The problem with Republicans and the conservative movement right now,” he said, according to Sarah Posner in the American Prospect, “is we’ve identified the wrong enemy. Our enemies are not Muslims, are not gays, Mexicans, or immigrants — our enemies are labor unions and bailouts.”
The Beaver Creek Republican and founder of Muslims for America ran a colorful, and expensive but ultimately unsuccessful statehouse campaign against Democrat Christine Scanlan last year, touting celibacy, monorails and pheromone packs on pine trees.
In the American Prospect, Posner interviewed Akir Kahn, who works for Hasan’s Muslims for America and decried the portrayal of American Muslims as terrorists by conservative Christian groups.
But in the next breath Kahn charged Democrats with fomenting the same stereotypes, even feeding the Obama-as-a-Muslim rumor mill and putting out pre-election robo-calls questioning why Hasan dropped his first name, Muhammad, during the campaign.
As a resident of House District 56, I followed the race fairly closely and never received such a robo-call, nor did I hear of any such calls. I did call Hasan after Colin Powell’s moving October endorsement of Obama, in which Powell called out his own Republican Party for the Muslim smear.
Hasan said he was deeply touched by Powell’s words, but then Hasan was sharply critical of Obama for distancing himself from the American Muslim community. Hasan told CPAC last week he wants to root out racism and xenophobia among conservatives.
Good luck with that, Ali.