The Topeka Capitol-Journal is reporting that Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) told a town hall meeting that Republicans are searching for the “great white hope.” In the videotape, the newspaper reports that Jenkins says “Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope. I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington.”
Jenkins goes on to mention various “hopes” who happened to be white: Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). McCarthy is not even black Irish to improve the situation.
For the video, click here.
Her spokesperson insists that she did not mean this in a racial sense, which may indeed be the case. Of course, Jenkins’ spokeswoman Mary Geiger didn’t make things much better by explaining “There’s no doubt the Republican Party has gone through somedark and challenging times in recent years, but thankfully bright young leaders have stepped up to lead the party into the future and she hopes to be a part of it.”
The origins of the expression is often traced back to James Jackson Jeffries (“The Boilermaker”) who was brought out of retirement to defeat heavyweight champion Jack Johnson on July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nevada. “The Great White Hope” announced “I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro.” During the fight, the band played “All coons look alike to me.”
What should worry Republicans is not just the racial overtones but Jeffries got whipped. He threw in the towel in the 15th round.