Democrat Leader Ken Gordon Let Off Hook for Anti-Vietnam Vet Slur

When it comes to making over-the-top comments in the Colorado state legislature, Face The State reports that Doug Bruce is in good company these days:

On the Senate floor Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver, outraged fellow lawmakers by using a debate over a joint resolution in support of Armenian Genocide Day of Remembrance to launch a political attack.

Gordon specifically suggested that American soldiers calling Vietnamese citizens “gooks” during the Vietnam War was akin to the dehumanizing tactics (MP3) used by those guilty of the genocide of American Indians or jews [sic] in World War II.

But there are four key differences between the Doug Bruce and Ken Gordon incidents from what I see:
1. While both comments were derogatory, Ken Gordon’s were more inaccurate and morally egregious.
2. Though his Party didn’t have the gavel to shut down the debate, Republican Shawn Mitchell responded with a vigorous, well-thought defense [“[The Vietnam War] was not a genocidal act against the Vietnamese people.” (MP3)], rather than merely acting offended with a curt “How dare you!” According to blogger John Ingold, Republicans Mike Kopp and Steve Ward also came to the podium to criticize Gordon.
3. To his credit, Ken Gordon recanted and apologized rather than trying to rationalize.
4. Ken Gordon not only has been popularly elected and re-elected to office, but elected and re-elected by other Democrat lawmakers to represent the party as majority leader, and was the Democrat nominee for a statewide office in 2006.

Perhaps I should add a fifth difference. Despite his higher profile, Ken Gordon’s comments didn’t seem to merit as much as a mention in either of the major Denver dailies (perhaps it’s in the print edition, because I can’t find it online), or even in the Rocky Mountain News state legislature blog.

Maybe Gordon’s apology took the edge off the story, but still not even a small mention in the news or on the blog? The tacit message would seem to be that insulting U.S. military veterans is more acceptable than insulting immigrant laborers. Or maybe the message is that it’s okay to insult groups, as long as you have the “Democrat” label behind your name.

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