Silence of the Lambs: GOP Establishment Remained Neutral on 'Duck Dynasty' Controversy
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Sen.Ted Cruz (R-TX) emphatically defended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson from the moment he was suspended by A&E for supposedly anti-gay remarks. The suspension provoked a relentless outpouring of support online, which pressured A&E to reinstate Robertson on Friday.
Palin, Jindal, and Cruz's support was in contrast to the silence of the Republican establishment, its leadership, and the Republican National Committee. The latter focused instead on Kwanzaa and promoting amnesty, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of working class Americans, many of whom make up the bulk of the Duck Dynasty audience.
Palin took to Twitter on December 18–the night Robertson was suspended–saying A&E had caved to the "'intolerants' hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion." Palin said "free speech is an endangered species," and those "intolerants" are "taking on all of us."
The next morning, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said, "I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment."
"It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended," Jindal wrote.
Later in the day, Sen.Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Robertson's suspension was an affront to those who value freedom of speech and religion.
"The reason that so many Americans love Duck Dynasty is because it represents the America usually ignored or mocked by liberal elites: a family that loves and cares for each other, believes in God, and speaks openly about their faith," Cruz wrote.
Palin, Cruz, and Jindal were repeatedly mentioned in stories in the mainstream media about Robertson. In contrast, the Republican establishment organizations and D.C. figureheads were ducking for cover and nowhere to be found, reinforcing the suspicions of the "Teavengelical" base that has always suspected that the Republican elite on the coasts and in D.C. disdains them and their "flyover country" values.