The Republican Co-Majority Leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives casually apologized yesterday for casually using an antisemitic slur during a debate on a bill to repeal an old law prohibiting retailers from selling their items at a loss.
The bill in question — SB 550 — overturns a 70-year-old ban on selling products at less than 6% above cost which was aimed at preventing big-box retailers from putting smaller competitors out of business with so-called "loss-leaders."
In defending the bill, Rep. Dennis Johnson (R-Duncan), who is a small business owner himself, asserted that service will always win over price.
"[Customers] might try to Jew me down on the price," Johnson added. "That's fine. You know what? That's free market as well."
After it was pointed out to him that the phrase "to Jew down" might be considered offensive by, say, Jewish people, Johnson half-heartedly apologized.
"I apologize to the Jews," he said, to laughter from his colleagues in the House. "They're good small business men as well."
It's worth noting that there isn't a single Jewish member in either house of the Oklahoma Legislature.
Reached for comment by the Tulsa World, Joe Griffin, spokesperson for Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton), said Johnson "is not the first person to make a comment they regret. The chamber accepted his apology and has moved on."
Indeed, Johnson joins a growing list of Republicans who have thrown around racially, ethnically, and sexually derogatory terms in recent weeks as if they're complete okay.
State Rep. Peter Hansen of New Hampshire was criticized by many this week for his substitution of the word "vaginas" for the word "women" in an official email.
He was preceded by County Commissioner Jim Gile of Kansas who insisted on hiring an architect to oversee local repairs rather than have someone "nigger-rigging it."
And Gile was naturally compared to Rep. Don Young of Alaska, who fondly recalled the "50 or 60 wetbacks" his father hired to pick tomatoes on his ranch.
[video via The Lost Ogle]