STERLING HEIGHTS (Talk Radio 1270) When does a protest go too far?
Colleagues of Sterling Heights Councilman Paul Smith are urging him to resign over a 2009 Tea Party rally where Smith was spotted holding signs that depicted former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm with a noose around her neck with blood dripping down and President Barack Obama impaled with a spear through his bloody skull.
One sign contained a derogatory three-letter word for homosexuals.
Smith visited the Charlie Langton 1270 Talk Radio show Friday to discuss the outcry, describing it as “partisan politics.” Sterling Heights council passed a resolution 6-1 this week calling for him to resign, but Smith refuses.
He thinks the video’s release is payback for his support of Troy Mayor Janice Daniels, the Tea Party mayor who drew fire for a Facebook post where she said she wouldn’t visit New York since “queers” were allowed to marry.
“There was a lot of shock and reaction to how poorly the Republican Party had run the 2009 election, they didn’t downsize the campaign in Michigan, they completely threw in the towel,” Smith said, explaining the rally. “The Republican Party in Michigan ceased to exist and the Tea Party began … There were hundreds of rallies nationwide … Hundreds of thousands of signs.”
The video from the 2009 protest was spotted on You Tube and became an issue when it was sent to Smith’s colleagues and to the local media.
“The (TV) tape said I was captured on video, I wasn’t captured, we wanted the publicity, the whole idea of this thing was to tell President Obama … the people don’t want Obamacare passed,” Smith said.
So, did the posters go too far? Langton asked.
Smith would say only this: “I looked at You Tube and this particular video … I was a small part of a huge video, in three years they had 518 hits, you look at the more inflammatory ones, the really big You Tube videos, had on the order of 150,000, 175,000 (views.) … There were things 10 times worse than anything I put up. The mood of the day was to try to get people’s attention.”
Is the councilman embarrassed today?
“There’s four and only four targets of that (rally),” Smith said. “Barack Obama, Carl Levin, Nancy Pelosi and Jennifer Granholm … I think anybody that wants to can say anything they want about me.”
He added the signs couldn’t be considered a physical threat against any of the people depicted on them.
Caller Chris said, “I was at the Tea Party rally in 2009. This is a free speech issue, he is perfectly entitled to put things out there. But I would call it ‘free dumb speech.’ You have to right to free speech, you also have the right to be accountable for it.”