Democrats & Liberals Archives

Republican Mythmaking: The Oreo Incident

It was raining Oreos. They were thick in the air like locusts. I was there. It was very real. It wasn’t subtle.

This is Robert Erlich’s campagn manager, Paul Shurick, describing an oft-discussed incident during a 2002 Maryland gubernatorial debate. Supposedly, this story shows that Democrats are racists. What this really shows is that Republicans are good at spreading misinformation.

Something brown is being thrown around, but in truth it ain't cookies.

Accounts vary, but it is quite clear that there was no organized launching of two-tone cookies in the direction of Michael Steele. Contemperaneous news reports don't mention any rainstorm of cookies, which certainly would have gotten the attention of the reporters present. Steele himself only claimed that a single cookie rolled to his feet during the debate. (He later told Alan Colmes there were "two or three".) The manager of the cleanup crew at Morgan State University, where the debate was held, told the Baltimore Sun that they didn't find any cookies.

If that cookie (or cookies) was directed at him by a genuine opponent trying to make a statement on his race (as opposed to a agent provocateur trying to undermine his opponents) then that person should certainly be ashamed of him or herself. But you can't extrapolate from a random non-politician to an entire political party that he may or may not have been a member of.

There is also some dispute over whether cookies were distributed in the audience. The ever-reliable Paul Shurick says that they were. It is hard to argue that the cookies were present, but who brought them is less clear.

Even though this alleged incident happened four years ago, Republicans can rest assured that it is still alive in the memory of the MSM. In a recent article on the brouhaha over the word "slavishly"*, the Washington Post notes that "There were also reports, now disputed, of Oreos being thrown at a debate that year, implying that Steele had abandoned his race." This seems like a fair assessment. The New York Times (!) Magazine also repeated the claim of thrown cookies in March, without noting that it was a matter of dispute.

There are a couple of lessons to be drawn from this. First of all, Republicans should be careful when they claim that the MSM is biased for ignoring or downplaying an alleged Democratic atrocity. If you think the MSM is lying to you, maybe it is your other sources that are deceiving or exagarrating. The same holds for people on the other side of the aisle, of course. Secondly, there were no doubt some genuine opponents who taunted Michael Steele over his race, so no one should claim that liberals are immune from that kind of behavior. But if you judge a group by its most extreme members, any political bloc you care to identify is basically insane. Finally, and this is a point I have tried to make before, no political party should be judged by the actions of random, unorganized yahoos.

I would list my sources, but if you Google "Michael Steele Oreos" you will find the same ones. Now I'm getting hungry. If only I had some cookies...

*And they say liberals are the ones who are obsessed with PC!

Posted by Woody Mena at October 27, 2006 7:23 AM
Comment #190734

Woody: Perhaps the cleanup crew could not find any cookies lying around the area because republicans like oreos.

Posted by: jlw at October 27, 2006 10:34 AM
Comment #190751

Nah, I’m sure they’ve heard of the five-second rule…

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 27, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #190796

Lol, great post!! Thanks Woody. When you’re really hungry can’t you get a waiver on the five second rule?

Posted by: gergle at October 27, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #190825

This is one for (I just sent it over there.)

And yes, if you’re really hungry, in some cases you can get a waiver on the five-second rule. But that doesn’t apply to ice cream.

Posted by: anomalous4 at October 27, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #190843

I don’t think there is any factual basis for the rumor.

Posted by: Tim at October 27, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #190847

Methinks Mr. Steele dost protest too much, perhaps he just wants his name in the paper.

Posted by: Tim at October 27, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #190855


This from the link you provide:

The first mention of cookies surfaced five days later, when the [Baltimore] Sun reported Schurick’s charge that Oreos were passed out — not thrown — by Democrats at the debate

It’s worse than we thought. The Democrats were eating cookies. I’m surprised the Republicans aren’t even more enraged.

That just takes the cake. I mean cookie.

Posted by: Steve K at October 27, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #190861

The Oreo cookie eaters of the world have a well known liberal bias, just like reality.

Posted by: Tim at October 27, 2006 4:13 PM
Comment #190865

So, there was no doubt that SOME genuine opponents taunted Michael Steele over his race and since it was only SOME, people should not judge the entire liberal party as being closet racists. Seems fair to me, I totally agree with you Woody.

Whats weird though, is that SOME Republicans claimed it was a racist action, but you seem to feel its ok to judge ALL Republicans as being spreaders of misinformation and creating myths, liars right?

Posted by: kctim at October 27, 2006 4:20 PM
Comment #190892

kctim: I wouldn’t say all Republicans are liars. I would say that all Republicans deny reality, are delusional, are self-loathing, and have never seen a myth or old wive’s tale they didn’t prefer over facts. As for Mr. Steele, he’s no oreo cookie; however, he is unquestionably a quisling.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 27, 2006 5:46 PM
Comment #190896

Could be Doc.
I mean, we all know liberals hate America, think its ok for govt to force liberal beliefs onto the people, wish to rewrite the Constitution to suit their agenda and hate those of us who work hard, love our family and are happy.

Doesn’t exactly go along with what Woody said about not judging an entire party based on the actions of a few, but opinions do go both ways you know.
Well, until you guys make disagreeing with the liberal rhetoric a crime.

Posted by: kctim at October 27, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #190899

kctim: Thank you for proving my point. And yes, I hate America so much that I spent over 30 years in uniform defending your right to deny reality and wallow in your delusions.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 27, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #190921

Speaking of mythmaker, Michael Steele now has an ad in which his sister with MS says that he “supports stem cell research”.

This is odd, because this is the same guy who likened stem cell research to slavery and Nazi Holocaust. So other than resembling to of the worst crimes in the history of humanity, it is OK?

Apparently his position is that he is “an enthusiastic supporter of cord blood, adult stem cell, and embryonic stem cell research that does not destroy the embryo”. I think that means that he does not support “stem cell research” as it is commonly understood.

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 27, 2006 7:40 PM
Comment #190922

Judging by the many accounts of this, including eyewitness accounts, it looks pretty clear that reports of a hail of flying Oreos are an exaggeration.

It’s also clear, though, that Oreos were there and being distributed by his political opponents.

Whether or not they were thrown instead of rolled on the stage is a sidebar to the vicious and racist commentary their very presence was meant to convey.

Nice job of trying to turn a story of racial hatred back onto the victim though.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 27, 2006 7:41 PM
Comment #190927

what assurances at all do we have that diebold - underhanded tactics - and vote rigging arent going to once again give the vote to the republicans . this is not paranoia - this is reality.

Posted by: paul at October 27, 2006 8:11 PM
Comment #190929
Whether or not they were thrown instead of rolled on the stage is a sidebar to the vicious and racist commentary their very presence was meant to convey.

I’m inclined to believe Michael Steele, but I think if you look at those sources no one outside of the Erlich/Steele campaign even claims they were sent in his general direction.

As for “presence”, if I bring racist literature to a rally for a GOP candidate, what does the “presence” of the literature at the rally indicate, exactly?

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 27, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #190930

Ok Doc. You proved my point and I proved your point, which seem to be the same point.
Good thing I too spent time in uniform defending your right to hate your country and your right to try and have govt force others to think as you.

There, now that brings us to the exact same place that America is in today, divided and bickering amongst each other. And, just as with our country, NOTHING has been accomplished.

I stand by what Woody said about not judging groups by their extreme members and it goes both ways.

Posted by: kctim at October 27, 2006 8:32 PM
Comment #190932

“what assurances at all do we have that diebold - underhanded tactics - and vote rigging arent going to once again give the vote to the republicans . this is not paranoia - this is reality”

IF its reality, then America is not headed down the leftist road.
IF it is reality, then you guys are wasting your time and money on frivilous things rather than using it to help those you “say” you care about.
IF it is reality, then the left can never win another election.
IF it is such a reality, then are you even going to bother to vote?

Posted by: kctim at October 27, 2006 8:38 PM
Comment #190986


“what assurances at all do we have that diebold - underhanded tactics - and vote rigging arent going to once again give the vote to the republicans . this is not paranoia - this is reality.”

No, it’s paranoia

Posted by: Keith at October 27, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #191256

Oreo? Did you say Oreo? Yes it is two round dark chocolate cookies with a creamy (white) filling. They are delicious!

Can’t we all just get along?

Here’s the greater issue however:

Are Black and White Cookies Dangerous?
Oreos contain trans fats, a dangerous type of artificial fat.

That’s not paranoia. That is reality!

Posted by: bigkenzombie at October 28, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #191296

Woody Mena,

There is a difference between using adult stem cells or cord stem cells. They don’t destroy a human embryo. You along with everyone else in the world today was once an embryo too, so perhaps there’s a bit more of a difference than you think.


Great point! Look at how the Democrats are going off about that ad about Harold Ford. I do agree that it was a mean-spirited personal attack, but this goes deeper. The Democrats are the party for blacks but prefer them to be docile subjects, preferably on welfare so they can dangle that above them. How dare a black person in America be successful and not bow down to thier Democratic masters! The same type of sell out Uncle Tom characterizations dogged Alan Keyes, Bill Cosby, Condolezza Rice, and too a lesser extent, Colim Powell. The Democrats’ attitude towards black people is a paternalistic one that they reinforce by stirring up fear of evil whitey Republicans out to bring back Jim Crow.

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Comment #375104

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