If WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian's Sept. 9 article defending Oregon Republican congressional candidate Art Robinson looks a little familiar, that's because it is -- Kupelian wrote pretty much the same column two years ago.
And we mean that literally. Of the 35 paragraphs in Kupelian's column, 23 are substantially or exactly the same as a Robinson-defending column he wrote in October 2010, when Robinson was also running in a House race against the same opponent, incumbent Democrat Peter DeFazio.
Which means that Kupelian repeats the same tired, dubious defenses of Robinson, who has also created a homschooling curriculum known as "The Robinson Curriculum." Kupelian writes sycophantically of this: "Talk about the American can-do spirit!" He continues:
One part of “The Robinson Curriculum” is a recommendation that students read as many as possible of the 99 short, classic historical novels for children penned by celebrated British author G.A. Henty (kind of like the “Hardy Boys” books). Now it happens that in one of these 99 Victorian-era books – all of which Robinson personally reprinted on his own printing press and offered to the public as an adjunct to his homeschooling curriculum – one fictional character makes a two-sentence remark while in Africa that could be considered racially insensitive by today’s standards. Because of this, candidate Art Robinson is being labeled a racist.
Yes, I know, it’s insane.
As we pointed out when Kupelian and other WND writers came to Robinson's defense in 2010, that's not exactly true.
The book in question is Henty's "By Sheer Pluck," and here's the offending passage, in which Mr. Goodenough, the mentor of the young lad who's the main character, pontificates upon their arrival in Africa, goes on a bit longer than the "two sentences" Kupelian claims, and is a bit more than "racially insensitive":
“They are just like children,” Mr. Goodenough said. “They are always either laughing or quarrelling. They are good-natured and passionate, indolent, but will work hard for a time; clever up to a certain point, densely stupid beyond. The intelligence of an average negro is about equal to that of a European child of ten years old. A few, a very few, go beyond this, but these are exceptions, just as Shakespeare was an exception to the ordinary intellect of an Englishman. They are fluent talkers, but their ideas are borrowed. They are absolutely without originality, absolutely without inventive power. Living among white men, their imitative faculties enable them to acquire a considerable amount of civilization. Left alone to their own devices they retrograde into a state little above their native savagery.”
A PBS bio of Henty noted that his books "are notable for their hearty imperialism, undisguised racism, and jingoistic patriotism," indicating that they they went out of print for a reason: such attitudes fell out of fashion decades ago. And far from being "classic historical novels," a scholarly paper on Henty's work noted that they contain a "formulaic structure" and imparted "a discourse embodying the British imperial ideology."
The real question here is what Robinson does with Henty's books in his homeschool curriculum, particularly given that, in Kupelian's words, he encourages students to "read as many as possible." What guidance is given to homeschooling instructors in addressing the offending passage in "By Sheer Pluck" and other similar offending passages that presumably exist in other Henty books? Kupelian is silent on this, as he was in 2010 -- which suggests that it isn't addressed at all.
Kupelian also recycles his promotion of Robinson's supposed scientific credentials by touting how he has rejected science:
Robinson has single-handedly documented the utter lack of unanimity in the scientific community on manmade global warming through a petition he started – not an online petition, mind you, but an actual document physically signed – that to date has been signed by more than 31,000 scientists, including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s. All 31,000 agree “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”
In fact, only a handful of signers -- less than 1 percent, according to one calculation -- have a scientific background in climatology, and there's no apparent verification mechanism to ensure that the signatories do in fact have the scientific qualifications they claim. Further, there have been more than 10.6 million science graduates as defined by Robinson's group since the 1970-71 school year, making the 31,000 on the petition a tiny fraction of that -- 0.3 percent, to be exact -- small enough that one could call it "fringe."
Kupelian concludes his column (both of 'em) by begging for donations to Robinson's campaign. But Robinson really doesn't need the money -- he's outraising DeFazio, with a whopping 79% of his contributions coming from out-of-state.
Plus, Robinson has a super PAC sugar daddy he can rely on. In the 2010 election, Robinson was the beneficiary of $627,500 in advertising paid for by a New York hedge fund manager, and he's expected to help out Robinson again this year. Yet, despite outspending his opponent in an 2010 election cycle that favored Republicans, DeFazio beat Robinson by nine points.
Kupelian mentions none of this, of course; instead, he asserts that "Art Robinson stands an excellent chance of winning" without explaining why the outcome could possibly be any different than 2010. You know, like his column.