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DNC Chair: GOP Obsessed With Mr. Potato Head, Not Real Issues

Jaime Harrison

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison has some words for Republicans who obsess about cultural issues such as gender-neutral toys instead of focusing on solutions to the nation’s problems.

“If they want to play the D.C. political game, then they can play that,” Harrison said in a virtual address to the National Press Club Wednesday. “If they want to read Dr. Seuss and play with Mr. Potato Head dolls, they can do that too, while Joe Biden does the work of the American people, because that’s what [the people] want him to do, that’s what they send people to Congress to do.”

Harrison was responding to a query from Bloomberg reporter Emily Wilkins about bipartisanship and working across political divides. He said President Biden and his fellow Democrats are quite willing to work with Republicans who want to improve the lives of the American people, but it’s hard to work with those who are focused simply on cultural issues or obstruction, such as when Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell pledged to make Barack Obama a one-term president. (McConnell didn’t succeed.)

Conservatives recently had a meltdown over Hasbro’s plan to introduce a gender-neutral Potato Head toy, although the company later said it will keep the traditional Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Among them was U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is now under investigation by the Department of Justice for alleged sexual and other misconduct (he denies any wrongdoing).

“Look out, Mr. Potato Head, you’re next,” Gaetz said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. “I’m sorry, I think now he’s going by Potato X. He can’t be Mr. Potato.”

“See, to me the whole concept of the Mr. Potato Head was you could move the parts around. Mr. Potato Head was America’s first transgender doll and even he got canceled,” Gaetz continued.

Right-wingers also recently yelled that Dr. Seuss, the late, beloved author and illustrator of children’s books, was being “canceled” — but actually, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which publishes the books, merely announced that it had made the decision to discontinue six titles that have racist imagery. The rest of Dr. Seuss’s many titles will remain in print.

Archconservative U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas responded by raising campaign funds by selling copies of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham (which is not among the books being withdrawn) signed by himself. Cruz had read Green Eggs and Ham aloud in the Senate in 2013 as part of a speech against the Affordable Care Act.

During Harrison’s address to the press club, he also discussed the DNC’s investment in the midterm races in 2022. The committee will play a bigger role in the midterms than ever before, seeking to mobilize grassroots activists and protect voter access. Watch the full address below.

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