Stay Classy, Al: Sharpton Calls GOP Rep. ‘Congressman Snooki’ for Tanning-Tax Joke

It seems as if Al Sharpton is struggling to find talking points after his continuous coverage of the Zimmerman case and rants claiming racism have begun to fall on deaf ears. On his Politics Nation program on Tuesday, the Rev. turned to mocking Republican congressmen while berating the GOP in general. [Link to the audio here]

In defense of the Affordable Care Act, Sharpton claimed that every GOP argument against the “law is nonsense.” He then played a clip of Representative Ted Yoho (R- Fla.) making a joke during an interview about the tanning bed tax provision in ObamaCare. Yoho said that he had asked an Indian doctor if he had ever used a tanning booth, to which the man replied that he had no need presumably because of the color of his skin already.

The congressman then jested that he should claim that he was being taxed because of the color of his skin on the basis that only light-skinned people use tanning beds. Although, the clip MSNBC showed conveniently did not include it, Yoho went on to admit that that was a crazy notion but that the same strategy seems to work for Democrats. Clearly, in context, the comment was made in jest.

However, Sharpton, who was “not laughing,” chose to take the joke seriously and even insult the congressman in the process by calling him “Congressman Snooki" after the former star for the MTV reality show Jersey Shore who is famous for her partying lifestyle and Oompah Loompa-like orange complexion from overdosing on tanning bed sessions.

However, Sharpton did not want to let the GOP off with just a mere insult of character. So, he decided to have another Florida representative, Democrat Alan Grayson, on to talk about just how evil Republican’s opposition of ObamaCare is.

Grayson – the same guy who said Republicans want uninsured sick people to die quickly -- took issue with the fact that Florida had not yet voted to pass the Medicaid expansion provision of the law. He claimed that because of this, one million Floridians would be left without healthcare and 1,000 of them would die per year, citing a Harvard study.

Grayson went on to say that the GOP would have “a lot of blood on their hands in Tallahassee” and asked God to “help them on Judgment Day.”

It is completely inappropriate to claim that Republicans are killing people and will have “blood on their hands” by not enacting a socialist policy. Additionally, his numbers appear to be slightly off.

First of all, the Harvard study he references never specifically references Florida, only control states versus states that would implement the expansion. Secondly, it estimates that the mortality rate would only be 22 people per 100,000 higher in states that do not pass the expansion, which equates to 220 out of the million that Grayson cites would be without Medicaid. So, it would seem he might be tailoring these results to fit his preconceived bias on the issue. 

For reference the transcript is provided below:

MSNBC

Politics Nation with Al Sharpton

August 6, 2013

6:03 p.m. Eastern

AL SHARPTON: The party's whole argument against this law is nonsense. But this comment from Congressman Yoho (R-Fla.) is a joke. 

REP. TED YOHO: I had an Indian doctor in our office the other day, very dark skin with two non-dark skin people. And I said look at him. And they started laughing. And I said have you ever been to tanning booth? And he said no,no need. So therefore it’s a racist tax and I thought I might need to get to a sun tanning booth so I can come out and say I have been disenfranchised because I got taxed because of the color of my skin. 

SHARPTON: A tanning tax is racist. What is this, the jersey shore? Hey congressman Snooki, I'm not laughing.

Later in the show Grayson added:

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D-Fla.): What happens is in places like Florida, where the republican majority in Tallahassee has dragged its feet, you have these problems getting worse, not getting better. We have a million people in Florida who are not going to get coverage under Obamacare simply because the republican majority in Tallahassee wouldn't go along with it, even though it cost the state nothing for the next three years. According to a Harvard study, roughly one thousand people every year will die because they don't get this health coverage in Florida that the government would be extending to them. And we don't have to pay anything extra for there is going to be a lot of blood on their hands in Tallahassee. And God help them on judgment day.