Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why Blacks Don't Like The GOP: Exhibit A.

After the GOP got it's a$$ handed to it in the recent elections, party leaders started talking about how Republicans needed to "attract more minorities" to remain relevant in a "post-racial" America. Immediately, talk turned to folks like one-time Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, and former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell as challengers to the crown of RNC Chair. As if putting two milquetoast, talking-point spouting Negroes like that would somehow erase the recent memories of the subliminally racist campaign run against Obama.[1]

Here's today's AverageSoundtrack™, get it poppin' before you proceed.

Still, I guess in some ways giving Steele or Blackwell the nod might say something about the RNC, whether superficial or not. Reality is, they didn't even bother making so much as a token (pun intended) effort to pursue the black vote (96% for Dems) this year, and they got creamed in the Hispanic vote (66% for Dems) as well. At least putting a brown face somewhere on the website would help.

This? Uh, not exactly helping.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee said Saturday he was "shocked and appalled" that one of his potential successors had sent committee members a CD this Christmas featuring a 2007 parody song called "Barack the Magic Negro."

In spite of RNC Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan's sharply negative reaction, former Tennessee GOP leader Chip Saltsman said that party leaders should stand up to criticism over distributing a CD with the song. He earlier defended the tune as one of several "lighthearted political parodies" that have aired on Rush Limbaugh's radio show.

Saltsman, who managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign, is seeking the RNC chairmanship. During the presidential campaign, GOP officials denounced efforts by those in the party who criticized or mocked Democratic nominee Barack Obama along racial lines. Obama was vying to be the nation's first black president.

A spokesman for Obama, now the president-elect, declined to comment on the matter.

Shanklin's parody is sung to the music of "Puff, the Magic Dragon." Among other Shanklin tunes on the 41-track CD that Saltsman sent with a Christmas message: "I Can Talk Like a Coal Miner's Daughter," "Love Client #9" and "Down on the Farm with Al Gore."

"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party," Duncan said in a statement. "I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."

In a statement that followed Duncan's, Saltsman said: "Liberal Democrats and their allies in the media didn't utter a word about David Ehrenstein's irresponsible column in the Los Angeles Times last March. But now, of course, they're shocked and appalled by its parody on the 'Rush Limbaugh Show.'
And here's the YouTube for your listening pleasure. Nice ditty, I've gotta get this on my iPod.

And just for future reference, here's the aforementioned "Chip" Saltsman, announcing his soon-to-be abandoned bid for RNC Chair.

For the record, I'm not really offended by the song. Sure, it's stupid and insensitive, but that's par for the course when you're dealing with the GOP. That said, it is a parody, and isn't even new. Plus, it's been more or less agreed upon that black folks are gonna need some thicker skin the next 4-8 years. And we've all heard worse. So basically, whatever. The only reason this is notable is because it's tied to a guy who wants to potentially run the GOP, which makes it extra ignant, and the lack of outrage amongst party members even more puzzling.

The thing I actually sorta like about this whole story is just how unrepentant "Chip" is. Instead of falling back and apologizing, he's like "Yeah, I said it and I meant it! Who the f*ck got a problem wit' it? Get down or lay down, Nucka!" I can appreciate that sort of upfront transparency and honesty, it lets you know exactly where you stand with "Chip". And it more or less serves as a reminder for why I could never consider voting for these guys on anything other than a local level. Preciate' it Chip! And BTW, What sorta grown man calls himself "Chip"? Seriously, grow up.

I suspect the GOP will throw "Chip" under the bus and denounce him as "the sort of divisive politics this country no longer wants". And if you're Michael Steele (despite public appearances), you're grinning ear to ear now. Dude is prolly a shoe-in for the gig after this sorta PR nightmare. Maybe he can finally pay off his brother-in-law, now. Lord knows Iron Mike needs that money for some TrimSpa.[2]

But I guess this just points to a bigger issue: The GOP is facing a country with changing, and increasingly unfavorable demographics. Most of their "colored" representatives don't attract other people of color because they rarely seem to bring a different point of view to the table. In fact, many Black Republicans seem so hellbent on distancing themselves from their own communities, they just come off as mean spirited and unlikable[3]. That ain't the way to "expand the base" neither.

Not surprisingly, like the lapdogs they are, Blackwell and Steele actually came out in defense of this nonsense. No, really.
Some of Saltsman's rivals responded more mildly. Former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele, one of two black candidates for the job, said Saltsman's "attempt at humor was clearly misplaced," adding that the leadership of the party needs to "be a lot smarter about such things and more appreciative that our actions always speak louder than our words."

"Our actions and our words are oftentimes used to define who we are as Republicans," Steele said in a statement.

And former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell defended Saltsman and attacked the media.

"Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-elect Obama being the first African American elected president," Blackwell, who is black, said in a statement.

"I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them," he said. "When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."
I don't know what flavor of Brainwash Juice™ the GOP is dripping in these Negroes' IV's, but I'd sure like to feed my boss a little of it come promotion/raise time. Jesus Christ black men, grow a pair already!!!

However you shake it, the GOP has a big problem, and giving out Magic Negro Mixtapes as stocking stuffers ain't exactly the best solution.

Question: Are you offended by this "Barack The Magic Negro" nonsense or is it just par for the course now? Is there anything the GOP can do to attract your vote (assuming you're black and "liberal")? If you're white (Conservative or Liberal), how does this story make you feel?

GOP Official Blasted for Distributing Obama 'Magic Negro' CD [FoxNews]

RNC Rivals Discuss Racial Song [WashPost]

[1] And no, I'm not letting the Clintons off the hook for their nonsense either. They were worse than McCain.

[2] Boxing great Mike Tyson was once married to Steele's sister, just in case you missed that. She was the lightskinted, wavy haired doctor Iron Mike was briefly wed to in the late 90's. Tyson famously lent Steele money to feed his family after a failed business venture. This was all disclosed before Steele became MD Lietenant Governor. And I really shouldn't provide such long explanations.

[3] Except for Tara Wall, who also comes off as meanspirited and unlikable, yet oddly attractive.

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