Friday, February 20, 2009

Michael Steele Needs To Update His Slang.

Some of ya'll may wonder why I give GOP-related issues so much play here when it's clear I'd gouge my eyes out with a Bojangles spork before I'd vote for a Republican President. That may be true, but one thing's certain: it's a lot more fun picking at The Party Of Lincoln than it is reading 1,100 pages of a stimulus bill. As you can see, I've clearly got my priorities straight.

One guy that intrigues me is GOP Chairman Michael Steele, a local product who is now tasked with making the party relevant to America's changing demographic. We all know the country is trending browner, and Obamania is threatening to indoctrinate a whole new generation of young voters as lifelong Democrats.

This is of course a tall act, but Steele's hardly deterred. Witness his cunning blueprint for winning back Generation Twitter.
Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”

The RNC's first black chairman will “surprise everyone” when updating the party's image using the Internet and advertisements on radio, on television and in print, he told The Washington Times.

Having been elected to the job that the Bush White House and its political guru, Karl Rove, once denied him, Mr. Steele is running the show his way. To those who claimed he can't make the trains run on time, he has this message: “Stuff it.”

There was underlying concerns we had become too regionalized and the party needed to reach beyond our comfort” zones, he said, citing defeats in such states as Virginia and North Carolina. “We need messengers to really capture that region - young, Hispanic, black, a cross section ... We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”

While other former top Bush White House and campaign officials sent congratulations on his election, including former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, Karl Rove neither phoned nor wrote his congratulations, Mr. Steele told The Times.

Under Mr. Steele's helm, the “old” may seem inappropriate in the Grand Old Party's affectionate nickname. He said he is putting a new public relations team into place to update the party's image.

“It will be avant garde, technically,” he said. “It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone - off the hook.”
Boy, where do I begin? Among the many things that tick me off are when old guys try to use young guy slang to sound "cool". Obama never really fell into this trap on the campaign trail. Sure, there was that one time he brushed his shoulders off in my homestate, but it was in proper context (Hillary and Bill were hatin'), and subtle enough to go over the heads of those oblivious to the gesture. It was effective, and given some of the folks he's been photographed around (ie: Jay-Z) it came off as genuine.

[Editor's Note: Anyone else find it odd that Rove hasn't called to congratulate Steele on his historic appointment? I'm just sayin'.]

Steele, on the other hand, clearly is trying to tap into some of this same Obama swagger, but like the natural cornball he is, just keeps failing miserably. In the past months alone, he's tried (unsuccessfully) to get a call and response chant going at the lily-white GOP Convention, stated that he wanted to "send a shout out" during his victory speech, used the phrase "bling bling" when addressing a serious press inquiry, and now is actually using the term "off the hook" in the year 2009.

Who the f*ck still says "off the hook" in 2009? Does Mike also say "lemme hit dem' skins" when it's time to get down with the wifey? Does he put on a "jimmy hat"? Does she "get the bozack"?


Borrow your kid's iPod and update your colloquialisms, Mike!

I guess this comes back to the big problem with the GOP's latest "outreach" effort. It's bound to come off as disingenuous because it's so obvious that it's not genuine in the first place. Steele and his "wannabe hip" vernacular are just indicative of the real issue: the GOP is out-of-touch in the eyes of most voters.

Word is bond, sonn!

Question: What can the GOP do to appeal to younger voters other than spit played-out slangistics? Assuming you agree that "off the hook" is about 5 years beyond it's expiration date, what do you use to describe something of such magnitude nowadays?

Steele: GOP needs 'hip-hop' makeover [WashTimes]

32 AverageComments™:

Stankoniforous 0ne said...

Lame. The youngin's know when you fakin it and when it's you.

Instead of gimmicks, try some real changes. Slanguage will not convince the increasingly brown population to vote Republican.

Back to the drawin board!

VOD said...



And in a sense, if you think about it, he's playing into the same stereotypes that many of "them" have about "us". Quite one-dimensional, if you ask me.

The President won without having to do all of that. Dude is trying way too hard.

Kirby said...

@ AB

great song choice for the post. I dont know I still say "bananas"

BlkBond said...

The GOP would have to reach out to minorities within their communities. The would have to address how they plan to integrate minorities and change within their own party; not simply as figure heads (i.e. Michael Steele). Bring back JC Watts, lol.

They also need update/upgrade how they communicate their message--i.e. twitter, facebook, myspace, etc. They young, vibrant, multi-faceted men and women of all cultural backgrounds to reflect the demographic changes going on within this country, not simply the same 'Old' faces, races, and places.

Bond. BlkBond.

Ciara said...

I use "crazy", "dope" and "ill"

As a Marylander, I did use "crankin'" *hangs head in shame*

Since I am a part of the demographic that he wants to grab, I wouldn't step 100 feet near this thing. You can't just use the word "hip-hop" and expect me to be on it.

the uppity negro said...

That's a trick question right?

What can the GOP do to appeal to younger voters other than spit out slanguistics?

Um, how about actually offer substantive change and talk about the subjects WE want to talk about.

Sorry, black Republicans operate as an oxymoron to me. I've checked out the Hip Hop Republican blog site ( and I still just left it saying WTF?!?! I say the same thing every time I watch Amy Holmes open her mouth. I'm not convinced there's much they can do. I think Karl Rove's failure to be cordial further proves the deep divides in their own party that, yes, invoke the specter of racial prejudices.

At this point, spittin' out slanguistics is about their only ace in the hole, because they are NOT going to attract a largely non-white urban following on their stance on issues. Sure I may agree on some random fiscal issues, but ideologically, GIVE ME A BREAK and fall back! ALL the way back.


Um, EVERYone I know says "off the chain." Back in Chicago, down here in ATL, and even when I was out in DC, folks said "off the chain."

Not "hook" tho.

Specific to Chicago, however we said, "ish was fye" translated "fire." Or, "it was on ten" or "Damn, you super geeked."

And we randomly would insert "joe" into that slanguistics.

Man, I love James Baldwin. He wrote an essay back in the day, "If Black English Isn't a Language, then tell me what is" because if some white folk heard us when black folk really got going, they'd be like "HUH?!?!?" LMAO.

Lady M said...

I use "sick", sometimes "bad" and attach "hella" for extra effect. (West Coast, anyone?)

I'm in that demographic too, as a youngin' and all but if I heard Steele saying something was "sick"... I am so not getting on that bandwagon.

I think a step forward for the GOP would be to stop reminding people of its history, i.e. Lincoln's party, the Great emancipator, MLK's party, and all that jazz. Times are a'changing. The GOP 60 years ago is sure as hell not what it is today.

Antonio said...

Ugh I hate people trying to be hip. He's playing into GOP stereotypes so hard it's ridiculous. If hip-hop/urban slang isn't part of your natural vocabulary you sound like a fool trying to use it. It's a shame Steele can't get any legitimate policy changes going. You know, stuff that actually matters.

spool32 said...


It's a dialect. Also, at this point there's a sizeable portion of black America that thinks Karl Rove is 'raising the spectre of racial issues' if he wears a white shirt to the office.


Well, he did fire a huge group of failures. Give the guy a couple weeks to get things going eh?

We'll see how much of a failure he is when Chris Dodd wakes up Nov. 5 2010 without a job. You all might not be seeing it but I'm sensing a change... a return to fiscal sensibility and a revival of the party. There's change coming all over the place... I'm optimistic about the mid-terms. :)

@'errybody' on this slang thing:

It's so sad, lol. I agree... he's got to stop this now. Just speak like an intelligent man and talk issues. I would have preferred it if he'd just said "you want to know what's going on in the GOP? Friend me and you'll find out."


@ Kirby

Yeah, that Big L is a mixshow classic.

@ BlkBond

I like JC Watts a lot. I'd listen to him before Steele.

Steele is already boasting that the GOP has more folks on Twitter than the Dems. Take that as you please.

@ CiCi


Yep, hang your head in shame.

@ Uppity

Young folks only care about Hollywood and rapper endorsements, not issues. It's well known that Will.I.Am won the election for Obama. Where's his cabinet gig?

And yeah, = CORNBALLS!!!

BTW, DC started the whole "Joe" thing first. It's a fact.

@ Lady M

West Up! Mane, I wouldn't mind me a Scoe's Special right about now.

Derek said...

"The Party Of Lincoln than it is reading 1,100 pages of a stimulus bill. As you can see, I've clearly got my priorities straight.


MissJay said...

Yeah I say "off the chain" or "crazy" or "sick". But "off the hook"?? I haven't used that since talking about the Xscape album with the same title. He should stop trying so hard.

Kirby said...

@ AB

Why do we have to continue this "joe" convo. How is it a fact that DC started it?

MsNegroEsquire2004 said...

It looks as if Mr. Steele is running the national GOP the way he ran the Maryland GOP. I don't think Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is coming back to help him this time.

If the GOP wants to appeal to minorities and young people it should speak to them about real issues and be serious about it. As in they have to develop plans, strategies, and programs that appeal to young folks. The GOP's current plan is to say "no" to everything and be sarcastic without offering sensible plans of their own. The 300 kids who could not return to Clark Atlanta this semester don't really care if John Boehner cries, again.

Their task is made harder because of Obama. His life story is what conservatives say they want in a leader: a self-made man, from meager beginnings who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, has a loving wife (who is his first and only wife), great kids, he's smart, and good looking and succeeded because of hard work and a good education. All they have are affirmative action tokens, e.g. Steele and Palin.

Its hard to extract followers from a person who is following your play book.

Plus, compared to Obama, Steele is a 'bama.

Antonio said...


I'll give you that the GOP will likely win back a few seats in the mid-term elections (pretty hard to sink much lower), but optimism? Somebody must've slipped something in your coffee this morning.

the uppity negro said...


Not gonna argue you on Black English, that'd be an exercise in futility.


I'm really not convinced on the whole "joe" thing. I need some hard evidence other than that Youtube clip you posted a ways back. I knew hella people from the DMV and they was lookin at us from Chicago like we were stupid when we said "joe." And when I was out there this summer, I heard NO and ONE say "joe" and yes....i did venture down into city every free chance I got.

spool32 said...

Considering what it says on my BA, you're probably right. "Dialect" has a specific linguistic meaning... at most, black English is a patois, but even that distinction is a stretch.

Did you see that guy on the floor of the Chicago exchange a couple days ago? The small but amusing protests during Obama's stimulus road trip? Energized Congressmen taking chances and speaking out, the slow train wreck that is John Murtha's earmark deception, the proliferation of "Rebuild the Party" sites, Obama's poll numbers... this stimulus gave the GOP its identity back.

Politically, it's nowhere near as bad as it looked just 2 months ago. and honestly... it's all thanks to the Democratic Congress.

Now if only Steele can stop trying to sound like one hep cat, we can move on to actually using social media to get the message flowing out and the money flowing in.

After all, that is his job.

Derek said...

If by "politically" you mean cable news and by "poll numbers" you mean not actually looking at polls, then I guess i agree with you.

I mean come on... Santelli's little speech on the trading floor? Populist outrage from stocktraders is just not a winning formula. Really, this just looks like the GOP campaign from 2008... the one they lost.

OA said...

@ AB

Great post but you forgot about the one-armed midgets! I talked about it on my blog as well.

Kirby said...

I think it is laughable that a trader is trying to chastise our President about any type of financial or moral issue. This are the same morons that help put us into this economic collapse and now they got a problem with how he's gonna fix a problem they created? And who the hell was the other guy cosigning his dumbass comments. White men tickle the hell outta me when they think they checking a black person.

Marbles said...

I'm not sure if I'm showing my age (26), cluelessness, or whiteness (or perhaps some combination of all three), but what does "off the hook" even mean?

Is it in the same family as the 70s goodie "outta sight"? (which I wish was still alive).

ebonygentleman said...

Rick Santelli sure wasn't making any noise when the Banks/Fortune 500 companies were getting bailout money.

Then again, I don't expect anybody who can't identify with the common "Joe" to see what true struggle is like.

All of the talent and "hard work" in the world doesn't mean beans without a someone in the know doing you a "favor" and bringing you up.

Absolutely NO ONE has made it to the top without someone helping them along.

The great secret about success in corporate America is that most folks in big positions aren't really that intelligent or come up with original material, they just "manage" those who do. I've seen this first hand.

CNBC needs to check Santelli out of the door and advise him to call Rupert Murdoch for his "finance" channel.


spool32 said...

Heh, he's far from perfect. I'm just saying that things are happening. It's early days yet... the GOP, once looking like it was on life support, is starting to show some signs of life - and this mess of a "stimulus" spending bill is the reason why.

We've got time... it's starting to look a lot like 1993. :)

Derek said...

In 1993 Clinton failed to pass a 15 billion dollar stimulus 7 months into his presidency.

It's a brave new world.

Miss Gypsy Eyes said...

What can the GOP do to appeal to younger voters other than spit played-out slangistics?
The only thing that would work would be the obvious task of paying attention and making changes that are actually relevant to the lives of younger voters. I don't mean the abstract things that have long term relevance but the things that young people hold dear and frankly that isn't going to happen. Their stance on most issues is the exact opposite of the one held by these young people and all of the black figurehead Token Negros in the world won't change that.

Assuming you agree that "off the hook" is about 5 years beyond it's expiration date, what do you use to describe something of such magnitude nowadays?
I say "bananas" or "crazy" sometimes "sick." In an extreme situation I think I said something was "off the hinges." I've never been much for popular slang so I'm just as likely to pick a random word on the spot and use it.

spool32 said...


You realize the connotations of that phrase, right?

Basically, you're comparing the Obama Presidency to a dystopian future where eugenics determines your life and freedom is systematically destroyed by the State...

Not to mention the fact that Clinton's failure preceded a 6-year boom. I guess we'll see what "success" gets us!

adinasi said...

As a teacher 'deep in 'da hood' I spend little time in the classroom trying to 'connect' with children in the conventional sense. I set expectations, and hold them to those expectations, which is something their previous teachers never did - more on that some other post >:-(.
Steele trying to 'makeover' the GOP is precisely why I remain a political independent despite being both socially and fiscally conservative. Set a damn standard, stand for something, communicate those values, and you'll attract those who believe such. I don't use 'slang' in my classroom; there's enough of that across the street in 'the Gardens' (you LA folk know where I'm talkin about). If Steele truly believes in personal responsibility, wise financial choices, individual charity ('cause Republicans give more $$ than Democrats), and free market prosperity, then say so. You don't need 'slang' to do that; yeah, you may need to 'break it down', but be smart and effective with it. You're a man, Steele, act like one; be who you are, not some effing cartoon.

Chuck H. Houston said...

What can the GOP do to appeal to younger voters other than spit played-out slangistics?

Remove Michael Steele from office perhaps?

I mean seriously, nothing personal against the guy (having met him in real life before) but come the f*#@ on, bruh! Lemme get this straight, you're going to revamp the REPUBLICAN PARTY...with Hip-Hop?

Because clearly your Hip-Hop credentials are "off the hook!" As if we need to see Palin "raising the roof" again.

Don't know how many of you caught Melissa Harris-Lacewell on Maddow the other night but I think she summed it up best when she said the one thing hip-hop requires you to be is authentic; the GOP attempting to cater to young/minority voters is not authentic because (i) smaller government, (ii) pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, and (iii) social conservatism in general (otherwise known as the core values of the GOP) run counter to the values held by minorities and the younger generation.

So good luck with making that sale.

Assuming you agree that "off the hook" is about 5 years beyond it's expiration date, what do you use to describe something of such magnitude nowadays?

Off the meter.

Off the chain.

Off the heezy.



Mad sick.

Dumb sick.

Stupid crazy mad dumb sick. (new york)

Anything but "off the hook." That mos def expired quite a few years ago.

PhReSh said...

I hate the fact that dude is straight up selling out his own race and doing so horribly at it! lmao ... if you gonna be a jiggaboo you should do it the right way ... at least read up on some of our new terminology and such ... i thought the house nigga's were allowed to read so long they were teachin massa's chirren. Dude sucks ... plain and simple.

Kirby said...

i thought the house nigga's were allowed to read so long they were teachin massa's chirren. Dude sucks ... plain and simple

Tell 'em why you mad son!

spool32 said...

Some of you guys have no idea how unintentionally insulting you are. I swear, if you spoke that way to me in my house I'd throw your ass out on the street.

vanilla latte said...

Maybe Steele can bring back my all time favorite phrase "Dy-NO-mite"! And his wife can throw in a few "Day-um, Day-um, Day-um's" for good measure. I mean isn't Steele's hip hop adventure like a really bad sit-com?? We just need a good opening montage and soundtrack.
The "Good Times" music is waaaaaay to good for the GOP...besides, they probably would not understand the lyrics.

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