The Republicans are so screwed. You would think that after their stunning losses in the last election some soul-searching might have been in order for the Republican party. But since the election, Sarah Palin has become the de facto face of the party. To my mind, that was the first sign that introspection is not necessarily a Republican trait.
The latest evidence …
On top of the abundant racism employed by the Republicans in the last election, we now find that the finishing touch has perhaps been delivered by former Tennessee GOP leader Chip Saltsman (the man who ran Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign). Saltsman more than likely sank his hopes to become next Republican National Committee chairman by distributing a CD to RNC members for Christmas featuring a song called “Barack the Magic Negro”.
Well, in spite of the fact that many Americans, especially African-Americans, perceive the RNC as the last refuge of the Good Old Boy network made up of former Klan members and racist George Wallace leftovers, no one could really take something like this seriously, could they?
According to Chip Saltsman, “I think most people recognize political satire when they see it.” He defended the CD by releasing a statement saying that “our party leaders should… refuse to pander to [the media's] desire for scandal.”
Right. The media is making a big deal out of nothing. They can keep telling themselves that, but the truth of it is that most people recognize insensitive bigotry when they see and hear it. The fact that something like this has risen its ugly head again speaks volumes about Republican and Conservative intolerance. The mere fact that Chip Saltsman is a credible candidate for the RNC chairmanship speaks volumes about the party itself. With him at the helm, the Republican Party would certainly get Ann Coulter’s vote. And Sean Hannity’s. And Rush Limbaugh’s. And Bill O’Reilly’s.
He’ll also likely get Diane Fedele’s support. She was the bright, shining star who produced the “Ten Dollar Obama Bucks” food stamp showing the then Democratic candidate’s head superimposed on a donkey’s body surrounded by a chunk of watermelon, ribs, a pitcher of Kool-Aid, and a bucket of fried chicken.
Saltsman is also likely to get Marcia Stirman’s support. She’s the chairwoman of the Otero County Republican Women in New Mexico who wrote in the Alamogordo Daily News that “I believe Muslims are our enemies,” and that “Obama isn’t a messiah or a Democrat. He’s a Muslim socialist.”
Another kindred spirit is Jeffrey M. Frederick, the Chairman of the Virginia Republican Party who likened Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden in a pep talk to campaign volunteers, explaining that “Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon. That is scary.”
So really, if you look at the overall pattern, no one should be surprised that a potential candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee distributed a CD which contained Barack the Magic Negro, sung by an Al Sharpton imitator; “Yeah the guy from the LA paper said [Obama] made guilty whites feel good / They’ll vote for him and not for me ’cause he’s not from the hood.”
The CD also includes a song called The Star Spanglish Banner, which is a shot at Hispanics that starts off with the line, “Jose can you see”, and goes after Liberals songs such as “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour“, “Wright Place, Wrong Pastor”, “Love Client #9″, “Ivory and Ebony”.
Can the Republicans return to any reasonable relevance if they habitually remind people that the worst of people among us tend to always have the word “Republican” attached to them? Do we really want leaders who embody racism and intolerance? Even Sarah Palin, the apparent savior of the Republican party and the Chosen One who might lead them to victory in 2012, said upon hearing the Barack Obama had received the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton, “So Sambo beat the bitch!”
The fall-out hasn’t really gotten started yet, but current RNC Chairman Robert Duncan has started trying to put out some of the fires by decrying Saltsman’s bone-headed indiscretion. It’s a step in the right direction, and the only thing the Republicans can really do at this point.
“The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party,” Duncan said. “I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us in the right direction.”
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer, who has reportedly been mulling a run for the RNC chair himself, released a statement supporting candidates for the chairmanship who have taken a “firm position” on Saltsman’s decision to distribute the “racially-insulting song”:
“As the GOP Chairman in one of our nation’s most ethnically and culturally diverse states, I am especially disappointed by the inappropriate words and actions we’ve seen over the past few days,” he said. “I am proud of those party leaders who have stood up in firm opposition to this type of behavior. Actions such as the distribution of this CD, regardless of intent, only serves to promote divisiveness and distracts us from our common goal of building our party.”
Is the Republican back-pedaling enough to stem the coming tide? Will anyone buy it? Is this just the political ass-covering of a bunch of guys who privately laughed at the songs that they’re now compelled to step forward and denounce? Surely they must know that this is damaging to their party. One has to wonder if that much-vilified Liberal media will manage to make an issue out of this, or if the Republicans will be able to sweep the issue under the rug the moment the American public becomes distracted by the next shiny thing.
Personally, I’d like to think that they’re screwed. The party of divisiveness and intolerance has finally been kicked to the curb by the American people, but it has learned absolutely nothing from the experience. Sarah Palin almost single-handedly cost John McCain the presidency, but she’s now been elevated to the forefront of the party; which seems to say that, unlike the rest of the country, Republicans believe that John McCain was a drain on Sarah Palin and not the other way around. 2012 will be different, dammit! Without John McCain to drag her down, Sarah Palin will be a certain bet the next time around! Maybe next time it’ll be “The bitch beat Sambo!”
No. The Republicans haven’t learned a thing. It’s business as usual. That’s sort of the problem, isn’t it? The party that just lost the election to the first African-American to ever be elected to the office of President has decided that the best way to deal with that loss is to distribute songs like Barack The Magic Negro. If this is who the Republican party is, they deserve their long exile in the wilderness. If they’re incapable of reflecting on the reasons they wound up there to begin with, they deserve to fade into obscurity.
Personally, I like to think that the rest of us are ready to move on.