Tuesday, December 30, 2008


RNC, Please

Ignoring that old adage about what to do when in a hole, Republican National Committee members choose to keep digging. When a candidate for party chair distributes a CD with a song entitled "Barack The Magic Negro," members turn their righteous anger on -- other candidates for the post who criticized the first candidate:

North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth said he was “disappointed” when he heard about the story and questioned Saltsman’s viability as a candidate going forward.

“There are a lot of things about Chip that would have made a good a RNC chairman, but this has definitely hurt him,” he said in an interview with Politico. “With less than a month to go, Chip needs to be talking about where he wants to lead the party, and he is not going to get
that opportunity.” Not everyone is so sure, with some RNC members contending
that [Michigan Chair Saul] Anuzis and [incumbent Mike] Duncan may have actually hurt their candidacies with their responses. “Those are two guys who just eliminated themselves from this race for jumping all over Chip on this,” one committee member told Politico. “Mike Duncan is a nice guy, but he screwed up big time by pandering to the national press on

While South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele have decided to stay away from the controversy, offering no comment, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who would be the party’s first black chairman, has drawn notice for his vigorous defense of Saltsman.

“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 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. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this
leadership post are fine people.”

As a result of his position, a source close to the race said that at least 12 uncommitted committee members have contacted Blackwell to thank him for his support for Saltsman and have expressed anger toward Duncan and Anuzis “for throwing a good Republican under the bus.”

Welcome to the world of GOP internal politics.

Just to clarify the chronology of events:

1)Liberal David Ehrenstein writes
an LA Times column in May 2007 saying that whites like Obama because he is the cultural "magic Negro" who assuages white guilt -- the safe choice who doesn't remind him them of the tough, scary, homeboy on the streets.

2) Conservative song satirist Paul Shanklin, inspired by Times column,
writes a song parody to the tune of "Puff The Magic Dragon" (though, as a colleague notes, "Barack The Magic Negro" actually scans better to the tune of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer").

3) Rush Limbaugh then
plays the song -- apparently part of Rush's crusade to expose the media silence on the fact that Obama isn't really, you know, black ("Half-rican" is Rush's preferred descriptor).

4) Chip Saltsman, former Tennessee GOP chairman and Mike Huckabee campaign manager -- and pal of Shanklin -- makes a Christmas gift of a CD with a bunch of Shanklin songs, including "Magic Negro."

5) The Hill
reports on it. Sh*tstorm ensues.

Oh, some may note that Blackwell's move -- and the reaction of several RNC members to it -- aside from being
politically astute, actually proves Ehrenstein's original point: By washing away any perceived racial sin that Saltsman may have committed Ken Blackwell has, for certain GOPers, become their own "magic Negro."

Well, ya can't spell "ironic" without R-N-C.

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