One of our contributors, OxyChaz, has already opined on the political misadventure of Chip Saltsman, and his gift to RNC members of a Paul Shanklin compilation CD that included the controversial songs “Barack the Magic Negro” and “Star Spanglish Banner.” Shanklin’s satire and parody songs are routinely carried on Rush Limbaugh’s show.
The title for ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ hails from a Los Angeles Times article, of the same name, written by mixed-race culture columnist David Ehrenstein. The article ran in March 2007, just weeks after Obama made his official announcement – and long before he made a million promises to the American people - seemingly in response to the MSM’s imbibing him during the early days after his announcement. In March 2007… it wasn’t Obama that was “magic,” it was the magical thinking of the press. Obama’s success is a combination of discipline, great timing, and frankly – he’s a contraindication of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
The Liberal Left and the MSM found their savior in Obama. Ehrenstein was simply pointing out a truth, an ugly truth. Ehrenstein must have known – in fact I believe he relished the idea – that some dimwit, like Shanklin – then Saltsman – would take the bait, and cost the Grand Ol Party a few more votes, a few more dollars. As a girl who grew up in Atlanta, who went on to spend much of my adulthood in the Old Dominion (Virginia) – I can honestly say, I’ve met a lot of folks like Ehrenstein. I went to school with a lot of guys like Chip Saltsman too. I’m not a fan of either.
Saltsman, 40, is a former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and former Campaign Manager for Mike Huckabee’s failed presidential bid. He is running to replace Mike Duncan, who – while I am thrilled he came out against the ‘Magic Negro” song – has been nothing but a disappointment as RNC Chairman. For the record, I have not endorsed anyone in the RNC Chairman’s race… and I may not. All the prospective candidates are just as lackluster as Duncan has proven to be.
Saltsman’s statement: “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,” Saltsman said in an e-mailed statement through his spokesman, Stephen Smith.
“I firmly believe that we must welcome all Americans into our party and that the road to Republican resurgence begins with unity, not division,” Saltsman said. “But I know that our party leaders should stand up against the media’s double standards and refuse to pander to their desire for scandal.”
Today, some GOP leaders and competitors for the chairman position have begun to speak out.
Call me cynical but few would have known who Saltsman really was without this controversy. File this misadventure under the ‘all press is good press’ category. Saltsman needed name ID. He has RNC Committee members, and many so-called “conservatives” running to his defense. The folks at Politico went so far as to declare, ‘Magic Negro’ flap may help Saltsman.
How charming. Republicans have faced crushing losses since the 2006 midterms. “Conservatives” keep railing against “Republicans” – making demands of everyone but themselves. While both camps needs to take stock before making any decisions, let’s look into the righteous indignation of “Conservatives” for a moment. They don’t appreciate being called racist. Okay, fair point. However, distributing “Barack the Magic Negro” – or embracing it as satire, coupled with the “Star Spanglish Banner” – paints a pretty ugly picture. It doesn’t matter if its fair, its a perception that is widely held. Why?
Let’s start with Tom Tancredo and his push against illegal immigration. Polls have indicated that most Americans support a secure border strategy. Yet, at the polls – they elected people who supported the McCain-Kennedy bill rather than the hardest right-wing Tancredo crowd. In 2006, “Conservatives” were rejected at the only polls that really count… the ones open on election day. They rejected extremism, in favor of smart-security. Perhaps voters would have trusted these Tancredo-flavored conservatives had they not been embroiled in some of the worst corruption in our nation’s history. “Conservatives” seem to have forgotten that to have moral authority, you actually have to live your life in a morally upright way. Thanks to Tom Delay, Bob Ney, Jack Abramoff, Susan Ralston, Karl Rove, Denny Hastert and his Prairie Parkway, Duke Cunningham, Mark Foley, David Vitter, Grover Norquist – and the esteemed fallen leader of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed for ensuring that conservatism became a filthy word. Thanks so much for encouraging bad behavior.
For anyone to defend Delay, says they either had zero official business on Capitol Hill or had never appeared on an expenditure report for the FEC. These folks can’t have any real experience, or they simply have no internal moral compass, or at the outside – are blinded by ideology that the truth is obscured by hate for the MSM. Delay was a dirty player. He worked hand in hand with Democrats to spend our nation into the deep economic chasm that we are in.
But… my real issue is with the ‘values’ conservatives. Especially those who defend Delay, because they often defend Ralph Reed too. I remember Ralph, from the good ol days. When he was young, effective, motivated – and motivating. I remember being a very young girl, growing up in Newt’s old Congressional district, and what a rising star everyone believed him to be. In 2004, Reed seemingly could not be stopped. Still indescribably tight with his clique from his College Republican days (Norquist, Abramoff, Rove) – Reed was the Southeastern director for the Bush-Cheney reelect.
But… for those of us who worked on races, had dealings with his firm Century Strategies and other affiliated consultants, we knew all was not right with the world. Some of the stuff was straight up. Sometimes it seemed like he was a bit heavy handed, a little Soprano-esque. And then he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia. Funny how the things he got away with when he was an operative didn’t wash when the Public Trust was at stake. Reed was defeated in the Republican primary in Georgia. Handily. Big time. Because those who knew him best rejected him outright.
Then came the repeated revelations of his accepting money from Indian casinos & gambling proceeds from his good friend Jack Abramoff. Reed was never convicted of wrongdoing. Abramoff still sits in prison… but those Georgia voters, who had been so instrumental in fueling Ralph Reed’s metoric rise to the top of the “conservative” pile denied him any real power – they ended his career as a public servant, before it really began. Reed’s moral high ground disappeared in flames.
Keep moving people, nothing to see here. No phoenix will be rising from these ashes.
For those who consider themselves conservative, I would ask only this: please identify a 21st Century leader for your movement. There is a difference in learning from our history, and being stuck in it. Ronald Reagan is dead. Gone. His reanimated corpse isn’t going to emerge and share a Weekend at Bernie’s with you. I wouldn’t pretend to know who that person is. But I think if you look to the “Young Guns” in the US House – you’ll find some capable hands. Mike Pence. Tom Price. And, my favorite – Eric Cantor. He’s a brilliant man, and he walks the walk.
One caution: should you pick Governor Sarah Palin, it will demonstrate no conviction but instead a tone-deaf attitude. You can’t win with someone the American people , and the American media don’t like. She wasn’t enough for McCain, and she won’t be enough on her own. My chief dislike of her as a politician is this: she blamed staff. Staff aren’t in charge. She is Governor of Alaska – a Chief Executive, mother of five, a wife of more than two decades, and with her life experience – she couldn’t find it within herself to say NO.
If you can’t stand up to Nicolle Wallace, then you aren’t qualified to negotiate on behalf of this nation at a G8, at the UN, or anywhere else. Palin could have been Vice President of the United States – and she blamed “staff” – I don’t think so. It’s a little too much like then-Senator Obama’s idiotic quip during the Democratic primaries, “Can’t I just eat my waffles?”
All of that said, moderates are disorganized. They point fingers at conservatives and complain. Their most visible champion is John S. McCain. Need I say more? Talk about failed leadership. McCain had an opportunity for redemption this year. Redemption from the bruising South Carolina primary against George W. Bush in 2000. Redemption over the Gang of 14. Redemption over the breach that his partnership with Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold led to with conservatives, Republicans, the press, and everyone else.
McCain’s campaign was an unmitigated disaster – long before Palin was selected as the nominee. As much as I would have loved to see Eric Cantor go on the McCain ticket this year, I am frankly delighted that he wasn’t. I would not want any respectable Republican OR Conservative being tied up to the worst presidential campaign in my adult lifetime. That’s saying something. I remember Dole in 1996.
Republicans and Conservatives must find a way to work together if they are to remain a viable force. Conservatives are not compromising their principles if they give a little to moderates. And moderates aren’t slumming intellectually by giving a little to conservatives. Putting the best interests of the nation first should be Job Number One. Until it is, they won’t gain any traction. Holding political grudges is not going to solve any problems.
President Barack Obama will take office in less than three weeks. He must be afforded a chance to do the right thing. Republicans and conservatives must apply appropriate pressure to the Obama administration – find common cause with him. Because Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid are reckless liberals that care little for anything more than their own self-aggrandizement.
After many, many years in the business of politics – I know one critical truth. The effects of the Presidential Daily Brief are immense. Life-altering. Politically neutral. And succinct about threats. President Obama made many promises, and the MSM made many promises on his behalf. But fighting his own party’s institutional racism will be an uphill battle. From day one, Obama will face a corruption scandal regarding his now vacated US Senate seat in Illinois. He also has proposed a gigantic public works program that will require Republicans to pass it. There are boundless opportunities to hold both parties accountable on issues of race, equality, economic parity and fairness (by which I mean keeping taxes low and refusing any more damn bailouts) and national security struggles that are legion.
While I am concerned about racism in my own party, and among the conservatives who register Republican out of necesity rather than commitment – no party owns institutional racism quite like the Democrats. For our Strom Thurmond, there is the Democrat Robert Byrd. And so much more…
As aptly captured by our friends at SC&A, the hypocrisy of the Left knows no bounds. Please read, How Democrats Whitewashed a Horrific and Lengthy Record of Racism and The Race Card: Progressive Politics as Usual to get your full dose of reality. Republicans and Conservatives alike – to be taken seriously by the American people – as champions of equality, of ending institutional racism and offering real solutions – and a better future for all of our children, have to expel racists from the party. Expel people, like Saltsman, who are simply too tone-deaf to understand that distributing materials referring to the 44th President as a “Magic Negro” is not only insensitive, but radically offensive and racist by many, many standards.
Not just the standards of the MSM or the Left. I don’t take my queues from the MSM. Never have. But I don’t see them as the enemy either. My clients were always treated fairly by the MSM – because I was honest with them. If you want a fair shake, you gotta play fair.
To close, I shall return to the beginning… with the Los Angeles Times. On their Op-Ed page last Sunday, Tim Rutten penned a great article regarding Ehrenstein, Saltsman, racism, political correctness, and reality. Oddly enough, it takes me back to my beginnings as well, with the words of the first Conservative who captured my intellect and challenged me to be a better thinker.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich said that Shanklin’s song was “so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it.”
Here, here. There are angels in Georgia after all.