GOP chair 'appalled' by 'Magic Negro' CD
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan issued a statement Saturday distancing the party’s leadership from one of the ’s best-known operatives, Chip Saltsman, who distributed a CD containing “Barack the Magic Negro” as part of his campaign to be elected chairman of the Republican National Committee next month.
Duncan, who has served the campaigns of five presidents dating back to Richard Nixon, is seeking reelection as the party’s 60th chairman in a hotly contested race that includes Saltsman and several other viable candidates.
Saltsman, 40, was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s campaign manager during the .
Saltsman sent Republican National Committee members, who will choose the next chairman, a CD by conservative political satirist Paul Shanklin, “We HATE the USA.” It contains the controversial track, which was popular on conservative radio. Shanklin’s Web site promises “absolutely the best parodies in talk radio.”
Duncan's statement, in full: "The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."
Saltsman’s candidacy for national party chair is endorsed by Huckabee and fellow Tennessean Bill Frist, the .
Saltsman defended his song selection to The Hill’s Reid Wilson, who first reported the gift.
“Paul Shanklin is a longtime friend, and I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his songs for the Rush Limbaugh show are light-hearted political parodies,” Saltsman told The Hill.
Saltsman’s marketing campaign comes as Republicans grapple with ways to offer a counterpoint to President-elect Obama at a time when the country is largely supportive of his appointments and policies.
The national GOP ticket lost badly in November among many growing voter groups – including young people, Hispanics and suburbanites. Party officials says that a voter base consisting of the South plus social conservatives is not a dependable way to win elections.
In the “Republican Plan for Victory” that is Saltsman’s platform in the chairman’s race, he writes: “I believe that countering an emboldened Democratic Party, led by the Obama-Reid-Pelosi troika, requires an aggressive national strategy. This campaign’s message cannot depend upon traditional media outlets or communication methods. It will require building upon new media and developing and mastering new tactics.”
The disclosure by The Hill was met with an odd silence from Republican leaders. The story was posted at 12:10 p.m. on Friday, was quickly picked up by Talking Points Memo, and for a time was the banner headline on The Huffington Post, later replaced by Israeli’s strikes on Gaza.
Duncan issued his statement after noted the party’s 22-hour silence.
Politico has exchanged e-mails with an aide to Saltsman, and will post a response when it arrives.
Saltsman is a former development director of the , and was elected chairman of the in 1998.
Here is the GOP's version of a sense of humor.
This made an appearance on the Rush Limbaugh radio show. Rush is most famous for getting himself canned from ESPN after suggesting that Eagles star QB Donovan McNabb's career was solely the product of him being black and having his job and status handed to him. He has also made remarks in the past about giving a Medal of Honor to James Earle Ray (Martin Luther King's assassin). This is in between advocating prison for all drug addicts, while he himself is a self-admitted addict of synthetic heroin. Special guy, that Rush.
The problem this presents to the Republican Party is that in the very near future, by around 2045-2050, whites will be a numerical minority in this country. If they want to get elected, it is a party that will have to get over its appeal to white resentment (thanks to Nixon's Southern strategy) and actually garner votes of people who look like what this country is becoming. There is no reversing this, the protestations of Pat Buchanan notwithstanding. The party will either change or be a marginalized second party, like the Democrats were after the Civil War.
The real question, or the bigger one, is whether the Republicans can accomplish this without compromising themselves ideologically? On immigration, probably not, as it is becoming clear that the Republicans lost almost twenty percentage points of the Latino vote due primarily to the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the party over the last few years (including the rebellion against Bush's immigration proposal and even against Senator McCain from the party's base). It is doubtful that the GOP is going to be getting the African American vote or much of anyone else outside of the Deep South anytime soon. The Latino vote is going to be vital for them to retain something close to a majority of the vote.
As for the social issues, the culture war is going to become an increasingly losing issue for the Republicans. The leading indicator of whether someone opposes gay marriage and abortion is church attendance. Half of all Americans attended church on a weekly basis in 1945. It is down to about 25% (and probably lower, depending on whose polling numbers you look at). The religious right can claim about a quarter of the electorate (30-35% of the voters in the old Confederate states). That is not a majority, or close to it, and they are operating in a cultural climate that is increasingly secular and tolerant on issues like gay marriage (that is even legal, compared to its status when the religious right began involving itself in politics is an accomplishment that secularists and gay rights supporters too often ignore). In essence, the religious right is becoming like the labor unions after the 1970s, and it is a friendly environment that will change outside of the Bible belt (which is no longer needed to win national elections).
Ultimately, this means the GOP is going to become a party of aging religious white Southerners. That is not a recipe for victory. Then again, they could give us more reasons not to vote for them. I suppose as a pinko commie, I should be happy, but actually I am not. It depresses me because my country is still being occupied by people like this.