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Ah Jeez: Michael Steele Brings the Republican Fight to "Urban-Suburban Hip-Hop Settings" in the Washington Times

Oh for fuck's sake. The lede today in a Washington Times piece about Michael S. Steele, the new Republican National Committee Chairman, who also happens to be an African-American:

    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."

Now, this comes as no surprise from a party that famously managed all of 26 total black delegates at the 2008 Republican National Convention, a figure that was good for slightly less than 2% of the total delegation. This, among other things, represented a 40-year-low: a flashback to 1968 for a party that was running against an African-African candidate in a country that's 15% black. Michael Steele was there of course, getting his credentials in order: we have him to thank for "Drill Baby Drill."

Add the murderous drubbing the Republicans took from so-called hip-hop voters (a demographic approximated by mashing up the African-American vote and the youth vote, which both swung overwhelming Democratic compared to 2004, to the tune of as many as 73 electoral votes), not to mention actual hip-hop stars, and Steele's coronation was probably inevitable. And not because Steele was likely to be more effective. The tokenistic-type magical thinking that the Republicans awkwardly flashed in Minneapolis basically prophesized the party's ensuing blind faith that a moderately qualified former Lieutenant Governor and current Fox News talking head would, by virtue of being black, somehow turn back the tide.

And Steele, apparently, is going to get very complicit with this myth indeed:

    "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-surburban hip-hop settings."

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Nevermind that "urban-surburban hip-hop settings" are fundamentally deaf to a message that involves enormous emphases on incarceration, draconian drug laws, regressive taxes, and the shredding of whatever meager social safety net still remains in this country. "Under Mr. Steele's helm," writes the piece's author, Ralph Z. Hallow, "the 'old' may seem inappropriate in the Grand Old Party's affectionate nickname. [Steele] 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.'"

Hallow rightly asks him what the fuck he's talking about with that latter, malapropized bit of slang: "Does that mean cutting-edge?"

Probably not, Ralph--probably not.


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