It’s getting harder to imagine a path to survival for RNC Chairman Michael Steele, whose promise to launch the Republican party into “urban-suburban hip-hop settings” was only the beginning of a long downward slide that may well end in a no-confidence vote in April. In a recent GQ interview, not only did he mangle his own party line on homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion; he also took the interviewer’s bait and started talking once again about hip-hop.
Who do you listen to?
I actually listen to a cross section, because I like to hear what the medium is saying, what the voice is.
But do you have a favorite?
P. Diddy I enjoy quite a bit.
I like Sinatra. I like old-school. You know, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin. Love Dean Martin. He was one of these guys who just didn’t give an F. He just didn’t. Life was a party, and you either want to party or you don’t. But yeah, I like those. I’m a big Pack Rat. I love the Pack Rats from the 1950s–Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, those guys.
You mean the Rat Pack.
The Rat Pack, yeah.
I particularly enjoy the moment when the interviewer, Lisa DePaulo, invites Steele to “rethink” his Diddy endorsement–whether because he’s a terrible rapper or a terrible poster-child for the Republican party, DePaulo doesn’t clarify. Steele goes on to assert that “hip-hop is about economic empowerment” and, when asked why virtually no non-white Americans support his party, answers:
Which trenchant analysis you might think would actually make the guy ashamed to constantly proselytize that very same African-American community while standing for virtually zero change in anything Republicans actually believe, but whatever. I also enjoy the weird magical thinking that seems to assume that if you say something, it automatically comes to be true. See? Now we do give a damn. Can’t you hear the sincerity in my trembling, pleading voice?