What’s The Matter With the Republican Outreach Plan? Republicans.

Three commissioners.  One douchebag.  Can you spot him?

“I’m John.” “I’m Randy.” “I”m Racist.”

I get asked sometimes, “Jeff, why do you hate Republicans?”

Frankly,, that question puzzles me.  I have never said I hate Republicans.  Because I don’t.   I don’t like  lot of Republicans, but that dislike grows with the distance between local level and national Republicans.   The further up the political food chain you go the less likable Republicans get.

After last year’s electoral shellacking some of the smarter members of the Grand Old Party came to recognize they had a serious image problem with people of color.   They resolved to do something about that.   They needed to fix the image.  Never mind the awful policies or the awful  personalities articulating the policies.   The rebranding of the Republican Party wasn’t going to be about coming up with a better brand of dog food.   The goal was to convince the dogs that they just weren’t getting the message.

A better question would be, “Why do Republicans hate me and anyone that looks like me.”

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, whose name sounds like a shampoo ingredient, laid out his master plan to win over Blacks, Latinos and Asians who had gone big for President Obama and the Democrats in 2012.

Hi, my name is Reince Priebus and my job sucks!

While Democrats benefited from well invested and expansive political operations in states across the country in 2012, Priebus acknowledged the Republicans faced a deficit in that area and said the GOP would combat shortfall by launching a $10 million initiative dedicated to outreach in minority communities.

“The Obama campaign lived in these communities for years.  Their relationships were deep.  They were authentic,” Priebus said.  “We’re going to be announcing a $10 million initiative just this year which will include hundreds of people, paid, across the country, from coast to coast, in Hispanic, African American, Asian communities, talking about our party, talking about our brand, talking about what we believe in, going to community events, going to swearing-in ceremonies being a part of the community on an ongoing basis paid for by the Republican National Committee, to make the case for our party and our candidates.”

Yeah, you have fun with that, R.P.   Priebus may be sincere in broadening the GOP base, but not everyone is on board with the initiative.   Some to ridiculous extremes.

Jim Gile, a Republican commissioner in Saline County, Kansas, used an offensive racial slur during an argument with a fellow commissioner, but he wants everyone to know that he isn’t a racist because he’s “built Habitat homes for colored people,” and also that he has a black friend:

In a recording made by County Clerk Don Merriman of the study session, Gile, who is white, can be heard to say the county needed to hire an architect to design the improvements rather than “nigger-rigging it.”

His comment brought laughter from others in the room. Salinan Ray Hruska, who attends most commission meetings and study sessions, asked Gile what he said.

“Afro-Americanized,” Gile replied. . . .

Gile said he grew up around the term, but it is something he shouldn’t have used.

“I am not a prejudiced person,” Gile said Friday. “I have built Habitat homes for colored people.”

Gile said he also has a close friend whom he regards as a sister who is black.

Damn man, could you fuck that up any worse?

It would be a mistake to allow one idiot Republican nobody in Kansas to cock up the entire idea of outreach, which is a good idea.  It shows there are people left in the GOP who actually get it that there’s a problem here.   The thing is the Republicans have spent such a long time dividing the country along racial lines and appealing to fear of “the other” that they can’t just turn on a dime and become the party of openness and diversity.   It’s like squeezing your feet into shoes one size too small.  It’s a bad fit.

When you’re a political party who’s been wiped out in consecutive presidential elections and you’re tired of being called old, White and racist, who you gonna call?   The Super Six G.O.P. Outreach Team!

Rep. Don “Wetback” Young
Jim “the Nigger Rigger” Gile
Dr. Ben “Gay Marriage Will Lead to Pedophilia and Bestiality” Carson
Sean “Ben’s Ass and My Lips” Hannity
Sen. Rand “Hey, I Love the Civil Rights Act” Paul
Sarah “Shuck and Jive” Palin

Todd Kincannon and Jennifer Olsen because superheroes need stupid sidekicks.

and Reince Preiebus as Professor X.

It’s hard to clean up the image of a party that lives and thrives on racial baiting and the politics of polarization

These half-assed efforts at “outreach” might be a sign Republicans just aren’t any goddamned good at this sort of thing.

Fail.

jennifer-olsen

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How Mitt Conned the NAACP

Mitt Romney accepted an invitation to speak before the NAACP.

It didn’t go well. Color me so surprised?

You have to give Mittens some credit. It takes a certain amount of guts to be the Whitest White Man Alive and walk into a convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People knowing there aren’t many potential votes in the crowd. It probably wasn’t the high point of the week for him.

Win or lose, unless there’s a Monica Lewinsky in Barack Obama’s closet, he’s going to get over 95 percent of the Black vote. Everyone knows this. Nobody doubts it. We can argue whether he should get over 95 percent of the Black vote, but there is no denying it.

It was a given Romney would offer nothing of substance to chip away at Obama’s most solid base of support and he didn’t. His platitudes to the good deeds of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization and cheerleading for school vouchers received a polite, but cool response. The membership of the NAACP may be middle class and aging, but you can’t bullshit them.   Romney may smile pretty and offer an accommodating open hand, but there isn’t anything in his past that leads anyone to believe this is a guy who cares about anyone who isn’t White and wealthy.

Obama knows who he has his back.

Watch the  G.O.P. debates again and look for a moment where this conservative cabal of candidates expressed any idea, proposal, program or even  a passing interest in issues of interest to Blacks.  Romney spoke approvingly of Republican-passed voter I.D. laws deliberately designed to disenfranchise African-Americans and has aligned himself with the forces trying to turn back the clock on Black progress.

The best person to judge the Republican outreach to Blacks are Black Republicans. They’re not optimists. Former Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael “You Da’ Man” Steele has shrugged it off as window dressing. “As far as I’m concerned, at this stage of the game this is kind of a moot point,” Steele said. “The RNC has done very little since I left office to expand on the work that we had done in this area. They’ve got a website, God bless them. It’s always good to put a website up with some black faces on it. Outreach.”

For his part, Romney seemed pleased with his soft-shoe act.

“I spoke with a number of African-American leaders after the event and they said, you know, a lot of folks do not want to say they will not vote for President Obama but they are disappointed in his lack of policies to improve the schools,” Romney said in an interview on Fox News. “The president has not been able to get the job done and people want to see someone would can get the economy going so I expect to get the African American votes, and at the end of my speech having a standing ovation was generous and hospitable and I believe we disagree on some issues like ‘Obamacare’ on a lot of issues people see eye to eye, they want someone getting the economy going.”

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Mittens really does have “Black leaders” whispering in his ear how they would like to say they support him but if they do they’ll get crucified for selling out the brother in the White House.   There’s a lot of nodding and winking and handshakes by those looking to cut a better deal for themselves if nobody else.  Hustlers gotta hustle, ya dig?

Not that it means anything.  Romney was in Houston speaking to the NAACP, but he was talking to White people in swing states looking for a reason to vote Republican.  Mitt said to them, “Look, I’m not pandering to please the Black folks.  I do believe in something and you can trust me.”

If anyone is wondering why Romney would go somewhere he knew he wasn’t really welcome, the answer is, why shouldn’t he go to the NAACP convention?   To White independents he looks moderate and inclusive.  When the crowd booed for saying he’d repeal Obamacare,  it makes Romney look tough to White conservatives.   It’s a win-win that costs Romney nothing but time.

Two weeks earlier, Romney turned down an invitation to speak at the National Association of Black Journalists convention.  He would have received an equally polite reception, but wouldn’t have received the boos.  Romney wanted the booing.   It didn’t hurt him in the least and his willingness to go before a skeptical audience trades short-term embarrassment for long-term viability with swing voters.   Obama did the same thing when he went before the American Legion in 2008.  He knew the rewards were minimal, but the potential for looking like the president of all Americans made it worthwhile.

Obama, who is skipping the NAACP convention, knows why Romney walked onto his home turf.    It’s not likely Obama follow Romney’s lead and speaks to the National Rifle Association.

Give Romney credit for speaking to the largest assemblage of Blacks he’s ever been around, but take it away for not providing a good reason for showing up.   Mitt may be shallower than a puddle on the sidewalk, but never doubt that he’s not slick.

The Neutering of Michael Steele (to be continued…)

H.N.I.C.

“I’m very introspective about things. I’m a cause-and-effect kind of guy. So if I do something, there’s a reason for it… It may look like a mistake, a gaffe. There is a rationale, there is a logic behind it. I want to see what the landscape looks like. I want to see who yells the loudest. I want to know who says they’re with me but really isn’t.”

~ Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele

Michael Steele loves the sound of his own voice.  Since taking over as chairman of the Republican National Committee, Steele has issued proclamations, postured for the cameras and proudly proclaimed himself as the leader of the Republican Party.

For what that’s worth.

Apparently, not too much.  A recent Gallup poll revealed most Republicans believe the “leader” of the party is Rush Limbaugh.

The question was put to national respondents, “Who do you think is the main person who speaks for the Republican Party today?”

Limbaugh grabbed 13% of the vote, followed by Dick Cheney (10%),  John McCain and Newt Gingrich tied (6%).

Steele came in at a whopping two percent along with fellow bottom feeders House Republican leader John “the Boner” Boehner and Williard “Mitt’ Romney.

That means the self-described leader of the Grand Old Party comes in far behind a corpulent, Oxycontin addicted talk show host,  an ex vice-president who misled the country into war against Iraq, a failed presidential candidate and a guy named after an aquatic salamander.

“Pass those chicken wings over here!”

Steele when given the news probably jumped up, broke into the Electric Slide screaming, “Sarah Palin didn’t even place.  Woo-hoo! Suck on that Sarah!”

If one of Steele’s stated goals is to make the Republican Party the supposed “big tent” that is open and inclusive of all races and creeds, now would be a good time for the erstwhile “leader” of the party to speak up and denounce the recent acts of bad taste and racism directed at President Obama and the First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Instead there’s only been stony silence.   Steele has said nothing about the recent rash of Republicans Behaving Racist against the Obamas.   Steele has spent his time whacking ABC for not accepting RNC ads during a planned news program broadcast on the president’s health care plans.

Douglas MacKinnon, the press secretary for former Senator Bob Dole wrote a column for the NY Daily News asking why the Republican “leaders” won’t stand up and confront the bigots in the party.

Two blatant and mind-numbing acts of racism by Republicans were just reported in the news — and unfortunately and unwisely, GOP “leadership” has chosen to remain silent. Why?

The first involved a former election commission chairman from South Carolina who, upon hearing a gorilla had escaped from the local zoo, posted on his Facebook site, “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless.” The second involved the executive assistant to a Republican state senator in Tennessee who circulated a photo of all 44 presidents, with the picture of President Obama being an all black rectangle with two white eyes.

You would think, that as the complexion of America continues to change and as the GOP has discovered a desperate need to reach out to minorities, that at least some of those who purport to speak for the party might look upon these disreputable acts as a way to sincerely reach out to the black and minority communities. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case.

Even with the appointment of Michael Steele as the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee, the party is far from connecting with black and minority communities. Beyond that, some GOP leaders seem to be looking for every chance to undermine Steele’s efforts to create a more relevant and diverse party.

The recent racist flare ups could have been a turning point.

Regardless of whether they intend to run for the White House or not in 2012, the likes of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Romney and any other “leader” of the GOP, should step in front of a microphone immediately and offer a sincere and deserved apology to Michelle and Barack Obama on behalf of the GOP — and let them and minorities across America know that not only do vile people who make such jokes not speak for the party, but they are not welcome in the party.

Palin asked for an apology from David Letterman for a joke that she said was an attack on women everywhere. He delivered it. Given these recent brazen offenses toward blacks, the GOP could learn from Letterman’s contrition.

Speak up, GOP leaders — and recognize this as a chance to do and say the right thing. If not, your silence will be analyzed and ultimately interpreted. link

Meet the same Boss.  Same as the old Boss.

Meet the same Boss. Same as the old Boss.

If David Letterman can apologize multiple times for bad jokes about The Palins, Michael Steele, who normally never turns down a chance to run off at the  mouth, should apologize to the President and First Lady for Republican racism.

Maybe he would.   If the real bosses of the RNC (Rush, Newt, Cheney) would let him.

As Elton John said, it’s a sad, sad situation and it’s getting more and more absurd.

Michael “Bojangles” Steele gets served by Massa Rush.

This is a first for me.  I’m going to make a retraction.

A month ago, following his election as the chairman of the Republican National Committee, I sarcastically called former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele the “H.N.I.C. of the RNC.”

For those who may not know, “H.N.I.C.” stands for “Head Negro In Charge.”  Some people change “Negro” to another N-word, but I’m not quite that crass.  At least not today.

I shouldn’t have referred to Steele as a Head Negro In Charge and for that I’d like to apologize.

I should have called him The RNC’s House Negro.   Lawn Jockey. Hankerchief Head.  Maybe Michael “Bojangles” Steele.  Something classy like that.

Seems Steele was dumb enough to think because he was elected chairman of the RNC that he actually ran the Republican Party.  What a silly Negro!

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.”

“My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.” link

“Steele thinks he’s in charge? What a silly Negro.”

Steele had appeared on CNN where he told comedian D.L. Hughley and rapper Chuck D, that he, not Limbaugh, was the de facto head of the Republican Party.

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele took umbrage Saturday night when CNN’s D.L. Hughley referred to radio host Rush Limbaugh as “the de facto leader of the Republican party.”

“No he’s not. I’m the de facto leader of the Republican party,”
Steele said. The RNC chief went on to call Limbaugh, who that very day delivered the keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, a mere “entertainer” whose show is “incendiary” and “ugly.”
link

Steele’s lapse into being uppity drew the wrath of Rush.

“You know who needs a little leadership? Michael Steele and those at the RNC,” Limbaugh said, part of an unusual counter-attack against the elected head of the GOP.

“I hope the RNC chairman will realize he’s not a talking head pundit, that he is supposed to be working on the grassroots and rebuilding it and maybe doing something about our open primary system and fixing it so that Democrats don’t nominate our candidates,” Limbaugh said, his voice rising. “It’s time, Mr. Steele, for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of trying to be some talking head media star, which you’re having a tough time pulling off.”

“I’m not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don’t want to be,” he said. “I would be embarrassed to say that I’m in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it’s in. If I were chairman of the Republican Party, given the state that it’s in, I would quit. I might get out the hari-kari knife because I would have presided over a failure that is embarrassing to the Republicans and conservatives who have supported it and invested in it all these years.” link

…Andddddd with the message delivered loud and clear from the Mouth That Roared, Steele couldn’t punk out and start smooching Rush’s ample backside fast enough.

Who be de boss ub de Republicans Party?  Not ME, Massa Rush.

“Who be de boss ub de Republicans Party? Not ME, Massa Rush.”

“I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking,” Steele said. “It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people … want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he’s not.”

“I’m not going to engage these guys and sit back and provide them the popcorn for a fight between me and Rush Limbaugh,” Steele added. “No such thing is going to happen. … I wasn’t trying to slam him or anything.”

Tune in for tomorrow’s episode of Who’s the Boss? starring Rush Limbaugh as the Most High Lord of the Republican Party and Michael “Bojangles” Steele as the chastised man servant.

A HNIC for the RNC.

The Republican Anti-Obama or their own Magic Negro?

The Republican "Anti-Obama" or their own Magic Negro?

Usually, the only people who care who the chairman of the Republican National Committee are the members of the committee themselves and a handful of Washington insiders and political  junkies who have absolutely no life.

In an attempt to change their luck and complexion, Michael Steele, a Black conservative and the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, beat back arch-right winger J. Kenneth Blackwell and a  handful of total nobodies for the chance to pull the GOP out of the losing streak they’ve been stuck in since 2006.

What Steele brings to the table is a legacy of mediocrity. He should fit right in with the current Republican  brain trust.

…Steele’s a questionable choice. He hasn’t displayed a ton of political acumen — he’s won elected office only once, and he didn’t head that ticket. He lost the aforementioned Senate race, and, before that, couldn’t even win a GOP primary for state comptroller; he placed third, in fact. His tenure as head of the Maryland party wasn’t brilliant, either, and he repeatedly had trouble recruiting candidates. (In his defense, it’s not easy to be a Republican in the state.) Along the way, he’s made some serious missteps: He got in trouble in 2006 for making some unguarded remarks disparaging then-President Bush to a group of reporters. His name was supposed to be kept off the comments, but when it quickly became obvious who was responsible, Steele tried to lie his way out of the gaffe. Also in 2006, he attracted unwanted attention when, speaking before a Jewish group, he compared stem cell research to medical tests that the Nazis conducted on prisoners during the Holocaust. The GOP better hope this victory is a sign that he’s learned some hard lessons –he already has a tough fight ahead of him in trying to win over the party’s conservative wing, which doesn’t fully trust him because of his membership in the more moderate Republican Leadership Council.

And while Steele’s personal resume looks impressive from afar, it’s not nearly as pretty up close. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University and then got a law degree from Georgetown University, true. That said, though, he initially flunked out of Hopkins, and while he did pass the bar in Pennsylvania, he failed it in Maryland. His record as a businessman wasn’t stellar, either. A consulting firm he founded never turned a profit, and was a serious drain on his finances. Shortly after he began his run for lieutenant governor, Steele ran into trouble because of a $25,000 loan his sister had given to his campaign for comptroller that he’d never paid back. Then, there were revelations of an additional $35,000 in personal debt, as well as more than $100,000 he’d taken out of two retirement accounts in order to support his family, leaving a balance of less than $600 at the time the news broke. He suffered further embarrassment over his finances when it was revealed that the Republican Party was paying him a consulting fee of $5,000 a month during his campaign for lieutenant governor. link

Congratulations Lt. Governor Steele. Mostly for sparing me the sorry sight of J. Kenneth Blackwell as the HNIC of the RNC. Now Kenny B. can go back to work that better suits his temperament. Something like mucking out the men’s room at McDonald’s after some homeless derelict with explosive diarrhea has used it.

Back to the mens room, Kenny B.

Back to the men's room, Kenny B.

What does Steele need to do to revive the GOP? Maybe find some candidates who have something more to offer than saying “I’m more like Ronald Reagan than you are. ”

Steele will have the difficult task of broadening the party’s base . Republicans do fine attracting White males.  They have that part down cold.  Don’t need to change a thing.

It’s appealing to everybody else where they flat out suck.

The problem is the nation is becoming more racially diverse, not less, and going beyond the Rush Limbaugh crowd is a job that isn’t going to happen simply by trying to jam up President Obama and whine, “More tax cuts, please.”
I wish Steele luck. If he thinks being the new HNIC of the Republicans means some state chairman in Alabama is suddenly going to fall in love with the concept of minority outreach, he’s high. Too many of the old bulls in the GOP believe as their boy Rush Limbaugh that “Blacks are only 12 percent of the population, so who the hell cares?” never noticing that 12 percent of the population coupled with a heaping helping of Latinos, Asians, Whites and others were all it too to put one member of that 12 percent into the Oval Office.

Republicans need a tranformative figure. They need their own version of Barack Obama and if they think Sarah Palin is their man, she’s going to have to polish up her act a lot by 2012 to make any noise beyond the base—and start winning elections again on a national level.

What will Steele have to do to reverse the fortunes of the Republican Party?
Stop being the rent boys of the religious Right, self-important right-wing talking heads and corporate America and think up some strategies that don’t revolve around starting wars, racial intolerance,  making the rich richer, or hoping for another terror attack.

Better yet,  Steele can just ask Rush Limbaugh.  The Republicans are gonna do whatever he tells them to anyway.