RNC Chairman Michael Steele has been doing a lot more for the GOP than they have been doing for him. He provides cover for the GOP’s racially tinged political strategy by distinction. Steele is an African American in the highest position the GOP has to offer; he is the face of the Republican Party, despite the fact a substantial part of the body [base] is lily white. Steele’s chairmanship allows the GOP to take a preemptive, more adverse stance than would be normal against a wartime president bogged down by an economic crisis, even granting the GOP a pass to flirt with the likes of the Tea Party and Birthers without the stain of being called a party of bigots. How can they? The head of the RNC is black.
In my last post The Conservative Strategy: Obama is a racist there is ample evidence as to the racially tinged scandals and its effect on the electorate. However, prior to those incidents, there were many instances of GOP chairmen [state and county], staff, and fundraising letters that exhibited an undertone of racism that foreshadowed the political strategy the GOP would utilize. Watermelon patches, apes, monkeys, gorillas, KFC, big lips and a pair of eyes as a presidential portrait are some of the published imaginations of GOP leadership that depicted President Obama in a racially demeaning manner. It was no secret as to the racial leanings of the GOP. Take the country back.
Furthermore Steele’s treacherous characterization of Obama, coupled with his assertions that criticism of the president is not fueled by race, allows the GOP to take an adverse stance against the president. By virtue of Steele’s race and position, he paves the way for the GOP to flirt with 1960’s Southern Strategy all over again. Moreover Steele has gone above and beyond by not only affirming racism has not fueled the activism within Tea Party, but has arranged to have a fundraiser with Andrew Breitbart, the man responsible for the misrepresentation and demise of ACORN and Shirley Sherrod. The rule: if Steele says, believes or approves it, it cannot be racist [prejudicial].
The privilege of having a man of Steele as the face of the GOP does not stop with rhetoric or symbolism. Decades, and in some cases centuries, of tradition in the Senate has been disrupted upon the inauguration of President Obama. The shout of “You Lie!” during the State of the Union Address; an unprecedented use of the filibuster; and the unusual political strategy of doom and gloom coupled with “no,” has created a politically unstable environment. All in concert with the overall underlining theme: Obama is too different to trust.
Nothing seems better than the GOP standing up to those “lazy Americans” [unemployed] who expect the government to send them a check every two weeks. Or to stand up against the likes of Fannie, Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that led to the economic crisis – according to far-right “economist.” No racial allusion is left unturned.
Michael Steele’s chairmanship has given the GOP a license to behave badly, similar to blackface minstrel shows beginning in the 1830’s in which white actors painted their faces black to encapsulate and convey the culture of African Americans. According to Wikipedia, “Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrels played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide, and also in popularizing and mainstreaming black culture. In some quarters, the caricatures that were the legacy of blackface persist to the present day and are a cause of ongoing controversy.” The black paint gives permission.
However Michael Steele’s position as head of the RNC does not fully serve the same purpose as the old blackface minstrel actors; rather than portray African Americans in an overly condescending light, he serves to pooh-pooh calls of racism within the party, making the GOP’s behavior more tolerable to the public with few, if any, repercussions. Steele better ask for a raise because he is benefiting the GOP far more than the GOP is benefiting him. And depending on the outcome of the 2010 mid-term elections, Steele’s fate is sealed.
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