Thursday, July 23, 2009

Steele Says He'll Attract Diversity to GOP With "Fried Chicken and Potato Salad"

From Talking Points Memo:

Last weekend, in a sit-down with bloggers during the Young Republicans convention in Indiana, RNC Chairman Michael Steele revealed his strategy for attracting diverse Republicans.

Cameron Cowan of The Mile Hive, a Denver blog, asked Steele what his plan is for including "diverse populations" into the Republican party.

"My plan is to say, 'Ya'll come!" Steele said, adding, "I got the fried chicken and potato salad!"

Click here to see the video.

Steele, always good for a laugh or two, goes on to describe an open minded, ethnically diverse Republican Party that, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't even exist in the subconscious of its members. I mean, this is the party of the Southern Strategy, the political plan that successfully turned the South red by using coded racist language to capitalize on white resentment of desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement--that strategy, despite Steele's position as party chairman, is still in use today; indeed, from time to time, such code-speak spills over into obvious racism, as with Pat Buchanan's recent racist tirades against Supreme Court nominee Sonya Sotomayor.

To say that Steele has his work cut out for him, as far as reaching out to non-white voters goes, doesn't quite get the gist of the situation. It's more like he's been assigned to chop down every tree in the forest with a herring. That is, he's been given an impossible task. Republicans can't attract non-white voters until they stop this nudge-nudge wink-wink racist bullshit.

So just what the hell does Steele think he's doing? And why does he think that descending into tired and cliched black stereotypes will help? I mean really. All the African-Americans are going to start voting Republican because the party's token black man offered them "fried chicken and potato salad." My buddy Reuben, who sent me the TPM link, is infuriated, and rightfully so. I'm just confused.

Indeed, you can't write fiction as bizarre as this. Spike Lee's film Bamboozled portrays an Ivy League educated African-American television producer who tries to get himself fired by creating a straight-up minstrel show. To his surprise, the show becomes a massive hit. The paradoxical situation, a black man who becomes the perpetrator of a gargantuan act of anti-black racism, slowly drives the producer insane, and, as the plot progresses, the movie gets fucking weird. But Bamboozled's got nothing on the Michael Steele show.

Clearly, this is yet another manifestation of the GOP's slow self-destruction. But I just can't seem to get my arms around it all. Coming from a conservative family, as I do, and having once been a Republican myself, I almost always understand what they're trying to do, even though I usually disagree. But I just don't get this.

I'm really starting to think that the Republicans are going nuts.