Archive - Mar 4, 2009
The GOP's New Black Friend
4 March, 2009 - 20:30 — Bryan Lambert
Memo to Michael Steele: YOUR STUPIDITY IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Two months ago, former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele won a hard fought election, narrowly defeating incumbent Alan Keyes to win the coveted role as the Republican Party's Black Best Friend. Shortly thereafter, he was also elected head of the RNC, over a man whose country club wouldn't have let Steele join. It was like the Lego-scale version of the Obama victory. Insignificant, but adorable in its way.
As a liberal, I was happy to see the racist lose narrowly, but as a comedy polemic writer, having a serious cracker asshole heading the RNC during the Obama presidency seemed like a huge missed comedy opportunity. Which is why I would like to publicly thank Michael Steele for stepping up to the comedic plate. From declaring that government has never created a job, to his recent appearance at CPAC*, Michael Steele has earned his own, Steele-centered edition of IDIOTS SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS!
"You be da man! You be da man! - Batshit Bachmann, introducing Steele at CPAC.
This isn't Steele's quote, but it does exemplify everything you need to know about Steele's chairmanship. You see, a couple of weeks ago, Steele promised an "off the hook" public relations effort to bring the Republican message to "urban-suburban hip-hop settings", conservatives have largely abandoned three straight decades of demonizing hip-hop culture, bought the second season of The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air on DVD, and embraced their collective inner Carlton.
And thus, we have Michelle Bachmann actually tying her all-time personal record for awkward, embarrassing moments in public appearance, and doing so in an unintentionally ironic way, because if the chairman of the Republican National Committee isn't The Man, I don't know who is.
"No, he's not. I'm the de facto leader of the Republican Party. Let's put it into context here. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes he is incendiary. Yes, it's ugly." - Michael Steele, appearing on DL Hughley's CNN show.
This is actually a pretty impressive statement, except for the part where it says that Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer whose whole thing is entertainment. We all know his role over the decades has been much, much more than that. Rush exists to give the first glimmer of mainstream respectability to insane fucking ideas. so that other people can talk about those insane fucking ideas, too.
"My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh. I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership. I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking. 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." - Michael Steele, hours after Limbaugh ripped him a new one on Limbaugh's show.
See what I mean? Michael Steele is the gift that keeps on giving. He has two jobs - one, to lower the average albedo of the Republican Party, and two, to say crazy stupid things. And the instant he started making a tiny bit of sense, the King of Crazy Stupid Things rendered him right unto his place. And Steele backpedaled faster than a unicyclist being chased by a velociraptor.**
I almost feel bad for the guy. I mean, how must it feel, to reach this point, win this election, think you've earned the trust and respect of your exclusive country-club peers, and then to have it shown to you exactly where the fuck you really stand? It can't be easy for him. But then I remember that he ran for, and won, the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, and if he really had no idea what he was in for, fuck him. I'm just going to sit back, relax, and enjoy the slow-motion train wreck.
*CPAC is to wingnuts what the San Diego Comicon is to nerds. It's where they can meet up with their kind, let their scalps down without fear of societal reprisal, and the one time each year they might get laid without paying for it.
**No, this comparison does not hold up under close scrutiny. I realize that. It's a concession I am making to allow me to achieve a lifelong dream of getting the words "unicyclist" and "velociraptor" in the same sentence.