Michael Steele Ends Hip Hop Urban-to-Suburban Campaign :(

But I was so looking forward to being pandered to in all the wrong way!

Speaking to the Maryland radio station WBAL, Steele said that “no one individual” was head of the party and described his comments downplaying Limbaugh’s show and influence as inartful. He added that if Republicans wanted to ascend back to the heights of political power, they had to stop trying to be “cool and hip in a Democrat way,” and admit their past mistakes. (Emphasis mine)

(Source: Huffington Post)

What? No more slang? No more hip, cool, rap, dope, chill things to do? And Democrats are hip and cool? Really? I had no idea Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were what’s hot in the streets? Does Howard Dean get “jiggy?” Who’s the illest, Steele? Which Dem is the illest?

Err. None of them. They’re politicians. The President and his own personal, executive “Get Fresh Crew” are cool in more of a nerdy, brainiac, “black Ivy-League elite” Rat Pack way, than Executive Branch: Electric Bugaloo. But, whatever. Because you’re incapable of making anything better, you moved from saying “hip hop till you don’t stop” to equating the Republicans with alcoholics.

“I am putting the party on a 12-step program of recovery,” said the RNC chair. “This is going to take some time, it is going to take some effort. But we are prepared to move forward and to state the case, make the case to the American people that we have something to offer. We are not here to be the party that is just here to say no. We are not the party to be in opposition just for the sake of opposition.”

All this horrid flailing around against the rocky sand of politics as the wave of horrendous media coverage tries to drown him has started to alarm a few people — both for and against him. Like The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates is actually starting to feel sorry for the fellow.

Any black people here starting to actually get embarrassed for the guy? You know like how any time a black guy fails publicly, you feel like it’s your failure too? I read this Politico story, and for the first time felt that old twinge. I’m alright with the brothers laughing at him. I’m alright with other liberals laughing at him. But I don’t actually want the GOP’s first major effort at ending the Southern Strategy to be a comic disaster. I’ve never thought that it was good thing for the country, or for black people, to have all of us on one side. This could get ugly really, really fast. I, as much as anyone, should probably remember that.

The Politico article that he references is a nasty bit work that makes the Steele chairmanship sound like a really bad 1980s Richard Pryor film.

A month after Michael Steele became the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee, key party leaders are worried that the GOP has made a costly mistake — one that will make it even harder for them to take back power from the dominant Democratic Party.

Steadily becoming a dependable punch line, Steele has brushed back Rush Limbaugh, threatened moderate Republican senators, offered the “friggin’ awesome” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal some “slum love,” called civil unions “crazy” and promised more outreach to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings” via an “off the hook” public relations campaign.

He even threw a shout-out to “one-armed midgets.”

That’s in just 30 days on the job — and that’s just the PR part.

On the organizational side, Steele does not have a chief of staff, a political director, a finance director or a communications director. Last week, one of the two men sharing the job of interim finance director was forced to resign.

For now, “the fourth floor,” as the RNC’s executive suite is known, is being run by a pair of consultants.

“There’s frustration that there’s no discipline, no planning,” said a well-known Republican consultant. “He’s risking being overexposed by accepting every interview, which makes gaffes more likely.”

In a lengthy interview, Steele was unapologetic, referring to the high-level GOP critics and skeptics as “nervous Nellies” and saying that he actually has been tempering his public remarks. 

It only gets worse from there.

Now one highly motivated, angry RNC member has thrown down her gantlet and proudly emailed “Steele must go.”

Naturally, it was one of the RNC’s three black members, Dr. Ada Fisher, who, in this case, is very anti-Steele, even though he’s only less than five weeks in on totally blowing the whole thing.

The demand by Dr. Ada Fisher came in the wake of Steele’s recent squabble with talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh over Republican leadership. Fisher termed the flap a “Republican horror show” and predicted that donations to the party from conservatives would dry up as a result, according to The Hill, the Washington newspaper that first reported the contents of her e-mail to fellow committee members.

(Source: The Baltimore Sun)

Steele backers are playing down Fisher’s complaints.

“Ada Fisher’s been sending poisonous e-mails about Michael Steele on a weekly basis,” Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, who heads Steele’s transition team) said. “I think most RNC members know exactly what her opinion is of Michael Steele and probably hit the delete button after the first two paragraphs.”

Sure. But if Fisher is sending around emails of doom, what are the other soothsayers of the RNC mumbling?

“Nobody really understands what those comments mean,” said a veteran party strategist, likening Steele to a teenager who has now “got the keys to the car and is excited.” (Politico via Yahoo)

“I think it’s been a disaster of a first month,” says one Republican who has served on Capitol Hill and the RNC. “He needs to disappear for 60 days, go and staff the building, put his personal energy into making sure he has the people he wants, and go from there. That’s what people are hoping he will do.” (DC Examiner)

“It’s not good,” says another GOP politico. “People feel that it’s been very erratic at a time when we really need some sort of stabilizing force.” (DC Examiner)

“Michael Steele has just dipped his toe into the water and is already in over his head. Steele has been the chairman of the Republican National Committee for only about a month, and already there is speculation that he may be on his way out. Steele’s job is really not that difficult. Being a party chairman is not what it used to be. Steele’s job is to raise money and go on TV every now and then and not screw things up too badly. He has failed at this last task.” (Politico’s Roger Simon)

And finally, a very sane quote from the daughter of a Republican candidate for president who foresaw all this the moment the words “hip hop” spilled from Steele’s lips.

“You know with all due respect to the new chairman, Michael Steele, I do not believe that is actually something that is going to work because it is premeditated. If you’re saying I want people from the hip-hop community — I don’t even know what that means exactly — I guess people that are in the music industry could become more closer and you know try and become Republicans (sic). I just don’t think that is going to work. I think they need to rely on a message that is going to really stick with people of my generation. That message has to be equated in the medium of the internet, which obviously up to this point just hasn’t happened.”

That was Meghan McCain, folks. Back in February.

I don’t think Steele will get bounced any time soon. (You know? Unless the Republicans want to look ever more erratic and unlike their usual lockstep selves.) But I do think that someone will eventually be brought in to wrangle Steele and get some organization going and that Michael may become nothing more than a figurehead … which is still a kind of frightening prospect because that doesn’t stop him from talking.

It’s been a rough week for “Not” Iron Mike. If Dr. Ada Fisher offers you some sort of baked good as a peace offering, don’t eat it, man. Don’t eat it.

7 thoughts on “Michael Steele Ends Hip Hop Urban-to-Suburban Campaign :(

  1. I can’t say I’m not surprised. I was hoping that things would turn out differently, but in the back of mind I still had the niggling suspicion that all he would be was the token Negro. Oh well. There’s still hope, right?

  2. Although I’m supposed to feel empathy for Steele, I don’t (karma will get me for it). The GOP lives by the "Survival of the Fittest" credo, so why should I break down and feel sorry for him when his life is based primarily on helping those more well off? I don’t hate Steele or any of his cronies. It’s hard, though, to manufacture tears over his public failures. Nice piece, Danielle.

  3. What a sad, sad man. After all but shining massa Limbaugh’s shoes, the real Republican leaders now know Steele can’t be used to do what they really wanted– to sucker more blacks and people of color into their foul party. Look for him to be gone by the end of March.

  4. "their usual lockstep selves" took the generous taxpayer funded proceeds from the last 8years and slipped out the side door while we were all a twitterpated with the presidential election cycle.What’s left are the ordinary Republican schmucks that weren’t high level enough to know that they were being had just like the rest of the country.This is why Rush is mouthing off. His handlers aren’t in the GOP leadership anymore. If the choice is between the demise of the party or supporting Steele, you know they will start another party. Wait on it. That’s how they plan to gain power again. The GOP name is mud and WE aren’t Republicans. We’re something new, improved, well-financed, & highly critical of Dems & Repubs (pay no attention to Karl Rove in the back room. He just stopped by for coffee).And Steele’s HipHop makeover theme song : Punk’s Jump Up to Get BEAT DOWN.

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