A GOP Christmas

It isn't surprising that Rush Limbaugh is amused by the song "Barack the Magic Negro," but did Chip Saltsman really believe he was helping his bid to become RNC chairman by sending the song to RNC members for Christmas? Even Newt Gingrich criticizes the song's offensive, racist lyrics. And does Saltsman honestly think that refusing to apologize, even as current RNC chair Mike Duncan (who hopes to keep his job) professes to be "shocked and appalled" by the song, is a smart strategy?

Saltsman has defended his decision to send the CD, releasing a statement saying that "our party leaders should...refuse to pander to [the media's] desire for scandal."

The story hasn't received much press, but it's actually Saltsman who fed the "desire for scandal" by his insensitive behavior. Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer argues that Saltsman's attitude "only serves to promote divisiveness and distracts us from our common goal of building our party." The promotion of divisiveness built the modern GOP. Saltsman's Christmas present is simply the latest manifestation of that destructive and defeated philosophy.

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    Why hasn't Limbaugh been more (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Radiowalla on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:19:31 AM EST
    of a target for the Dems?  On a daily basis he reaches millions of Americans with three hours of non-stop demonizing of Democrats.
    Just turn him on and it won't take more than 30 seconds for you to hear "these people" or "this is what they do.."

    I would like to see him laughed out of town on a rail, subjected to the same ridicule that he uses so successfully against others.  I would like to see him made so toxic that no elected Republican would be seen in public with him.

    Attempts to hold Limbaugh to account have never made it to the mainstream consciousness.  Where is the outrage?  

    Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. (none / 0) (#11)
    by oldpro on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:10:13 AM EST
    I heard that somewhere...

    I thought you were against (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:19:41 PM EST
    laughing at idiots.

    Moi? nt (none / 0) (#32)
    by Radiowalla on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:17:20 PM EST
    "Did Chip Saltsman really believe he was... (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by vml68 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:24:01 AM EST
     helping his bid to become RNC chairman "

    If comparing gays to pedophiles did not prevent  Warren from being selected to give the Invocation at a historic Presidential inaugaration, OR if groping a cardboard cutout of possible future SOS Clinton did not prevent Favreau from being Obama's speechwriter, why should a racially insensitive song prevent Saltsman from becoming RNC chairman?

    Because, silly.... (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:55:30 AM EST
    racial bigotry is the kind of bigotry that matters.



    Not funny (none / 0) (#12)
    by bluegal on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:34:42 AM EST
    I did not find your comment funny at all.  Since when was holding a cardboard cutout equal to sending out a cd of our President elect titled  "Barack the Magic Negro?"

    A matter of perspective... (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by vml68 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:03:32 PM EST
    Why do you get to decide what is/is not offensive to someoneelse?

    Bluegal from your previous comments it is apparent that you are very quick to take offense if the subject is "racism" but not if it is "sexism".
    You might not find both subjects equally offensive but some of us do.

    If Obama is able to overlook the Favreau incident and Warren's extremely unappealing views, then I am sure in the spirit of bipartisanship he will have have no problem with this song.


    Exactly right (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Amiss on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 04:35:02 PM EST
    If Obama is able to overlook the Favreau incident and Warren's extremely unappealing views, then I am sure in the spirit of bipartisanship he will have have no problem with this song.

    Civil rights are civil rights, whether you are against racism, misogyny or a LGBT hater, if you are for civil rights for one, you SHOULD be for the freedom of ALL, not just one of the aforementioned. You can not be just a racial activist, you must be a civil rights activist or you are just as bigoted as if you were against free civil liberties for ALL minorities.

    Otherwise, I personally find that your taking offense is insincere at best, blue gal.


    As I see it, (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by TChris on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 06:43:50 PM EST
    the difficulty is that some of our commenters feel it is politically incorrect to write about a particular incident of racism without also taking a shot at Barack Obama or one of his associates for whatever act of sexism or ageism or whatever-ism is on the commenter's mind that day.  Hence the tedious thread hijacking.

    Who Is More Oppressed (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 04:41:41 PM EST
    Is easier to talk about than the subject of this thread, evidentially.

    Subject (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 04:44:38 PM EST
    Is not about Favreau, or Warren. Any reason you that you are  diverting the thread to your favorite topics of oppression?

    Very lucky daughters, Donald. (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 04:23:04 PM EST
    Since I decided to hold that opinion (4.40 / 5) (#13)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:37:14 AM EST
    Luckily, I don't need your approval to have my opinion, nor do I care what you think of my comments.

    One obvious difference (none / 0) (#14)
    by TChris on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:55:38 AM EST
    is that Favreau apologized for his inappropriate actions, whereas Saltsman continues to defend his decision to distribute the offensive song.  Another is that Favreau isn't trying to become a party leader.

    Thanks for the link TChris (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by vml68 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:12:58 PM EST
    This is what I read....
    "As for Favreau, he reportedly had to apologize to the incoming Secretary of State--surely a sufficient sentence"
    My interpretation is that he MAY have apologised. I still would have liked a statement from Obama stating that kind of behavior would not be tolerated.

    Learn to use the Google. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by TChris on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:52:17 PM EST
    Favreau apologized.

    We discussed this here ad nauseum weeks ago (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 03:09:56 PM EST
    Favreau reportedly 'offered' to apologize to Clinton, didn't actually apologize, and certainly didn't publicly apologize.

    Warren, of course, is being rewarded for his bigotry so obviously no apologies necessary there.


    Offered To Apoligize??? (none / 0) (#37)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 03:13:33 PM EST
    You are making up stuff or willfully distorting reports about the incident.

    ...transition officials said he had offered an apology to Clinton.

    Quite different than offering to apologize, but you knew that.


    Your link (4.40 / 5) (#16)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:04:12 PM EST
    states that Favreau was "reported to have" apologized, and it is also written from a bizarre right-wing perspective including lovely quotes from that fountain of liberal tolerance, Kathleen Parker. Favreau never publicly apologized for his sexist behavior. Warren has never apologized for his homophobic and misogynistic statements. Instead he is being given a position of honor.

    Personally, I don't care if bigotry is aimed towards presidents or peons, and I don't care if it comes from RNC chairman or speechwriters or invocation-givers or anyone else. It should all be equally denounced, but it isn't. Gender bigotry and gay bigotry are often given a pass. If we didn't learn that lesson from the primary, then we are incapable of learning.


    More of a Pass? (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:25:19 PM EST
    By who? Chip Saltsman was looking to represent all republicans.

    As far as I can tell the group he represents think racism, sexism and gay bashing all score equal points.

    Your analogy is weak at best, imo, but why not divert this thread to talk about Favreau, Warren, or Obama and their bigotry, they are obviously juicier topics for you.


    Thread hijacking (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by TChris on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:45:10 PM EST
    has become customary here whenever a post refers to racism.

    Interesting Fact (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:04:40 PM EST
    Wonder if it is because the majority of commenters here are white.

    My guess is that it is easier to discuss such things as a victim and much tougher to discuss discrimination as a representative of a oppressor group.


    I can't speak for the other (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by vml68 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:47:22 PM EST
    commentors but I am "brown". And while I have not personally experienced any racism, members of my family have.

    Didn't find it offensive.... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:10:19 PM EST
    maybe poor taste, but I'd call it tame compared to half the stand-up comedy out there, most of which I enjoy.

    It would be interesting to get past the offense and discuss the point of the satirical piece...namely the LA Times editorial and the role of "white guilt" and Obama's anti-Sharpton image in his historic victory.

    well this finally answers the question.... (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 06:25:12 PM EST
    The question that has been being asked since the announcement of Warren at the inauguration has been answered in the reaction to the "magic negro" song.

    What are we hearing in reaction to this song?  Any of these?

    Don't worry, it's just a 2 minute song (prayer in Warren's case)

    Hey, it's not like the guy is affecting policy.

    This guy is just trying to reach out and be inclusive of the racists within the GOP.

    No, we didn't hear any of that, did we.

    The question that has been being asked about Warren is where is the reaching out to racists and anti-semites.  Well now we have the answer.  There will be no reaching out to racists and anti-semites.  Instead they are immediately condemend by ALL.  There is no room in the big tent for them.  But, when it comes to anti-gay bigots, many of those who immediately condemn racism (as they should) instead invite the anti-gays into the big tent, offer them a seat.  Say we need to discuss the issue to see where we can compromise away the equality for teh gays.  I mean, it's just gays and we all know they could choose to be straight if they would just try hard enough to "pray away the gay".  And hey, if they can't pray it away, the least they could do is hide it and at least act straight in public

    Unfortunately, the controversy over this song (2.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ChrisO on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:10:30 PM EST
    has obscured the thrust of the original article. I think there's something to the "Magic Negro" thing, but as usual, whites aren't allowed to address the subject. I remember when a "Clinton operative" (likely Sid Blumenthal) said a lot of whites support Obama because he's like their hip black friend. Of course, the knee jerk reaction was that it was a racist comment, but I happen to think there's a lot of truth to it.

    There's no question that Saltsman shouldn't have distributed the song. But I think a lot of people are just reacting to the word "negro" without even knowing how it's being applied.

    And the underlying message of the (incredibly unfunny) parody, that a lot of older black political leaders might resent Obama coming from out of nowhere to assume the mantle of leadership, shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

    Whites are 'allowed' (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by TChris on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:42:06 PM EST
    to discuss anything they like, but they (as well as nonwhites) deserve criticism if they defend the racist song that Saltsman distributed.  As to the "underlying message" that "a lot of older black political leaders might resent Obama coming from out of nowhere to assume the mantle of leadership," I suppose they might, but I've seen no evidence that "older black political leaders" (except for the 2 or 3 who are Republicans) are anything but delighted that a black person won the presidency.  If any are quietly thinking "it should have been me," I fail to see the significance of those thoughts to the Obama presidency or to public policy in general.

    I love it (none / 0) (#1)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:05:24 AM EST
    This type of racial insensitivity is wonderful for democrats.  Sucks for humanity, but good politically.

    You love it, do you? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:36:46 AM EST
    Love to see racial insensitivity because it's good for Democrats?  What is wrong with you?

    I was repulsed by Saltsman's actions and the justification he followed the criticism with, but I think I might just be more offended by a comment that suggests that repulsive behavior and attitudes are okay as long as it helps your side.

    Is that what it's come to in this country?  Not caring if a Republican is a bigot because it helps the Democrats?  Maybe even encouraging it for political advantage?

    This isn't a game we're playing here - we've already seen way too much legitimization of prejudice in the media and the political arena, to the point where people are more vocal and almost proud of their bigotry - that sets the course of equality back, not forward, and that is not a good thing.

    I really, really - REALLY - hate the inability of people to understand that if we determine what is okay and what is not as if it were some kind of flavor of the month, it just ends up making us less committed to righting the wrongs - less able to see the pernicious undermining it does to basic human rights, and I cannot, for the life of me, understand why even a slight political advantage is worth sliding down that slope.


    Yes I like to see these blatant statements (none / 0) (#27)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:41:35 PM EST
    Because the generally hide their insensitivity so well, they get a free pass.

    Couldn't agree more (none / 0) (#2)
    by Repack Rider on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:07:47 AM EST
    The GOP has a First Amendment right to reduce itself to five old white guys sitting in a corner agreeing that the older they get, the better they were.

    Play it again, Rush.

    And, with the selection (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:12:09 AM EST
    of Warren, Obama wants to be make sure he fulfills his campaign promise to "reach out" to those five guys.

    Old powerful white guys (none / 0) (#5)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:18:32 AM EST
    Need love to

    I suppose (none / 0) (#3)
    by SOS on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:11:21 AM EST
    one could counter attack with . .

    "Bush the Magic Honky"

    if one wants to lower themselves down to that level)

    Variations on that theme (none / 0) (#9)
    by oldpro on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:45:46 AM EST
    have been carried out day aftr day for the past 8 years.

    Nothing "magic" about that cracker.... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:02:27 PM EST
    unless emptying the treasury to enrich your boys is considered "magic".

    Tasteless. Stupid. Crass. GOP (none / 0) (#24)
    by wurman on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:58:44 PM EST
    Who could've known such terms would all come together around one failed attempt at a satirical parody.

    I realize that some people (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:14:05 PM EST
    have become so entrenched and mired in their way of thinking that they can't fathom how gross this song is.  Those who cannot practice acknowledging their own frailties and humanity and thereby be able to see it and connect to it in all others will always end up hitting bottom.  The GOP representatives can no longer connect with imperfect, variable, mutating human beings (which in some form or another is all the rest of us).  Oh Well, reap sow, reap sow

    Does anyone know if Limbaugh (none / 0) (#29)
    by DFLer on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:09:15 PM EST
    played this song on his radio show? and when?

    Seems so (none / 0) (#33)
    by lilburro on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:20:58 PM EST
    or at least part of it?

    Conservative Culture

    Media Matters:

    As Media Matters originally noted, on his March 19 show, Limbaugh highlighted an op-ed published that day in the Los Angeles Times by Ehrenstein with the headline, "Obama the 'Magic Negro.' " At one point during the show, Limbaugh sang "Barack, the Magic Negro" to the tune of "Puff, the Magic Dragon."

    During the May 7 program, Limbaugh also stated that his audience thought the parody "was one of the most creative and funniest they'd ever heard."

    This is back in 2007.


    thanks (none / 0) (#35)
    by DFLer on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:56:11 PM EST
    Always looking for direct quotes from his show to complain to the local am station here that carries it...but I can't bring myself to join the ditto heads on line and actually pay to read the transcripts.

    It's odd that it doesn't receive more coverage (none / 0) (#31)
    by lilburro on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:16:05 PM EST
    and it's odd that Saltsman sent it out to all these RNC members.  He's either a complete moron, or he's onto something.

    If the RNC were smart they would make some kind of mass gesture to end this nonsense - which will only continue to discourage new membership.  A handful of party leaders being shocked -shocked! - about this after a year of ugly McCain/Palin rallies, Obama waffles, etc. is hardly enough.

    Please... (none / 0) (#46)
    by diogenes on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 07:24:47 PM EST
    If people were as shocked whenever liberal comics said anything about Catholics, the pope, etc etc etc. then this whole bruhaha might feel more genuine.  
    Is the word "Negro" now one of George Carlin's seven words which cannot be uttered on broadcast media?

    There's nothing racist in the lyric (none / 0) (#47)
    by RonK Seattle on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 08:31:18 PM EST
    ... which was one of 41 filk pieces (not the title tune) in the CD in question (which is one of a dozen such compilations by Shanklin).

    One could conceivably find offense in Shanklin's Sharpton impression - but that's a stretch.

    It's not a very funny piece, and it's not an SNL-quality impression, but it's no meaner to the Rev. Al than one might hear at any holiday gathering of black folk where the subject came up.

    In fact, it's no more cutting than some of Rev. Al's intentional self-parody.

    The term "Magic Negro" is used consistent with its opinion-column usage by (black, gay, liberal) David Ehrenstein, which in turn is consistent with its fairly recent coinage in dramatic criticism as a variant of the "noble savage" device, and especially Spike Lee's energetic popularization of the term and the critical analysis that goes with it.

    Liberals will tend not to find much humor in Shankman's work -- but conservatives won't find much mirth in what passes for humor in li=beral circles either.