Tue, 17 March 2009
While Democrats stirred the pot "like kids egging on a schoolyard fight," premier right-wing radio propagandist Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele, the Black chairman of the Republican Party, duked it out over who was the "real" voice of the GOP. If having to say you're sorry means surrender, Steele lost. Among Steele's defenders: Chip Saltsman, the guy who crafted the campaign parody song "Barack the Magic Negro."
Who's the Man - Steele or Limbaugh?
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"After Limbaugh flexed his muscles, Steele punked out."
Michael Steele is giving the Republican Party heartburn. One reason is that, deep in its bones, the GOP remains The White Man's Party - big business's tool to sucker white racists into voting against their own economic interests. Black folks that pop off at the mouth whenever they feel like it are culturally repugnant to the party of white nationalism. Michael Steele, the former Lt. Governor of Maryland and nominal Republican Party chairman, apparently believes his position entitles him to hold forth on public policy without first having to check in with Rush Limbaugh, the party's reigning reactionary and uber-racist.
The tussle between Steele and Limbaugh revolves around the issue, Who's the man? That is, who is the real head of the GOP: Steele, the career politician and duly chosen chairman, or Limbaugh, the leader of the talk radio lynch mob? After Limbaugh flexed his muscles, Steele punked out, apologizing for calling the prince of rightwing flatulence a mere "entertainer" and for characterizing his broadcast cross-burnings as "incendiary." Steele also used the word "ugly" regarding Limbaugh, in an interview with the Black comedian, D.L. Hughley. Apparently, Steele got too deeply into the "brother-to-brother" ambiance of Hughley's show, and forgot his place.
The Democrats were having great fun tormenting Steele, shouting that Limbaugh is The Man, the Real Man at the GOP, like kids egging on a schoolyard fight. Poor Michael Steele. He's putty in the hands of a signifyin' comedian and a pack of juveniles from the other party. Somehow, it's hard to picture Colin Powell losing his cool like that. But then, Powell allowed George Bush to talk him into lying in front of the entire planet about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. So, who is the biggest punk, Steele or Powell?
"Steele is putty in the hands of a signifyin' comedian and a pack of juveniles from the other party."
No sooner had the hoots died down about Steele getting punked by Limbaugh, than Steele alienated the homophobic wing of the Republican Party - which means, most of it - by seeming to say that gayness is a product of nature, not personal choice. Steele said being gay was like being Black - you can't change it. And he confided to the men's magazine GQ that he planned to redecorate his office, because [quote] "it's way too male for me."
Now, in reasonably decent, intelligent company, there's nothing at all wrong with these remarks. Steele is showing a sense of humor, a capacity for self-deprecation, and relatively mainstream political outlook. But those traits don't play well among his people, that is, the Republican base.
Michael Steele does have defenders in his party. Chip Saltsman, who competed with Steele for the top GOP job, says he thinks Steele will do just fine if he puts together a good team. Saltsman's opinion carries weight in the GOP. He's the one who crafted the song, "Barack the Magic Negro."
Michael Steele's greatest sin was when he blurted out the heresy that women should have the right to abortion, if they choose. Which makes me think that maybe Steele is actually trying to get kicked out of the Republican Party - in which case, I like his style. Becoming the first Black Republican Party chairman just so he could make the party look bad when they kick him out. If that's true, then Michael Steele is The Man.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.