"Boy, what's the big deal here?"

Even as we've been occupying ourselves arguing about which dastardly scheme the GOP will use to defeat EFCA, the Grand Old Party has been busy implementing what Josh Marshall calls, "the GOP's devious plan to become the party of southern whites over the age of 50." Marshall, I should say, is talking about the controversy that erupted after Chip Saltsman decided to promote his campaign for the chairmanship of the GOP by distributing a humor CD including the song "Barack the Magic Negro."

On the politics of it, one of the really interesting things about this controversy is the way that it exposes the lack of coherence of the Republican Party at this moment in history. Mike Duncan, the current RNC Chairman who Saltsman is hoping to unseat, immediately expressed disapproval saying, "I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us in the right direction." As the days have passed, though, more and more Republicans have come forward to say that they don't really see what the controversy is about. The upshot is that Politico is reporting today that, "the controversy surrounding a comedy CD distributed by Republican National Committee chair candidate Chip Saltsman has not torpedoed his bid and might have inadvertently helped it."

On the substance, a lot of the discussion seems to assume that the whole issue boils down to the use of the word 'negro' in the title of the song. I'm sure that some people are offended by that, and it's surely not in good taste, but when I listen to the song (WMA!) what jumps out and offends me is the spectacle of a well-off white man impersonating an uneducated black man questioning Obama's blackness. Ick.

The last word:
One of the distinguishing characteristics of modern American conservatism is that it believes in a curious concept of “color blindness.” In this view, racism is bad. But absent truly egregious behavior, it’s not something you’d really get all that upset about nor is it something you should be really attuned do. But so-called “political correctness” — meaning something like anti-racism that’s gone too far — is a really serious problem. Any hint of political correctness is worth getting upset about. And the views of actual members of racial minorities as to what is and isn’t racist should be completely discounted. Rather than saying that the prudent and decent white person will steer a mile clear of racist activity — sending out “Barack the Magic Negro” CDs, for example — the best course of action is to deliberately drive straight at the line and then get really upset at anyone who says you’ve crossed it. |Yglesias|

* -- The title quote is from Mark Ellis, chairman of Maine's Republican Party.

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