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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Steele’

During her honeymoon speech at the Republican National Convention in 2008, Sarah Palin echoed a jab at Barack Obama that had been lurking around in Republican circles for most of that year. Earlier at the convention, Rudy Giuliani famously brought it up through his gigantically-toothy grin and childish giggling. But it was Sarah Palin who would get most of the credit for it.

I’m referring here to the emphasis on President Obama’s service as an urban community organizer. Clearly, this was a Southern Strategy-style racial dog whistle — a way of underscoring the president’s ethnicity, his race and his association with scary inner-city black people.

It’s worth mentioning again the Lee Atwater quote regarding the functional language of the Southern Strategy. Suffice to say, Atwater made it perfectly clear that Republican political tactics included (and still do) exploiting race — winning white votes by demonizing blacks. And the way to play this game in the modern age was to use code language. Dog whistles, because overt racial language would too easily “back fire.”

At the time, Atwater suggested the exploitation of issues like tax cuts or states rights with the implication that the Republican Party supported the preservation of white dominance. (Not surprisingly, tax cuts and states rights dominate the 2010 political discourse.) And the demagoguing of issues like welfare, affirmative action or Medicaid would underscore, to predisposed white voters, the fallacious notion of lazy black freeloaders horking white jobs and white tax dollars and not contributing anything to society other than crime.

And there was Sarah Palin in her prime time debut mocking the president’s early career as a community organizer — the implication being that the president was a product of black culture and not “real Americans.” Combine this with the ongoing emphasis on the president’s “spread the wealth around” remark to Joe the Plummer — the Republicans very obviously playing the “welfare queen” dog whistle here. And we all remember how Sarah Palin went “rogue” and fueled the Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim-terrorist myth (part of early Birther lore) by repeatedly telling her rabid white audiences that the president “palled around with terrorists.”

Sarah Palin is and was a Southern Strategist.

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‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ Champions Silent On Gulf Oil Spill [UPDATED]

The Huffington Post |  Nico Pitney First Posted: 04-29-10 11:39 PM   |   Updated: 04-30-10 10:54 AM

UPDATE: Palin has made her first comments on the spill, scroll down to see.

More than a week has passed since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers, injuring over a dozen more, and causing a massive oil spill that may eclipse the Exxon Valdez.

Yet the two most prominent political champions of offshore drilling — Sarah Palin and Michael Steele — appear not to have uttered a word about the incident.

Not that either one of them has been completely silent. Sarah Palin has published four new messages on her Facebook page since the initial explosion, including a post on Thursday titled “The Straight-talking ‘Hockey Dad’ with a Message for Reform” and another defending Rev. Franklin Graham after he was asked not to attend a Pentagon prayer event.

Likewise, Michael Steele has issued at least six statements over the past week, including one on a new Republican National Committee web video, “Mr. Obama’s Wild Ride.”

And yet, if they do comment, it’s hard to imagine that Palin and Steele would take the same tone that they’ve typically used when discussing offshore drilling.

“Drill, baby, drill! And drill now!” Steele memorably chanted at the Republican National Convention in 2008. “Do you want to put your country first? Then let’s make decisions about our security based on what keeps us safe and not on what’s politically correct,” he told the crowd.

MORE HERE

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Sexual Freedom Group Charges RNC With Hypocrisy

Huff Post- Sam Stein

First Posted: 03-30-10 09:57 AM   |   Updated: 03-30-10 10:36 AM

One of the leading organizations advocating for sexual openness and freedom is charging the Republican National Committee with hypocrisy in the wake of revelations that a RNC staffer spent nearly $2,000 on a night at a bondage-themed nightclub.

Jeffrey Montgomery, a founding member and spokesperson for the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, who has lobbied extensively to promote the idea that sexual freedom is a human right, charged the RNC and its chairman, Michael Steele with duplicity for posturing as moral purists at the same time that they were indulging their esoteric, voyeuristic impulses.

“I think, from our standpoint, the issue isn’t that he was at this club and spent all that money. If one can afford that, it is not such a big deal. It sounds like a fun club. The problem, of course, is that the RNC is hypocritical,” Montgomery said. “I really doubt we would be talking about this issue if he got reimbursed for a weekend poker tournament or a Final Four basketball game… but because he happened to go to a sex club or whatever the definition is, once again the RNC finds itself in this hypocritical position of having one of their own leaders involved in a thing they would otherwise be worked up about. That’s the problem here.”

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NRCC Pushes Back Against Steele Over 2010 Pessimism, GOP Operatives Furious

First Posted: 01- 5-10 10:26 AM   |   Updated: 01- 5-10 10:42 AM

Republican operatives are privately furious with RNC Chairman Michael Steele for predicting on Monday night that the GOP will not take over the House of Representatives in 2010.

One strategist called the comment “stupid,” arguing that it will put the party in a bind when it comes to candidate recruitment and generally lower expectations and excitement over the 2010 elections. Others, who refused to go on the record, lamented the inevitable follow-up questions that would be asked to Republicans, such as: do you agree with the sentiments of the RNC Chairman?

And, sure enough, on Tuesday, the National Congressional Campaign Committee released a statement in which it basically slapped down Steele for his electoral prognostication.

“The NRCC’s goal — as the campaign arm of the House Republican Conference — has always been to recapture the majority in 2010,” said Ken Spain, press secretary for the committee. “Independent political analysts and even liberal columnists have stated that Republicans have a very real shot at taking back the majority in 2010. Make no mistake about it, we are playing to win.”

It is extremely rare to see two campaign committees on such different pages when it comes to messaging. Steele was able to survive a rocky start to his tenure at the RNC. But the grumbling never fully died down — and his remarks on Sean Hannity’s radio show Monday night have only exacerbated the situation.

“I can’t give a number [of seats the GOP will win] yet, because like I said, we’re just now beginning to look at the races,” Steele said. Asked if Republicans will take back the House, he confessed: “Not this year.”

“I don’t know all the candidates yet,” Steele added. “We still have some vacancies that need to get filled, but then the question we need to ask ourselves is: ‘If we do that, are we ready?'”

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Michael Steele: Gay Marriage Is Bad For Small Businesses

RUSS BYNUM | May 16, 2009 12:47 PM EST | AP

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

“Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for,” Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. “So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.”

As Steele talked about ways the party could position itself, he also poked fun at his previous pledge to give the GOP a “hip-hop makeover.”

MORE HERE

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Steele: Americans don’t trust the GOP because we were ‘getting high’ ‘drinking that Potomac River water.’

Think Progress-  By Amanda Terkel at 12:54 pm

Yesterday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele spoke to his party faithful in LaCrosse, WI. Steele tried to claim that moderates were welcome to his “big table” party, but said that in order to join him for dinner, they had to first silence their own opinions and agree with him and other far-right Republicans:

All you moderates out there, y’all come. I mean, that’s the message,” Steele said at a news conference. “The message of this party is this is a big table for everyone to have a seat. I have a place setting with your name on the front.

Understand that when you come into someone’s house, you’re not looking to change it. You come in because that’s the place you want to be.

Steele also talked about why the GOP had fallen out of favor with the American public. It’s not that the country is “less conservative,” he said. “It’s that our credibility with them is shot. It’s that we left them along the side of the road on our way to drinking that Potomac River water, getting high on power and influence and forgetting how we got where we are.”

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    SNL: Rush Limbaugh Electric Shocks Michael Steele On Update (VIDEO)

    Huffington Post |  Katherine Thomson   |   March 8, 2009 09:01 AM

    “Saturday Night Live” covered the Michael Steele v. Rush Limbaugh story this week by having Steele (Keenan Thompson) stop by Weekend Update to talk with Seth Meyers.

    He turned around to reveal the electric node in his head that delivered a shock every time the GOP leader said something not Rush approved.

    “Rush Limbaugh is just an entertainer. [Bzzt} Ah! A great entertainer! [Bzzt] Ah! A beacon of truth and light in times of uncertainty!”

    Kudos to Thompson for playing electrocuted so well.

    See the opening and The Rock as Obama here

    WATCH VIDEO HERE

    Sadly the Weekend Update skit with surprise appearances by Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel NBC has not [been] put online.

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