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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:02 pm 
Okay, you may have wondered why I have not commented. It is because I was away from the internet until Monday and I have been trying to read most all of the thread before jumping in, although I have commented some on my blog.

First, I don’t like the “Barack, the MN” song. Never have. The first time I heard it on Rush and turned off my radio in disgust. I do understand the point Shanklin was trying to make but the song is at best in poor taste.

Second, I honestly do not think Chip thought through the fact that he was sending out this song on the CD. I was on a blogger conference call last Monday (12/22) with Chip and someone asked him if there were any big endorsements in the works. He said that his long time friend Paul Shanklin would be endorsing him and that he was highlighting this by sending a copy of Shanklin’s latest CD to the RNC members as a Christmas gift. If my memory serves me correctly, he said that he had worked with Shanklin back when both of them were just starting out in their careers. I remember thinking “That’s cool,” but no big deal. No one on the call said anything about it and it was sort of mentioned in passing.

Then, on Monday morning, I logged on to the computer and saw how this had blown up. WOW! I could not believe it. My first thought was to kick myself for not thinking about this on Monday when Chip mentioned it. Perhaps I could have said something to stop this whole mess. It is sort of like when you see your friend leave to go on a road trip, then the next day you find out they were in a car wreck.

Here is what I honestly think happened. A campaign for RNC Chairman is MUCH different than for President or any other major office. There is no staff to speak of other than volunteers and associates from previous political campaigns. It is pretty much a shoe string grassroots, almost a “one man show” campaign. I think that Chip simply thought, “Hey cool, my old buddy Paul Shanklin is going to endorse me. I have been trying to think of a good Christmas gift for the RNC members. Let’s see if Shanklin will cut me deal on his CD and let’s give those out.” I really do not believe that the thought “Let’s send out the song ‘Barack the MN’ to all the RNC members” ever crossed his mind. It was simply an oversight.

Sure, you can write this off as bad judgment if you want to. But I think it is more a factor of a very small budget campaign without staff, time, or resources to review this decision. If it had been one of the better funded campaigns, one on the paid political advisors would have picked up on it and caught it before it went out.

Yes, the song is bad. Sure, I wish it had not gone out. But let’s all put ourselves in Chip’s shoes before piling on him. Remember the people reporting this are Chip’s political opponents. They want nothing more than to destroy Chip, Huckabee, and the values we believe in.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:40 pm 
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Good post Jason. Glad you weighed in.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:27 pm 
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Thanks for what you wrote, Jason. It helps to think through how something might have happened, and what you described is very reasonable as to how it took place.

That said, I think the issue is how he responded after it happened. Here is where Gov. Huckabee's maturity is contrasted with Chip Salsman's. I believe Mike would have apologized (based on situations in the past where he inadvertently said or did something hurtful); Chip did not. He pulled the "the left does it, too, and the media doesn't call them out on it" response.

That appeals to a certain group within the GOP - the ones that feel 'we can't get a break, it's all unfair' ( :D I suddenly heard Linus' sister Sally in Peanuts whining, "It's all run by a big eastern syndicate"). And that group may in fact be the decision-makers.

(OK, I feel really stupid asking this, but who decides/votes for this? All this time I just thought whoever won the election decided. Oh yeah, we didn't win the election :) And isn't that a big part of The Point to why this is so disconcerting?)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:51 pm 
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Quote:
(OK, I feel really stupid asking this, but who decides/votes for this? All this time I just thought whoever won the election decided. Oh yeah, we didn't win the election :) And isn't that a big part of The Point to why this is so disconcerting?)

The 168 voting members of the RNC will elect the chairman during the last week of January. The 50 state party chairs and RNC committee members (1 man and 1 woman) make up the bulk of this group.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:13 pm 
marybunton wrote:
Quote:
(OK, I feel really stupid asking this, but who decides/votes for this? All this time I just thought whoever won the election decided. Oh yeah, we didn't win the election :) And isn't that a big part of The Point to why this is so disconcerting?)

The 168 voting members of the RNC will elect the chairman during the last week of January. The 50 state party chairs and RNC committee members (1 man and 1 woman) make up the bulk of this group.


You can find out specifically who votes here - http://www.gop.com/Connect/States.aspx

Click on the state for that state's three RNC members.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:48 pm 
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http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/shanklin_barack_negro/2008/12/30/166438.html?s=al&promo_code=768F-1

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Shanklin Responds to Barack 'Negro' Critics

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:27 PM

By: Chris Gonsalves

Editor’s Note: Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said he was “shocked” that former Tennessee GOP leader Chip Saltsman sent committee members a CD featuring a 2007 parody song called “Barack the Magic Negro.” The ditty was written by comedian Paul Shanklin, who since 1993 has been featured on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show as the “Man of Many Voices,” with songs lampooning public figures.
This story is based on an interview Shanklin gave Newsmax earlier this year.

Paul Shanklin figures, at best, his songs make people laugh, and perhaps think a little. So he was largely unprepared for the firestorm sparked by a parody tweaking critics of Barack Obama.

Shanklin got the idea for his controversial tune “Barack the Magic Negro” in March 2007 after reading a column titled “Obama the Magic Negro” by David Ehrenstein in the Los Angeles Times. In the column, Ehrenstein compared Obama to the stereotypical shallow black movie character that exists only to aid the white protagonist.

“Magical Negro” is an offensive Hollywood term that has been applied to characters played by the likes of Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman and Will Smith, to name but a few. Almost as soon as Ehrenstein’s column ran, Rev. Al Sharpton joined the anti-Obama chorus, saying the Illinois senator hadn’t done enough to champion black causes.

“I started humming it around the house after I read the column,” Shanklin told Newsmax. “But I seriously questioned whether it was appropriate for the show.”

For one thing, Shanklin knew the issue required a lot of explanation up front. “It’s a horrible thing to say about Barack,” Shanklin said. “The guy earned his way. For people on the left to try to attack him and shoot him down early, it was amazing.

“When Sharpton jumped on board, I thought I had to do something with it. I figured if people understood what this is about, it was going to be good.”

The resulting parody quickly rose in popularity on the Limbaugh program, playing repeatedly through March and April. In it, Shanklin imitates Sharpton shouting through a bullhorn to the tune of Pete Yarrow’s classic “Puff the Magic Dragon,” with reworked lyrics such as:

Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.

The L.A. Times, they called him that
‘Cause he’s not authentic like me.
Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper
Said he makes guilty whites feel good
They’ll vote for him, and not for me
‘Cause he’s not from the hood.
But the song’s popularity created a backlash for Shanklin, who said mainstream media reporters saddled him with coining the “Magic Negro” moniker for Obama and branded him a racist.

“The funniest thing I had was a request from the Today show to go on and explain myself,” Shanklin said. “I knew these guys were not my friends. I wasn’t going to go on there and have Matt Lauer asking me, ‘How long have you been a racist?’ They love to make people cry on that show. I didn’t want to be the guy crying in front of Matt Lauer.”

On the advice of a friend, Shanklin declined the Today show invitation and issued a simple statement: “The song speaks for itself. It’s a parody of David Ehrenstein’s column in which he called Obama the ‘Magic Negro.’ Go read it.”

That didn’t stop Today from covering the story, or from referring to Shanklin in most references as “the white comedian.”

“That’s why you’ll hear Rush refer to me as ‘white comedian Paul Shanklin’ on the air now. It’s a leftover from that whole affair,” he told Newsmax.

While he tries to stay lighthearted about the incident, Shanklin says he was hurt by the way the story got twisted. “I’m from Memphis, which is probably the most racially polarized city in the country. I take this issue pretty seriously.

“This was my first experience in being a part of a story and everybody got it wrong. It was kind of scary and kind of enlightening too. It’s frustrating to be on the business end of the media’s slant.

“Rush is the one who gets the slings and arrows for the most part. This time it was my turn.”

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:21 pm 
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Apparently, Bill O'Reilly is about to talk about this parody thing.

http://www.tvpc.com/Channel.php?ChannelID=1520


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:52 pm 
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Grapevine on Fox covered the story briefly again today, but this time emphasized that Chip is gaining some support. No mention of Huck at all. I guess Fox wants to cover its investment in Huck and not disparage him.

In general, the top cable news channels were abuzz with the Blago/Burris drama and the Mid-East. Not very much about the parody song.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:04 am 
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America is a melting pot.

We have Irish Catholics living side by side with Irish Protestants who in their old country used to kill each other.

We have Jews, Christians, and Muslims living side by side but in the Middle East they are blowing each other up (and as I write this).

We have European Americans and African Americans living side by side in a country which banned slavery almost 150 years ago. Yet in Africa black on black slavery is still practiced.

We all have a different heritage. Finding the happy medium where we can laugh at jokes aimed at our own ethnicity, race, gender, religion, etc. is difficult.

If someone calls me a skin headed Nazi because I am of white German descent they have crossed the line. But many of my friends joke about me being a hard headed Dutchman and I laugh along with them. I in return kid my Irish friends about their tempers and luck.

If someone calls me a pediophile because I am a male Catholic who is very religious (would have been a priest but liked the girls too much :wink: ) they have crossed the line. But many of my Protestant friends kid me about things that Catholics in our area are stereotyped with (large families, drinking, wealth, etc) and I laugh along with them. I in return kid them about about coming home someday. You have to have little fun or else you get ulcers.

Race is a little more sensitive. I have had 2 African American friends in my life. I have to admit I avoided any jokes about race and they did likewise. But both were a lot of fun to be around and I am sure if any of us would have cracked a joke about each other's race it would not have ruined the relationship. I no longer have contact with either one so I am not able to pick their brains as to how they feel about the discussion at hand. TVV and tpetersel are who I am falling back on now. And they both seem very upset. (that is an understatement I am sure)

What is meant to be a joke about black on black racism ends up being perceived as an attack on the race itself is what is baffling to me. But until you walk in the shoes of another you don't know.

I guess I am on the fence and confused. Part of me says Chip made a big political mistake and should pay the price. Another part of me says that Chip just meant to have a little fun aimed at his liberal friends of all races and backgrounds and we should all just lighten up. Poiticians aren't always bitter enemies even though they have opposing viewpoints. If I got rid of all my liberal friends I wouldn't have any friends left. :P

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:13 am 
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JasonTcpa wrote:
Sure, you can write this off as bad judgment if you want to. But I think it is more a factor of a very small budget campaign without staff, time, or resources to review this decision. If it had been one of the better funded campaigns, one on the paid political advisors would have picked up on it and caught it before it went out.

Yes, the song is bad. Sure, I wish it had not gone out. But let’s all put ourselves in Chip’s shoes before piling on him. Remember the people reporting this are Chip’s political opponents. They want nothing more than to destroy Chip, Huckabee, and the values we believe in.


I don't think one has to attribute this to malice, or to judgment in the sense of premeditation. In fact, you're probably right. This was likely shoot-from-the-hip, or close to it.

Chip may have taken little time, or resources, to vet this material before distribution. It may never have occurred to him to vet it.

In a way, I think this was for Chip what the macaca moment was for Senator George Allen. It undermines his whole campaign with a careless, or unvetted moment. And, the subsequent damage control doesn't help the situation.

When this RNC race started I disqualified Chip, not because I wasn't impressed with his work for Mike, I was. But, because he was a white southern boy. I have nothing personally against southerners (I support Mike, after all).

But, the GOP is not only suffering right now with an image as an all white party, but also increasingly as a primarily rural and regional party. What's more, Obama cracked the solid South, and the solid cowboy west. So, even the red state strongholds are under seige.

What the RNC needs is someone more cosmopolitan who can think about areas beyond the redstate fortresses. In my mind that means (in no particular order):

1) Michael Steele
2) Ken Blackwell
3) Saul Anuzis

The rest are disqualified on image, because of current GOP needs.

Katon Dawson is a white southern boy with an all white country club perception problem, though admittedly he did play a role in getting two black Republicans elected to offices this past year, and bravo for that.

Mike Duncan, the current RNC chair, is not only a white southerner (Kentucky) but is also an old man compared to the rest of the field, and appealing to younger voters is also a GOP problem. Plus, Duncan (I'm sure a wonderful man) is about as exciting as watching paint dry, so he brings no media saavy to the talk shows. Plus, Duncan represents the past.

The rest of the reported candidates are no longer active in any meaningful sense.

Of the three which have the best potential, i.e. non_southerners, non_rural, and relatively young, Saul Anuzis has the best claim to know how to reach the elusive "Reagan Democrats", the question is can he do it?

Michael Steele is head and shoulders above the whole pack (not just the three I'm highlighting) in terms of media saavy, particularly personal communication skills, including debating.

And, I would say that Ken Blackwell has the most initimate knowledge of the legal apparatus of how elections work, having been Sec. of State for Ohio, and investigated voter fraud, voter intimidation, other voting problems.

And, he has the most experience of actually facing the voters as a candidate for office, having served on city council of Cincinnati, and as mayor of Cincinnati, and a candidate for Congress, the Treasurer of Ohio, the Sec. of State of Ohio, and candidate for Governor. Speaking-wise he is not as dynamic as Steele.

He is solid conservative on all issues, as far as I know.

The momentum seems to be swinging to Blackwell. With this song-parody kerfuffle derailing Chip's campaign, and the controversy surrounding Steele --about whether he is too accomodating to moderates-- stalling him, and the challenge of Barack Obama in the White House poses for the GOP, it looks like it is Blackwell's to lose, as the momentum shifts to his direction.

The question is whether the RNC candidate debate will be decisive, or just a waste of time as the candidates fade away one by one coming up to it.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 4:48 am 
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You know, I think that over time, Americans will become less walking-on-eggshells about issues of race and not more. I think that we're going to end up being less sensitive about issues and not more. I think this because the reason for the sensitivity is that in our not-too-distant past, there have been a lot of ignorant sentiments and actions that have been responsible for people being so sensitive. The sensitivity comes from people wondering if they're being spitefully laughed at - or worse - by people who dislike them. Two people from the same "group" can say similar things and it get taken differently. I'm pretty sure there are things Mike Huckabee could say that other white Republican politicians from the south might not get away with (of course, he would have the good sense to not do something openly inflammatory and would apologize right away if he stepped over a line). Evangelist Joyce Meyer (who is white) could make certain jokes before a largely black audience that nobody would even bat an eye at; other people might not get away with doing the same thing. When people know you mean well and love them, they are less "sensitive." When they think you're against them and trying to continually go after them, they're more "sensitive." When Rush gets into something, the presumption by many is that he means no good and so, even despite the title, the "Barack" song was automatically going to be viewed in an even more harsh light than it would have been in the first place - he's sort of earned a certain reputation. There are probably things that I could say to my white friends that would have a totally different meaning if Al Sharpton said them. But of course, I think I have the good sense to not say something outright stupid or hurtful to an entire group. It's partially about having some goodwill built up.

But the key takeaways for this thing, I'd say would be:
1) If you see someone else get offended by something (i.e., the brief media firestorm that "Barack The Magic Negro" created last spring when Rush started playing it), don't do it yourself.
2) One more great benefit from having friends and associates of different backgrounds. If in doubt, you can ask them if they think it might get taken the wrong way. Things can look different and be perceived differently by different people.
3) If you screw up - we all will in some way or another - apologize right away.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:08 am 
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I know the whole RNC Chairman thing is none of my business. But let's say that I could flip a switch and be an RNC member for a minute and have the tie-breaking vote. Actually, my first choice might be to try to re-enlist Ken Mehlman, who was a very good RNC head in my opinion - I think the party has been hurting without him. But among the candidates you have now, by far, Michael Steele is the best.

Before Mike Huckabee, Mike Steele was the first politician that made me want to go work for him. I volunteered for the Steele for Senate campaign. I spent a lot of time blogging for him, donning bumper stickers and trying very hard to get a yard sign. I connected with him. I actually thought a little bit about joining the Republican Party.

The day before the election two years ago, I stopped by his office in mid-Maryland, asking what I could do to help. There was a crowd of excited, smiling volunteers who were pumped up. In the People's Republic of Maryland, Republicans generally don't smile and are rarely excited (why bother? The Democratic Primary is the election, dude!). But people were pumped. The guy who greeted me at the desk was salivating. "Guess WHAT? The LG (Lieutenant Governor) stopped by here this morning on his campaign bus. I shook hands with him!!!".

You know that a Republican has become a threat to the Democrats when in the final week of a statewide contest in one of the most reliably blue states in the entire country, you see the following people coming out to campaign for the Democratic candidate: A) Bill Clinton and B) Senator Barack Obama. When I saw Bill Clinton rolled out to stump for Cardin and beg people to keep the Republicans out of power, I said to myself "this thing must be close." When I went to my parent's house the day before the election and saw them get an automated call from Bill Clinton begging them to go to the polls for "my friend Ben Cardin ... and take your friends," I said "this thing is really close."

Steele and Governor Ehrlich went places that the GOP doesn't normally go. Like, for example, an organization called the "Hip Hop Action Network." I am a huge critic of modern rap music, but, this organization actually does some interesting things, such as teach young people how to manage their money. Steele and Ehrlich cultivated relationships there and tried to make the case that the Republicans had policies that helped people to keep more of their money. Steele ended up getting endorsed by Russell Simmons, who is a very famous producer.

He strikes me as very honest. I believe he speaks his mind and pretty much calls things the way he sees them, which I also think is something that is true of Newt Gingrich. I don't think he'll tell you what you want to hear. I think he'll tell you what you need to hear - and tell it in a way that won't unnecessarily antagonize people.

If I were a Democrat, I wouldn't want you to pick him.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:37 am 
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TheValuesVoter wrote:
When people know you mean well and love them, they are less "sensitive." When they think you're against them and trying to continually go after them, they're more "sensitive."


As an example of this in another context, let's think about the media. Let's suppose that you were being interviewed as a Republican about the Chip Saltsman CD. You have two interviews with the media - one with Keith Olbermann and the other with Steve Deace. They might ask you the same question:

"Would Mike Huckabee approve of the fact that his former campaign manager sent out a CD with the song 'Barack The Magic Negro' on it?"

When Olbermann asks the question, you just assume that he means no good. You are on the defensive. You might respond in an edgy or defensive manner. But you just know that he is out to get you, based on his long history of being outrageous and unfair to conservatives (and just being outrageous in general).

When Steve Deace asks the question, you assume that he doesn't have it out for you. You assume that he is asking the question with an honest motive. You are not edgy or defensive. You just answer the question.

And in the same way, when someone who has a reputation for not being particularly racially sensitive puts "Barack the Magic Negro" on his radio show, it gets extra heat, even though a song with that title would get heat anyway. But it's even worse now. And when someone who tries to head a party that has a long history now of both ignoring and being insensitive to minorities among many of its members repeats the act, there is an extra element of "sensitivity." You feel like the people who are doing this are as out to get you as Olbermann.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:09 am 
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http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articl ... xpect.html

Quote:
December 31, 2008
GOP Song Boneheaded, Not Racist
By Ruben Navarrette

SAN DIEGO -- Here's a debate that strikes a familiar chord. When do song lyrics that are meant to be entertaining hit a sour note and become offensive?

Many conservatives think rap music crosses the line. In 1990, Republican officials in Broward County, Fla., declared obscene an album by the group, 2 Live Crew, and sheriff's deputies arrested members of the group after a performance. In 1992, the rapper Ice-T released an album featuring the song "Cop Killer," which President George H.W. Bush called a threat to police officers. After law enforcement associations boycotted his record label, Time Warner, Ice-T pulled the song from the album.

During those skirmishes in the culture wars, you would hear liberals defend the creative process, praise the First Amendment, and dismissively tell anyone who was offended by vulgar lyrics to "get over it" and develop thicker skins. Now those on the left have the chance to show us how it's done and walk it like they talk it.

And it's all thanks to "Barack the Magic Negro," a cheeky parody of "Puff, the Magic Dragon" that pokes fun at the jealousy and resentment that older black leaders initially exhibited toward Barack Obama.

Did you catch that? This is not a song that makes fun of Obama -- as some might assume from media reports -- but rather one that makes fun of those who claimed that Obama was not being black enough or appreciative enough of the struggles of those who came before him. Mimicking the voice of the Rev. Al Sharpton, the song -- which first aired on Rush Limbaugh's radio show -- starts off:

"Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C. The L.A. Times, they called him that 'Cause he's not authentic like me. Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper Said he makes guilty whites feel good. They'll vote for him, and not for me 'Cause he's not from the hood."

The "guy from the L.A. paper" is Los Angeles-based writer David Ehrenstein, who penned an op-ed piece that ran in the Los Angeles Times on March 19, 2007. Describing himself as "an African-American whose last name has led to his racial 'credentials' being challenged," Ehrenstein wrote that, besides running for president, Obama was also "running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination -- the 'Magic Negro' ... (who is) there to assuage white 'guilt' (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history." The only hiccup, Ehrenstein wrote, was "criticism (white and black alike) concerning Obama's alleged 'inauthenticity', as compared to such sterling examples of 'genuine' blackness as Al Sharpton and Snoop Dogg."

Why is Obama magic? Because like the dragon in the 1960s folk song, Obama is -- according to Ehrenstein -- not real. Instead, he's "like a comic-book superhero" -- "the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him."

That's radical stuff. It's basically a message to white folks that just because they've accepted Barack Obama doesn't mean they're off the hook for more than 200 years of oppression and discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities.

That's not the kind of thing you'd normally hear from the Republican National Committee, which finds itself embroiled in this controversy after Chip Saltsman, a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party who is running for RNC chairman, sent fellow Republicans a CD that included "Barack the Magic Negro."

It was a boneheaded thing to do, if Saltsman really wants to lead a party that has managed to scare off or tick off just about every color in the rainbow and now finds itself with an ever-shrinking base of white rural voters right about the time that Census figures are telling us that whites are just three decades away from becoming a statistical minority.

But it wasn't racist. The racism is coming from those on the left, and their simpaticos in the media who twisted this story to fit the narrative of a GOP hostile to minorities. That story line lets the Democratic Party look progressive by comparison -- which allows it to rest on its laurels instead of doing its part to improve race relations.

That's how it is in the game of racial politics. Conservatives are often held to higher standards while liberals skate by on what we might call -- to borrow a phrase -- the soft bigotry of low expectations.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:43 am 
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I normally don't assume HA needs to know my whereabouts :-) but since I've chatted a lot on this thread, I thought I'd mention that we're leaving today (yes, in snow and wind - we'll see how far we get!) from our NJ home to visit my brother and his family in Chicago - for a late Christmas, birthdays, and for my Dad to preach at my brother's church.

So - if you think of it, pray for our two car parade today and tomorrow :-) We'll return early next week.

I've learned a great deal from HA, and a lot from this thread. Thank you. I will be pondering it and praying about it!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:39 am 
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I thought I'd mention that we're leaving today (yes, in snow and wind - we'll see how far we get!) from our NJ home to visit my brother and his family in Chicago


Godspeed. :D

And don't buy any Senate seats from anyone who say it the just happened "to fall off the back of the truck." :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:07 pm 
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praying for you, chapellcino. My son and his girlfriend left today for California from Michigan...and their stop today is in Chicago to visit friends. I would also ask for prayers for their safety in travel. Good friends like Hucks Army know we can count on each other for the power of prayer--what other site can you do that on??
Bring it on 2009!!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:44 pm 
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Praying for those traveling.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:49 pm 
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JasonTcpa wrote:
Okay, you may have wondered why I have not commented. It is because I was away from the internet until Monday and I have been trying to read most all of the thread before jumping in, although I have commented some on my blog.

First, I don’t like the “Barack, the MN” song. Never have. The first time I heard it on Rush and turned off my radio in disgust. I do understand the point Shanklin was trying to make but the song is at best in poor taste.

Second, I honestly do not think Chip thought through the fact that he was sending out this song on the CD. I was on a blogger conference call last Monday (12/22) with Chip and someone asked him if there were any big endorsements in the works. He said that his long time friend Paul Shanklin would be endorsing him and that he was highlighting this by sending a copy of Shanklin’s latest CD to the RNC members as a Christmas gift. If my memory serves me correctly, he said that he had worked with Shanklin back when both of them were just starting out in their careers. I remember thinking “That’s cool,” but no big deal. No one on the call said anything about it and it was sort of mentioned in passing.

Then, on Monday morning, I logged on to the computer and saw how this had blown up. WOW! I could not believe it. My first thought was to kick myself for not thinking about this on Monday when Chip mentioned it. Perhaps I could have said something to stop this whole mess. It is sort of like when you see your friend leave to go on a road trip, then the next day you find out they were in a car wreck.

Here is what I honestly think happened. A campaign for RNC Chairman is MUCH different than for President or any other major office. There is no staff to speak of other than volunteers and associates from previous political campaigns. It is pretty much a shoe string grassroots, almost a “one man show” campaign. I think that Chip simply thought, “Hey cool, my old buddy Paul Shanklin is going to endorse me. I have been trying to think of a good Christmas gift for the RNC members. Let’s see if Shanklin will cut me deal on his CD and let’s give those out.” I really do not believe that the thought “Let’s send out the song ‘Barack the MN’ to all the RNC members” ever crossed his mind. It was simply an oversight.

Sure, you can write this off as bad judgment if you want to. But I think it is more a factor of a very small budget campaign without staff, time, or resources to review this decision. If it had been one of the better funded campaigns, one on the paid political advisors would have picked up on it and caught it before it went out.

Yes, the song is bad. Sure, I wish it had not gone out. But let’s all put ourselves in Chip’s shoes before piling on him. Remember the people reporting this are Chip’s political opponents. They want nothing more than to destroy Chip, Huckabee, and the values we believe in.


I am thankful for your post, Jason. Since this story first broke, my sense of panic has dissipated quite a lot. I do not know if this will keep Chip from becoming the RNC chair, but I understand more that the song is not as bad as the title would have us think. It is not about white on black prejudice. And knowing Chip may have had other reasons, like friendship with Shanklin, for choosing this gift helps. Knowing the context of the parody helps me personally, somewhat.

However, if this were my choice, I still would not have wanted this song about Barack to be sent out, because it truly misrepresents Huckabee supporters' feelings about black people. (We may feel it a reflection on us because Chip was Mike Huckabee's campaign manager) And most importantly, the first impression, and probably the lasting one is that we Republicans have not learned to be sensitive to the black racial hurts, and that we then are not going to make the needed changes in the Republican Party.

I think our greatest concerns and alarm when first hearing this story were because we don't want Huckabee's political future to be damaged. Secondly, we do not want to have our respect for Chip's work on Mike's behalf to be destroyed. And thirdly, we do not want the needed changes in the Republican Party to be set back.

Yet, perception is very important. Lots of people don't stick around long enough to hear the explanations or excuses, but judge on initial impressions. Now is the opportunity for us to be more sensitive and work ever harder. Apologize quickly when needed. Then look to mend fences.

Maybe some good can come out of this, if more Republicans can be made aware of the problems we have been talking about in reaching the black community and getting their trust and their vote. Maybe more will buy TVV's book! :wink:

I know here at Huck's Army we have benefitted from several commenters who have a black heritage and can give us the feel of what is hurtful and what is helpful. But for those who do not come here to read, there will be many who have not a clue that the Republican Party has so much groundwork to do in overcoming the perceptions of many that we do not care about ALL groups of Americans. This publicity may actually help if it opens eyes and gets more Republicans upset. Certainly, none of us wants to be racist, and we want to work on any and all past perceptions that people have that we are.

Maybe this all will get the Republican Party's attention enough that they can no longer ignore our problems in reaching minority voters. Maybe the leadership of the Republican Party has been alerted and can no longer close their eyes to the problem of an all-white party. This is a setback, but hopefully not a fatal blow.
I hope it is a launching pad to greater heights and new purposes.

Maybe we'll finally get to work on tearing down the barriers and building up the Party, again, to Lincolnian heights.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:29 pm 
chapelccino wrote:
I normally don't assume HA needs to know my whereabouts :-) but since I've chatted a lot on this thread, I thought I'd mention that we're leaving today (yes, in snow and wind - we'll see how far we get!) from our NJ home to visit my brother and his family in Chicago - for a late Christmas, birthdays, and for my Dad to preach at my brother's church.

So - if you think of it, pray for our two car parade today and tomorrow :-) We'll return early next week.

I've learned a great deal from HA, and a lot from this thread. Thank you. I will be pondering it and praying about it!


Have a good trip. Also, I am a fellow PK (preacher's kids)!


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