Monday, December 29, 2008

Saltsman's "We Hate the USA" CD

As one of the many Americans considering a descent on the inauguration ceremonies next month, even without any actual tickets in hand (and nary a perfunctory response to my queries about possibly obtaining some from my local Congressman), I have been following the "transition" fairly closely. And I'm not just talking about the president elect's cabinet picks. I also mean his decisions for the ceremony itself. The brilliant choice of poet Elizabeth Alexander; the more controversial decision to ask Rick Warren to offer up the day's prayer.

Obama is certainly trying to demonstrate his commitment to an inclusive political conversation that allows for many different ideological positions. Frank Rich persuasively challenges the limits and contours of that move vis-a-vis the Warren choice in today's New York Times. But it is clear why Obama feels he has to make such massive gestures in the direction of political inclusion. To his opponents, he represents the unassimilable anti-American. He is the butt of jokes. The threat from within.

Just think about Chip Saltsman's version of holiday gift-giving this year. Saltsman was national campaign adviser for Mike Huckabee during his failed presidential run, and Saltsman is now one of the people vying for head of the RNC. This weekend, we also found out that he sent a CD out to RNC members (as a Christmas gift) that included the song youtubed above, "Barack, The Magic Negro."

But the CD didn't just showcase that gem. According to Rebecca Sinderbrand's CNN report, the CD itself was titled "We Hate the USA," and boasted tunes that poked fun at many other political figures.

According to Sinderbrand and The Hill, the CD included the following song titles: "John Edwards's Poverty Tour," "Wright place, wrong pastor," "Ivory and Ebony" and "The Star Spanglish Banner."

The Star Spanglish Banner?

Saltsman has dismissed the controversy out of hand, describing the CD as a harmelss spoof. "I think most people recognize political satire when they see it," he said. "I think RNC members understand that."

But it is clear that Saltsman comes close to trafficking in the very forms of small-minded xenophobia, race-baiting, partisan hypocrisy, and fear-mongering that helped cost John McCain the 2008 election. To many critics, such a CD looks like political pandering (and scapegoating) at its worst -- and doesn't nearly imply the kind of forward-thinking sensibility needed to take the Republican party where it needs to go. If anything, it appears to be a surefire recipe for many more electoral defeats at the hands of a browning electorate.

However, Saltsman's holiday gesture can also help to explain some of what Obama is up against -- and why a few of his picks (for cabinet and the inaugural dais) can leave many of his supporters unsatisfied.

Saltsman demonstrates the context Obama must negotiate, a politicized landscape where some Republican operatives think that disagreeing with them on substantive policy issues means that you must just "hate the USA."

But Obama can't get caught up in proving himself to these intractable naysayers, even as he tries to embrace those rivals serious about talking honestly (and in good faith) across deep ideological divides.


Eldebug said...

Dear All

For the sixth day Israel continue their massacre against the people of isolated Gaza. about 440 killed and . martyrs and more than 1750 injured with the support of the United states, immobility of Arab and international communities with only a mere verbal condemnations of unjustified violence against the Palestinian people. This was just a verbal accusation of unjustified violence against the Palestinian people.

Arabs, Muslims and Europeans went out into the streets to demonstrate and express their anger against the inhumane treatment suffered by the inhabitants of Gaza who are subjected to hunger, encroachment, and the violation of the all the principles of Human rights. this violence is not only against Hamas as announced by the Israeli media, but it has also affected the mosques, the Islamic University, houses and a school that depends on the United Nations relief for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the Palestinian government buildings in Gaza; the most populated area in the world which increased the total number of civilians victims . Yesterday the Israeli army announced that Gaza has become a military area while relying on a number of additional troops and tanks to prepare for a new ground military invasion to Gaza.

In addition, Israeli armoured forces attacked the boat ''Dignity'' which came from Cyprus and aimed to break the siege of Gaza
We ask you to help Gaza as soon as possible and immediately stop the Israeli massacre against the unarmed Palestinian people and ending the siege on Gaza, and the opening of the Rafah crossing point. The Egyptian authorities refused to open the crossing point in the absence of the Palestinian Authority, and the presence of international observers, and for fear of Israeli air strikes on the border strip in Rafah point while ensuring the transport of wounded Palestinians to the hospital in Egypt because of the shortage of essential medical tools In Gaza.

in the name of humanity And human rights, we ask you to rescue Gaza from the threat of genocide at the hands of the Israeli army

pierce79 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pierce79 said...

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