ATG sizes it all up.
As the Republican party serves up minority contenders charged with the difficult task of aiming for Democratic strongholds - particularly the minority youth block - ATG's staff begins a dialogue with our blogosphere colleagues at Hip-Hop Republican.
We're up first.
In 2004, after Howard Dean's internet age ideals drew ridicule, the bubbling consensus crystallized and became gospel and old people would forever backbone voter demographics. It was understood the "Daily Show," twenty-something base was inconsequential. And this is the educated, wealthy niche of twenty-somethings; urban youngsters would be Democratic bacteria on a host strain burdened by skewed, marginalized interests, an inability to really do anything for anyone. Young. People. Don't. Vote.
The silent majority shield paved through the late 20th Century with brief interludes. Gunning past routed stops, leaving two generations in the dust. The Rove-Bush Manifesto is well-documented and transparent, we remember the procedure but it must be restated: round up the scared, scarred middle class, run on security and family values, rinse and repeat for the benefit of party rule.
We're still celebrating the November coup on conventional political wisdom, still scrambling to predict the immediate future.
As an aching titan of an entity retools, correlating truths become self-evident. Indisputable is the fact Barack Obama's camp will serve a full, eight-year stint in power. His party courted, respected and appealed to Generations X and Y. We have ambiguously pigmented skin, posses greater tolerance, there isn't a member among us who doesn't know all the words to at least one seminal party rap song, and we'll only grow more powerful. The other guys don't have an antidote, savior or even an appealing voice.
In every way, card-carrying insiders are paying for failing to carry the one; for leaving out anyone born after 1970 in their formulas for world domination; for assuming they'll tow precedent and become conservative with age.
Republicans are now Twittering. Republicans are grasping for air. Republicans are a marked breed selected for extinction.
Which brings us to newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steele, the poor sap trusted with the job of hawking failed principles and repackaging rejected ideas. Step one, you guessed it, court urban minorities.
This one is an easy target, we almost avoided the topic altogether. I mean dude said "off the hook."
Selling conservatism (as it exists via the GOP) to the hip-hop generation is not going to happen. I've watched Steele's tone and candor, he seems sincere, but he seems like my dad, only ten times lamer: "We need messengers to really capture that region - young, Hispanic, black, a cross section ... We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-surburban hip-hop settings."
I could post the rest of the transcript and go get breakfast, but a few things must be distinguished.
Flatly cheesy is forgivable, earnestly off is almost endearing - match the moment with a black face, talk up Louisiana's dark-skinned governor, Bobby Jindal, as the brave new movement's hero as he premieres before a national audience to talk shop. Maybe throw in a Lincoln reference.
The approach isn't racist in practice, it's logical and overdue but it's also hail Mary bullshit, baseless fluff. At the center of whatever viral radio or internet pyramid scheme Steele is cooking up, is pushing expired product. Rugged individualism to the poverty stricken; states rights to those abandoned by the feds, tumbling in Katrina's spin cycle; private enterprise to folks dependent on social security and Medicare.
Social conservatism through faith is the only available play for attracting blacks and Latinos. Especially rappers who've been ridiculed in hillarious bits for their uncanny parallels with the GOP. The support for corporate monies, distaste for homosexuality, love for the Second Amendment, commitment to traditional family values, promotion of self-empowerment through enterprise, and, as comedian Wyatt Cenac jabs, "the fact that every other word out of their mouth is 'nigger.'"
Problem is, this only works for gay-bashing and other sorted, single issue props. The minority church is an American institution wholly sympathetic to Democrats, anchored by lingering love for the New Deal and the Great Society.
And, of course, this is all to say nothing of the Bush legacy: one of aristocracy, hate, lies, war crimes, deceit, ineptitude, conscious malpractice. A legacy our children will pay for. A leagacy we'll never forget.
They'll attack the norm by painting the standard as patently racist, lumping in citizens of specific tones as one assumed demographic as something Dems exploit. But this is likewise bullshit because there's only two competing, contending choices to choose from and the elephant men are the guys historically thriving on the exploitation of marginalized people. The choice will remain clear until there's a non-values related point to sell us on. Which there isn't, which is why it won't work.
Now for breakfast
- Ramon Ramirez