Sunday, December 28, 2008

GOP Minstrelsy?

Washington Post | Former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell defended Saltsman and attacked the media.
"Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-elect Obama being the first African American elected president," Blackwell, who is black, said in a statement.

"I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them," he said. "When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."
Saltsman adopted a similar line yesterday, calling out the media for reporting on his holiday gift.
"Liberal Democrats and their allies in the media didn't utter a word about David Ehrenstein's irresponsible column in the Los Angeles Times last March. But now, of course, they're shocked and appalled by its parody on 'The Rush Limbaugh Show,' " Saltsman said in a statement, referring to the op-ed article that reportedly inspired the song lyrics.

"I firmly believe that we must welcome all Americans into our party and that the road to Republican resurgence begins with unity, not division. But I know that our party leaders should stand up against the media's double standards and refuse to pander to their desire for scandal," Saltsman added.
So right off the top, there are two things warranting direct consideration.
  1. The original Ehrenstein article in the LA Times linked above.
  2. The Shanklin/Limbaugh parody song allegedly based on the Ehrenstein article.
Was the Ehrenstein article irresponsible? Is the song a valid parody of the Ehrenstein article? What was Saltsman's motive for including the song in his gift to party members? Is there a double-standard at work here? Is Saltsman really a fine person as Ken Blackwell contends, simply misunderstood for publicly indulging lighthearted parody? Is Saltsman being singled out by the media in an effort to monetize scandal? Is Saltsman's behavior illustrative of the anti-Black sentiment that has animated a significant percentage of the GOP's base since the Nixon administration's electorally opportunistic employment of the southern strategy?