The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

29 December 2008

Obamist Media Smears GOP Over Old Limbaugh Parody


Foes Use Limbaugh Absence To Launch Smear Campaign


Following a longstanding tradition, the mainstream media has once again used Rush Limbaugh's temporary absence from the airwaves to smear conservatives. It's the oldest trick in their book: take cheap shots when El Rushbo isn't there to fight back.

If you think the timing of this is coincidental, you don't know our Old Media friends.

But the latest "controversy", used to attack the Republican Party, is entirely manufactured. Here, the distribution of a Limbaugh parody song recorded by Paul Shanklin in 2007 has landed a little-known, dark-horse GOP chairmanship candidate in "hot water", at least as the left would have us believe.

But we've been down this road before: when the spoof was created in May of last year, even Obama himself brushed it off. Suddenly, however, now that it can provide political ammo, it has been resurrected.

Before last week, Chip Saltsman was unknown even to many conservative activists, but since then, his name has been plastered all over the left side of the Internet (and even Fox News!) as the former Tennessee party chairman and Mike Huckabee presidential campaign manager is held up as an example of the "racist" right:

The chairman of the Republican National Committee said Saturday he was "shocked and appalled" that one of his potential successors had sent committee members a CD this Christmas featuring a 2007 parody song called "Barack the Magic Negro."

In spite of RNC Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan's sharply negative reaction, former Tennessee GOP leader Chip Saltsman said that party leaders should stand up to criticism over distributing a CD with the song. He earlier defended the tune as one of several "lighthearted political parodies" that have aired on Rush Limbaugh's radio show.

Saltsman, who managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign, is seeking the RNC chairmanship. During the presidential campaign, GOP officials denounced efforts by those in the party who criticized or mocked Democratic nominee Barack Obama along racial lines. Obama was vying to be the nation's first black president.

A spokesman for Obama, now the president-elect, declined to comment on the matter.

The ditty by conservative comedian Paul Shanklin refers to a March 2007 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times by David Ehrenstein headlined "Obama the 'Magic Negro.'" In the article, Ehrenstein argued that voting for Obama helped white voters alleviate guilt over racial wrongs in the past.

Shanklin's parody is sung to the music of "Puff, the Magic Dragon." Among other Shanklin tunes on the 41-track CD that Saltsman sent with a Christmas message: "I Can Talk Like a Coal Miner's Daughter," "Love Client #9" and "Down on the Farm with Al Gore."

But as is made clear in the above story from Fox News, the Republican Party is more interested in launching into an apology tour rather than explain why the parody was created for Limbaugh's show in 2007. Their reaction underscores the toothless nature of today's GOP.

Here, Michelle Malkin calls the party's official reaction "gag-worthy".

Now, even parody creator Shanklin has felt compelled to weigh in on the flap, according to UPI:

"They are trying to paint Chip as some kind of racist -- which he's not," Shanklin told the newspaper. "Whether he should have sent it out, I'll let history decide. Is it provocative? Well, most political satire is. What I do for a living is major league provocative."

Saltsman has drawn fire from some GOP leaders for including the song in materials sent out to promote his bid for the party's chairmanship.

The Commercial Appeal said that in the 2007 song, Shanklin poses as the Rev. Al Sharpton. One refrain of the song, sung to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon," goes: "Barack the Magic Negro made guilty whites feel good/They'll vote for him and not for me/Cause he's not from the 'hood."

More disturbingly, even some
conservatives seemingly unfamiliar with the parody's context have fallen prey to the smear campaign. At National Review Online's Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty sides with critics:

The counterargument rolled out by Saltsman — it’s a satire — seems insufficient to the moment.

If you want to win over African-American voters to your party, perhaps the first step is to figure out why the title “Barack the Magic Negro” would offend them. Few would be offended by a song called “Barack the Magic Chicagoan” or “Barack the Magic Politician”; the use of the term “negro” specifically identifies him by his skin color, which makes it appear that his skin color is what’s being held up for ridicule, not the perception that he’s magical. It's easy to see a song that appears to be mocking someone for his skin color as inconsistent with judging people by the content of their character.

If you’re going to send a gift to all RNC members, that gift is going to say a lot about you. I had said about Katon Dawson that the measure of a man is more than his country club membership; the measure of Chip Saltsman is a lot more than a song on a CD he sent as a Christmas gift. But this is an entirely unforced error, giving those who wish to portray the GOP as racially insensitive a cheap and easy example to add to their arsenal.

But in a sharply-worded statement, the National Black Republican Association points to the mainstream media's selective sense of outrage over such matters:

Where was all this outrage over racism when the Democrats used despicable racial stereotypes (just as Democrats did during the days of slavery and Jim Crow) to slur black professionals, such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele?

Brazenly, on the left-wing Internet website called "The News Blog," Democrats posted a doctored photograph of Steele, depicting him as a "Simple Sambo."

Cartoonist Jeff Danziger depicted Rice as an ignorant, barefoot "mammy," reminiscent of the stereotyped black woman in the movie Gone with the Wind who remarked: "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies." Black comedian Harry Belafonte and Rev. Al Sharpton publicly denounced Powell as a "House Negro." NAACP Chairman Julian Bond equated the Republican Party with the Nazi Party and called Rice and Powell "tokens."

The liberal media showed not a hint of concern about racial insensitivity when Obama campaigned for white Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin and against Michael Steele during the 2006 Maryland senate race, not long after Obama issued a letter of support for the re-election of white Democrat and former Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd.

Not one word of angst was uttered by the liberal press when a black Democrat pundit on national television called black Democrat Juan Williams a "Happy Negro." What offense did Williams commit that resulted in such a vicious racial slur? He had the temerity to defy the Democratic Party's "thought police" and wrote a book called "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-end Movements and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America." His book exposes how the failed socialist polices of the Democrats who have been running black communities for the past 40 years have turned those communities into economic and social wastelands.

What the Obamist media isn't mentioning is that two of the leading candidates for the GOP chairmanship are African-American and one of them, Ken Blackwell, is defending his rival:

"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," said Blackwell, who would be the first black RNC chairman, in a statement forwarded to Politico by an aide. "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. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."

Remember: timing is everything, especially in politics. This manufactured controversy has intentionally been pumped up during a time when Rush Limbaugh is away from the microphone. That's because it's much easier to smear the right when talk's titan is not there to fight back.

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  • None of the news reports I heard on this story ever mentioned Rush by name. Of course they don't want to give credit where the parody came from. I guess they are worried that listeners might actually go listen to Rush to hear what he has to say about the song parody or the situation that caused it.

    What a bunch of @#$^$^#$&. Phoney controversy.

    By Blogger aj, at 30 December, 2008 00:46  

  • "It's the oldest trick in their book: take cheap shots when El Rushbo isn't there to fight back..."

    No, it's not.

    The oldest trick is the one you try to turn, when you actually attempt to convince us once more, that Rush actually fights his own battles.

    By Anonymous hashfanatic, at 30 December, 2008 02:27  

  • It was a parody of a LA Times story where the phrase was coined. It was mocking the the phrase not endorsing it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 December, 2008 14:31  

  • Rush is the only conservative capable of fighting back? that's a sad statement

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 December, 2008 14:57  

  • the real problem with this isn't the one song.... republicans are still playing separatist politics, Obama wants to work with Republicans, and certain repubs are busy with stale "lib jokes" as America's economy enters a recession...

    why would the g.o.p defend this?

    Republicans want a new image. THE ROVE-RUSH-CON ERA cost them the election.
    Maloney does not get it, ditto-heads are the fringe.. the g.o.p wants nothing to do with you anymore

    By Anonymous ditto-dead, at 30 December, 2008 21:35  

  • ditto-dead said...
    > ditto-heads are the fringe

    Are you kidding me? At 20 Million listeners a day?

    By Blogger yitz, at 31 December, 2008 11:03  

  • "....republicans are still playing separatist politics...."

    and your posse isn't???

    PLEASE, jared!!

    you are the very definition of black supremacist theology, being preached in a white progressive context!

    By Anonymous hashfanatic, at 31 December, 2008 11:58  

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