Thursday, February 19, 2009


It's remarkable that the leaders of the Republican hard core can strike fear in the hearts of so many people -- the "liberal media," Blue Dog Democrats, Republican moderates -- when they're so clueless and tone deaf. Case in point: this (as reported by The Washington Times), which is going to be painful to watch:

Steele: GOP needs 'hip-hop' makeover

Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an "off the hook" public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to "urban-suburban hip-hop settings."

... "There was underlying concerns we had become too regionalized and the party needed to reach beyond our comfort" zones, he said, citing defeats in such states as Virginia and North Carolina. "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." ...

Oooh, wow -- "off the hook." Let's add that to the 50-year-old Steele's collection of recent utterances of long-in-the-tooth "urban" slang -- recall his reference to stimulus aid as "bling, bling," as well as his statement, to a reporter from Human Events, that if he met President Obama, he'd boast about his victory in the RNC chairmanship race by saying, "How you like me now?," a phrase that's still reasonably up-to-date but that's probably associated in Steele's mind with Kool Moe Dee circa 1987:

(The phrase has been around the block a few times, so much so that a contributor to Urban Dictionary reports that it's "fast becoming a 'well known' phrase used by impressionable young men throughout England, particularly Leicester." Usage example: "(andre) 'everyone.. I'm finishing early on friday to go down the boozer.... HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW!'")

There's not much difference between this and the embarrassing-dad behavior of Steele's paler near-peer, 45-year-old Eric Cantor, who thought crankin' some tuneage by grizzled old Geritol-swilling Aerosmith in a pro-GOP video would totally rock in the eyes of "the kids" (until Aerosmith's lawyers shut him down).

Michael? Eric? As a fellow middle-aged guy, I cringe just watching you guys. Stop it. Or, since you're Republicans, what the hell -- don't stop.


Bonus Spinal Tappy quote from Steele in the WashTimes article:

Under Mr. Steele's helm, the "old" may seem inappropriate in the Grand Old Party's affectionate nickname. He said he is putting a new public relations team into place to update the party's image.

"It will be avant garde, technically," he said. "It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone -- off the hook.”

Does that mean cutting-edge?

"I don't do 'cutting-edge,'" he said. "That's what Democrats are doing. We're going beyond cutting-edge."

Michael? "Beyond cutting-edge" would mean completely off the surface of the knife. Not much sharpness there.

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