Michael Steele: Concern Troll

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The blackface minstrel the Republican Party installed as its chairman has had the audacity to call on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resign.  Yesterday on Meet the Press, the preeminent Salon of Sunday talk, Steele was asked if Senator Reid should resign for saying Barack Obama was a viable Presidential candidate because he was “light-skinned” and because he did not speak with a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

I refuse to defend Harry Reid, but even an idealist like me knows the difference between a Majority Leader who advances the agenda of a black president and a Majority Leader who defended segregation.

Steele said, “[F]rom my perspective, whether he steps down today or I retire him in November, either way, he will not be the leader in 2011.” That is mighty curious statement because The Steele Sambo felt differently when Trent Lott found himself in a similar predicament.

The Politico has the scoop:

The Washington Post reported on Dec. 14, 2002: “Lt. Gov.-elect Michael S. Steele said last night that he was personally upset by U.S. Sen. Trent Lott’s praise for Sen. Strom Thurmond and his segregationist past, but said Lott should not be forced to relinquish his leadership position in the Senate. ‘Trent Lott apologized, but he needs to keep apologizing because this is a very sensitive issue to the black community,’ Steele (R) said at an event celebrating his election as Maryland’s first black lieutenant governor. ‘I know Trent Lott personally, and I know that this is not his intent. But it’s still unfortunate. And I think he needs to apologize a little bit more.’”

The New York Times quotes Steele:

What’s interesting here is when Democrats get caught saying racist things, an apology is enough,” Mr. Steele said. “If that had been [Senate Republican Leader] Mitch McConnell saying that about an African-American candidate for president of the United States,” Democrats would be “screaming for his head, very much as they were with [Former Senate Republican Leader] Trent Lott.

What the record proves, what it always proves, is that when Republicans say racist things an apology is usually enough and The Steele Sambo will be there to back them up.

Perhaps y’all remember this little tidbit from last year in Politico:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.”

My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.

Class, let’s review what The Steele Sambo has enormous respect for.

Rush Limbaugh has said:

Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?

Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.

The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.

[To an African American female caller]: Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.

I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

[On Justice Sotomayor] “So here you have a racist. You might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist. And the libs, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don’t have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he’s appointed one.”

At every turn, The Steele Sambo has used his race and status as a Republican leader to defend the most aggressive purveyors of the racism he now claims to be offended by. In the blogosphere we called creeps like The Steele Sambo concern trolls. It is a delicious epithet because they damn sure ain’t the least bit concerned about whatever they comment on. And they are almost always an ugly wingnut troll. To be fair, Michael Steele is not ugly, but the racism he consistently defends as the Chairman of the Republican Party is.

While I am no fan of Barack Obama’s safe establishment politics, I hope The Steele Sambo’s book and his rancid political agenda fails.

Televised Salons

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Sunday morning talk shows are nothing more than televised salons constructed to seduce the viewer into watching and receiving the conventional wisdom that is at its core a pernicious form of corporate propaganda. Once entangled in the web of deceit, the viewer’s mind is paralyzed and sucked dry like a dangerous spider that devours its prey. The viewer, now intellectually anesthetized is no longer a threat to the white power structure that rules this country.

 

Salons, from their inception, were meant to be social devices where the elite could gather in the drawing rooms of their aristocratic peers to discuss the various issues important to their class in a less formal atmosphere more conducive to free flowing dialog.  It is customary for the host to lead off the discussion and insure that everyone has a crack at the question at hand.  Good hosts always assemble a diverse guest list with people of various opinions and stations well represented, along with a few decorous women thrown in to keep it lively for good measure.

 

Nobody was better at assembling the power salon than former Ambassador to France, and Democratic Party doyenne, Pamela Harriman. A British born daughter of aristocratic privilege, Mrs. Harriman made her mark in Washington and Europe as a courtesan of power. 

 

Courtesan, a French term which essentially means socialite whore, is an appellation used frequently by biographers of Mrs. Harriman.  She learned her skills at the feet of her idol, the Duchess of Windsor, the former Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee’ who met and married the King of England, Edward VIII, in a salacious scandal which led to his abdication of the throne in 1936 to wed the woman he loved.

 

The Duchess imparted to her pupil the art of the salon and her unmatched ability to cocoon and control powerful men. Mrs. Harriman used her skills to land a wealthy third husband, former Ambassador to Russia and New York Governor Averell Harriman, with whom she had an elicit affair during World War II.  After the death of their respective spouses, they hooked up in 1971.

 

The marriage led Mrs. Harriman on a grueling quest for power and recognition in Washington power circles.  She resurrected and honed the gimmick of the salon to ensnare official Washington into her drawing room to raise money for Democratic Senators.  She was rewarded for her dutiful service to the white neo-liberal power structure with an ambassadorship to France in the Clinton Administration.

 

Like the late Pamela Harriman, Tim Russert is a courtesan of Washington power. His televised salon, Meet the Press, is a seductive forum of corporate propaganda.  Like a good socialite whore, he knows how to run a salon, cocoon powerful men, and wield their power as his own. He reigns supreme among his fellow television brethren for his singular ability to use his program to confer the imprimatur of power on those fortunate enough to be tapped by his fraudulent benevolence for a coveted cameo appearance.

 

Frequent appearances on Meet the Press are status symbols of cachet, relevance, and prestige among the Washington power elite. They are the hottest tickets in town and analogous to seats at a Washington National Cathedral Presidential Funeral. The appearances signal to anybody observant enough to keep score that the recipient has arrived.

 

In keeping with the ethos of privilege and exclusivity, Tim would have you to believe that his choice of important topics and important newsmakers represents the cream of the crop. Like cream, Tim’s idea of cream is almost all-white. This past Sunday was the last straw. We were treated to an all white parade that is so commonplace among the Washington Sunday Talk Shows. We heard absolutely nothing from those people that was insightful or even remotely newsworthy. 

 

We heard from the same Bush Administration hacks that gave us No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. Neither Secretary Spellings or Secretary Leavitt have the capacity to think their way out of a paper bag much less come up with policy recommendations likely to avert another tragedy like Virginia Tech. They had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SAY.  

 

We shoulda heard from the Surgeon General, or a Mental Health expert or somebody, anybody with some muthafreakin’ expertise. All we got was the same beltway B.S. we always hear. In the past 18 months, Meet the Press has had 19 non-white guests which represent an eclectic mix of diplomats, heads of state, the same two reporters, and a few stray uncle toms like John McWhorter an Michael Steele. When we do hear from a big cheese, it is a Republican with a disappointing perm like Condi. 

 

Apparently, Meet the Press has only three black people on speed dial: Gwen Ifill, Eugene Robinson, and Barack Obama. It was no surprise then that Gwen Ifill handed Tim his ass last week for coddling Don Imus or that this week’s talking head roundtable guests were all Imus alums gathered together in silent protest and all spouting conventional wisdom.

 

My favorite moment this Sunday was the irony of a roundtable of whitefolks celebrating diversity.  Jon Meachum of Newsweek made the following observation of the Virginia Tech victims “One, one of the things I found so striking was the diversity of the victims. As you mentioned, the Holocaust survivor, professor who tried to—tried help and save people, the, the number of international students there in the middle of Virginia. It’s, it’s a snapshot of what the country is. And it’s, it’s a diverse country and it’s a good country.” 

 

To bring this post full circle, the true test of a salon is its diversity and its ability to both inform and enlighten.  On this score, Meet the Press fails as do the rest of Tim Russert’s white brethren. Hey, Tim, how bout a new closing?  How bout, “ If it’s Sunday, It’s Meet the White Press.”