I've blogged before about the racial chip that seems to exist on the shoulders of Michael Steele. You know, the one that manifests itself in the repeated use of "in da hood" slang in what I used to think was a half witted attempt to simultaneously keep it real with blacks and reassure whites that his election to RNC chair makes them hip and with it, but what I now believe is a manifestation of Steele's anger at the way the GOP dismisses blacks as an unnecessary political constituency for engagement.
It began on the very day of his election, when asked what message he had for the president and he replied "how do you like me now?" It continued through a disappointing early Esquire magazine interview laced with profanity and reached a new low when he came to Indiana for the Young Republican election and encouraged minorities "ya'll come. I got the fried chicken".
You've heard me on this before: why in God's name is a sixty something year old grown black man with a law degree from Georgetown finding it so hard to use the Queen's English on the regular? I'd like to say Steele has eased off this really annoying bad habit, but alas, I cannot.
Steele and company at the RNC just rolled out the new GOP. com website, complete with video of a miniature talking Michael Steele welcoming you in. Among other things, the new site sports a blog written by Steele himself. What does he title it: WHAT UP. Yes, I kid you not.
This frosts my cookies on two fronts: #1. I can't understand why he feels the need to remind people that he is black in this specific way, i.e., the use of slang and vernacular. It doesn't contribute to him being better understood or to putting people at ease or anything like that in my view. I've concluded that he continues to do this for the psychic benefit of thumbing his blackness in the party's eye, because he is angry (as he should be) at the way the GOP ignores blacks as a political constituency. This is the sort of passive aggressive way that he expresses that, since I guess he is simply not going to press his party to grow in this area. To be fair, he really can't.
Its worth noting (and to his credit) that even a stalwart, solid conservative commentator like Ed Morrisey at Hot Air acknowledges this reality, even if he doesn't acknowledge the scope of the fail. "the GOP has not put out much effort in talking sense to black voters and explaining conservative principles in the context of their lives. They should be focused on effective outreach, not slang-titled blogs that sound more patronizing than welcoming."
#2. It makes my head want to explode because in addition to using annoying slang like this, its like half the slang. If you gonna title the blog this way, then you need to go all the way and call it "Was Up", not "What Up". I mean it sounds like a preppie nerd from an uppercrust private boarding school trying to emulate gangster behavior to say it like that. Just annoying, especially out of the mouth of an over 60, balding black man with a law degree from Georgetown.
After a mountain of justly deserved ridicule, Steele and company have renamed the blog "Change the Game". Thats better
If you have not learned this lesson yet, learn it now. Cut the signifying Steele. Engage your party on the issue thats bugging you and stop this passive aggressive behavior. If you're not going to make the party grapple with it and confront it, then just accept it and move on.