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Still loving that old Gore Vidal quote:

There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.

Holla that.

Implausibly, Michael Steele was supposed to be like a pied piper to black people, leading them to the Republican Party by… being black himself, I suppose. I guess he was hoping on a kind of “What’s the Matter with Kansas” effect.

Apparently, blacks and other voters of color have failed to materialize for the Repubs. In 2008, before Michael Steele was elected to lead the RNC, 28% of “non-white voters” viewed the Republican Party favorably. Now that number is 23%. Good work, Michael.

So here’s the quote of the day, à la Perry Bacon Jr. and Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post:

Beyond a handful of speeches by Steele before minority audiences, there is little evidence the GOP has launched an “off the hook” public relations offensive that would take the party to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings,” as Steele promised in an interview with the Washington Times shortly after taking the RNC reins.

Pa-DOW!

Another tidbit of interest from the same article:

It remains likely that, after this year’s elections, the number of black Republican members of Congress will remain the same as it has been since Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) retired from the House in 2003: zero.

I’m not trying to make the point that voting Democrat rather than Republican is the way to advance racial equality. The parties are very similar in most crucial matters, such as being in the pocket of big business, bowing to Christian theocrats, promoting war, perpetuating social inequalities, believing in American exceptionalism, and worshiping the Invisible Hand. No non-affluent person could truly act in their own interest by voting for either major party.

However, it is clear that Republicans are more open in their disregard for people of color, and are willing to publicly promote policies that disproportionately harm communities of color. Democrats are similarly uncaring towards POC, but they have the decency to understand their actions are despicable and at least try to cover their intentions with respectful language. If that does it for you.

Ah, Michael Steele. Look what happens if I reflect on him for even five minutes. I turn into a seething revolutionary anarchist… or something.

Hasn’t the epithet “Socialist!” run out of steam yet?  I am so bored of hearing it used to describe anyone left of hard right.

I ask my question rhetorically, of course, because we all know that it isn’t going anywhere. If someone would like to submit to me a history of its use in American political discourse, I’d sure appreciate it.

Socialism: Throttling the CountryI believe that we, that is, all of us who are ever tarred with the Socialist! brush, allow it to be an effective weapon against us. It can be used effectively against anything: bank regulation, anti-pollution efforts, public housing, bailouts, universal health care, labor organizing, and now, apparently, being gay. And why? Because as soon as anyone even slightly liberal hears it, and especially if that person identifies as a Democrat, they recoil in horror and emphatically deny the defamatory “accusation”. We try and think of ways to explain beliefs, positions, or policies to avoid accusations of that term. Our reaction to deployment of this term has not gone unnoticed by the opposition. Now that we have invested their weapon with power, they will continue to use it until we take that power away again.

What does the insult “Socialist!” even mean to the person who hurls it? The same people who use it will often simultaneously and without a hint of hesitation add accusations of Communist!, Nazi!, Maoist! and Fascist! to the mix. Apparently many are unaware of the separate meanings of each of them, or the actual definition of socialism. There has been definition creep. Now all these terms seem to mean “any person who advocates government action not approved of by conservatives.”

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I swear to GOD, Democrats and the Obama Admin have NO SPINE. They are preparing to give in to angry, incoherent mobs.

Every human has a right to health, and that includes health care. Private insurers do not operate on this foundation. They only provide health care so long as it makes a profit for the owners. Health is not a commodity. It is a human right. Ability to pay should never determine whether you get a long life or not.

When will we see a politician who is a friend of the poor?

Michael Steele’s election to be chairman of the Republican National Committee is an amazing step in the right direction for the GOP. The man speaks publicly about race, for christssake! But, just as electing Obama president does not mean we live in Postracial Wonderland, Steele’s election does not mean the GOP has solved its racial problems.

Not like you’d get that impression from reading Republican/conservative blogs. Not only are *some* repubs patting themselves on the back and declaring (again) the end of racism, many are crowing about how eager they are for liberals to lob racial attacks at Steele, and, I guess, thereby making all liberals hypocrites, and making the Democratic Party the true bastion of racism.

I suppose that the GOP has spent less time on racial considerations than the Dems. (NOT as though liberals and Dems don’t have plenty of racial problems as well.) Perhaps they are still getting their sea legs on this matter… perhaps nuance will soon enter their discussions on race.

Or perhaps they just think that with Steele and Obama, discussions of race are moot, unnecessary, so over. Like matter and anti-matter colliding. Which is convenient, since the “race issue” seemed to hurt the GOP at the polls moreso than Dems. Of course they want it to be over.

Conservative pundits don’t want anyone to speculate that their sudden willingness to see more blacks in power may have been influenced by Obama’s amazing campaign and decisive victory, and with the changing demographics of America that indicate old-school bigotry is losing ground. Well, those pundits do want liberal pundits to say those things, so that they can turn around and accuse them of racism.

If Obama was an abysmal failure, if Obama lost to McCain, who would have been elected as Chairman of the RNC? We’ll never know. But I still wonder… are Palin and Steele reactions to HRC and BHO, or would Palin and Steele have appeared so prominently on the political landscape without them? Did Clinton and Obama’s popularity and viability shock them awake to a new reality, or were they already grasping that reality, already looking to support more women and POC in their ambitions to advance through the GOP ranks?

I feel like Steele’s leadership is already causing Republicans to address race through their dialogues with one another and personal reflection. If they no longer need a “Southern Strategy” of dog whistles and coded language to pull in votes, if racist whites are a diminishing bloc of little future import, will it be revealed that the racist white bloc was an excuse for subtler racism up top, or an obstacle to anti-racist GOP leaders who simply had to do what was necessary to win?

Here’s some Republican/conservative chatter regarding race:

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