Monday, December 29, 2008

GOP: Leadership Not So Grand

GOP Leaders Open Mouths and Shoot Feet

By Norm Kent

December 29, 2008

I thought Republicans were intellectually challenged and diversity impaired, but this moron who is running for the head of the RNC takes the cake.

As the story unfolds, astonishingly, Chip Saltsman a candidate to run the Republican National Committee has sent out a Christmas letter seeking support for his candidacy. In an effort to be humorous, he included a recording of a parody of the famous Peter Yarrow song, ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon.’ If you have not heard it, the song is a children’s favorite, a staple of ‘60’s activists, and a loving cute ode to peace and tranquility.

The parody does to this song what a pornographic artist once did to a painting of Disney characters. It is satire, to be sure, and lawfully protected under first amendment doctrines that shield parodies. Legally, it is defensible. But I want to talk about it artistically. Forget that I think it may be in poor taste, it is just outright poor. It is a pathetic parody with lousy lyrics, bad singing, and crappy timing. It is artistically abominable.

In this day and age, it is also a poor political move for a leading Republican to initiate. The current chair of the party admitted as much. Mike Duncan, has issued a statement saying he is "shocked and appalled" that Saltsman could have thought this was appropriate.

"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction.”

The author of the song, Peter Yarrow was also disappointed by the use, stating that he and his co author, Lenny Lipton found the satirical conversion of ‘Puff’ “vulgar and a mean spirited slur,” and those were the nice things he said.

This is a good time to point out we live in a world of hypersensitivity and overreaction. The response to the ‘Puff’ song has been both. But somewhere, somehow, I just wish someone would say: “Hey, this song is not only not funny, this is just plain bad.” Okay, I will be the first. The song stinks. It is not only not funny; the rendition is just plain bad. Make it go away, if not for political insensitivity, at least for artistic sensibility.

First played on the Rush Limbaugh show, the Barack track is part of a lengthier CD created by conservative satirist Paul Shanklin. I know he has done a few songs about liberals. I wonder if he has done any about Rush’s drug habit. That of course might not be satire. That would be truth. In fact, I am still amazed how I have clients in Florida who have gone to jail for years with the kind of oxycontin habit Rush had. Don’t think Shanklin has got to do that satirical piece yet either.

There is another parody Shanklin might want to work on as well. It would be about the 19 year old white supremacist that recently got himself elected to the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee. David Duke may be toast, Strom Thurmond is buried, but you ‘gotta hand it to these progressive Republicans. They march to the tune of a different drummer.

I wonder if Saltzman sent the CD to Marcia Stirman. She's the chairwoman of the Otero County Republican Women in New Mexico who wrote in the Alamogordo Daily News that "I believe Muslims are our enemies," and that "Obama isn't a messiah or a Democrat. He's a Muslim socialist."

Columnist Paul Jenkins said it best in a piece this week: “Let's be thankful for one thing about Bush's presidency: the white male leadership of the Republican Party showed the world once and for all that its cronyism, corruption and discrimination completely outweighed any shred of competence.”

There is no humor in any of this, just the certainty that the party is marginalizing itself even further. I also always thought Log Cabin Republicans had to hate themselves, too, working within a party that was working against them. I thought moderate Republicans were routinely crucified in the GOP. But you would think 2008 sent a message to the Grand Old Party that America is seeking an era of openness, diversity, and wisdom.

You would think they would have heard the messages of John McCain’s noble concession speech, and the graciousness with which George Bush has been greeting and meeting the President Elect. You would think.

Instead, their new leadership is fighting off an onslaught of Aryans, racists, and intellectually impaired. I mean even Newt Gingrich is condemning the party for becoming too extreme.

I love it. When Newt becomes the moderate, what does that tell you about the party?

Happy New Year.

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