That stands for “what would Steve Gilliard do?” Our old friend, the late Steve Gilliard was a one of a kind; mild-mannered and soft-spoken in person, while his on-line version told truth to power, kept it real, and took no prisoners.
Julia provided this moving tribute to Steve on the occasion of the election of our first Black President, something that, to put it bluntly, Steve just deserved to live long enough to see, but sadly, didn’t get to.
The occasion of the selection of Michael Steele as the new Chairman of the Republican National Committee makes me get all nostalgic… for Steve. And not just because Steele beat out Chip “Barack the Magic Negro” Saltsman. No, no, no…
Mr. Steele takes us right back to perhaps Steve’s most famous episode, the “Michael Steele in blackface” episode noted here on Jack and Jill Politics. Then Lt. Gov. of Maryland, Black Republican Michael Steele was running for an open Senate seat in Maryland against Jewish Democrat Ben Cardin; Steve opened rhetorical fire on Steele, accusing Steele of being an “Uncle Tom,” and every possible version of “a sell-out to his race” (of course, in Steve’s inimitable “no prisoners” style, God bless him and God rest his soul.) Steele, perhaps with Steve’s help, eventually lost the race to Cardin; the right-wing blogosphere shed many a crocodile tear of outrage at Steve.
Anyway, Steele’s back… “Uncle Tom” seems so…retro (and unlike Steve, I don’t really have standing to use it). Maybe Steele warrants another term… like “RINO” (Republican In Name Only… which Mr. Steele is not)… a term such as “Black In Name Only” (BINO) or perhaps “Anti-Liberal Black In Name Only” (ALBINO)?
Don’t know. My take on this is that it is simply cynicism by the Republicans: Steele is widely considered “too moderate” by a party whose epicenter is hastily retreating to an ellipse with focal points at Boise and Biloxi, and just not much resonance anywhere else. The Republicans selecting a perceived-as-moderate Black man as their front-man while on the ground they become an ever-more-extremist party (whose power couple might as well be Rush Limbaughand Sarah Palin) is just about as cynical as it gets. We can be quite certain that a party that is betting its electoral future (in an economic crisis widely believed to be of its own making) by being seen to oppose every move and spitting on any olive-branch extended by our thoughtful, gentlemanly, extroardinarily popular and utterly brilliant new Black President… just doesn’t really show us much intention of reaching for a broad appeal among Black voters, or near as I can tell, anyone with a pulse and brain-wave activity.
I’m just not sure what a growth component of the electorate disgruntled male Limbaugh and Hannity listeners are… seems to me, the Republicans already have those locked up (many of them– and Rush and Sean especially– should be locked up… I’ll be here all week, folks…) Latinos are appalled by the nativist racist wing of the party, working people of all ethnicities (hell, everyone not benefitting from tax cuts for the rich) have figured out that “tax cuts now, tax cuts forever” is not a policy capable of sustaining growth, and never has been, let alone jump-starting growth amidst the current deep recession/proto-depression we are now in, and fewer and fewer people are still buying the Republicans’ general attitude to “You’re on your own, Motherfuckers” rugged individualist social policy amidst these times of economic catastrophe uncertainty.
But just as Steve saw the use of Mr. Steele in a Senate race as little more than a dark-skinned prop for rich and overwhelmingly White people whose policies were antithetical to the interests of most Black people (and most human beings, and for that matter, most other living species on the planet) as cynical then… it certainly strikes me as cynical now. Then again, for a President whose term was as disastrous as George W. Bush to have concluded that his biggest mistake was the display of a bannermeans this is a party that hasn’t figured out that the country has figured out that “reality bites”… and all too often, it’s Republicans that have caused that reality.
Well, good luck to you, Chairman Steele. You’re going to need it. And watch your back, man… especially around members of your own party.