On November 4, the Republican party endured its second consecutive electoral drubbing, and much of the pain was administered by non-white voters. Surging Latino support helped Barack Obama win three states in the Interior West, and flipped five House and two Senate seats. Black voters supported Obama by an incredible margin of almost 19 to one, and were a crucial component of victory in at least five states.
In light of the GOP's problems with nonwhite voters, then, its approach to choosing the next Republican National Committee chairperson seems a little odd. The contest now includes a couple of black guys who lost statewide races by large margins and a couple of white guys who have problems with black guys.
On one side of the ledger are Michael Steele, who lost the Maryland senate race by 10 points in 2006, and Ken Blackwell, who lost the Ohio governor's race by 23 the same year. Presumably choosing Steele or Blackwell as RNC chairman would send a message of inclusivity to African-American voters, though we see how well that worked out for Mel Martinez and Latino voters a few years ago.
On the other side of the ledger are South Carolina's Katon Dawson, who seems to have quit his all-white country club only when he began seriously contemplating the chairmanship, and former Tennessee state chair Chip Saltsman.
As part of his audition for the job, Saltsman, former campaign manager for Mike Huckabee's presidential bid, decided to show committee members that he's just as funny as his old boss. For Christmas, he mailed them a CD of right-wing musical comedy. Called "We Hate the USA," it includes such tracks as "John Edwards' Poverty Tour," "The Star Spanglish Banner," "Wright Place, Wrong Pastor" and "Ivory and Ebony." The hit single on the album, however, has to be "Barack the Magic Negro," set to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon" and first popularized by Rush Limbaugh in 2007.
After the existence of the CD was reported by The Hill on Friday, Saltsman told CNN it was all in good fun. "I think most people recognize political satire when they see it." Saltsman said. "I think RNC members understand that."