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Manufactured Dissent

February 3, 2009

I must say I was enjoying reading about/watching my predictions come to light regarding the infighting among Republicans. They did a good job, as usual, of keeping a good public face and appeared as if they were about to marshal in the herd and have them all chewing the same cud.

Then, President Obama tweaked Rush Limbaugh’s twinkle toes by the mere mention of his name in a “private” meeting between the President and the opposition leadership on the Hill.

Limbaugh, always ready with the bull rush, considered that Obama was speaking specifically about him when he mentioned Limbaugh’s name during that meeting. Of course, the President was using Limbaugh as a symbol of all right wing punditry hoping to fan the flames of an opposition party. Never mind the subtleties, Rush thought. That’s not important. What is important is my ratings! And it was on.

Limbaugh rallied his chat show compadres and they bullied the hapless elected office Republicans into towing his line. When Rep. Phil Gingrey (R – GA) spoke out about Limbaugh’s attacks on GOP leadership, the next day he was out in front of microphones issuing an “explanation.” The only thing to fear is . . . Dittoheads themselves. Or something.

Score one for the Oxycontin Man. He proved, at least, that he is the most powerful man in the conservative movement and the vox populi. It’s too bad for those hoping for a discussion regarding the future of the GOP; whether it would remain mired in the directionless 90’s, or worse yet, the W years, or whether it would move forward towards a more centrist, more diverse, and more appealing – they hope – face for conservatism.

Some hope that Michael Steele would be the man to do that. My friend and Black Republican Will Jenkins certainly hopes so. So does Vandy prof and Black conservative Carol Swain. Even Ta-Neshi Coates waxes optimistic.

Yes, Steele is playing the moderate . . . now. I mean, that’s what he’s being hired for, isn’t it? The lipstick on the pig. He’ll make the party more inclusive, just like Powell and J.C. Watts did. Right.

There was a great scene from “The Wire” when Marlo, the successful entrepreneur, stole a lolli from a bodega. Upon being caught, he wasn’t fazed. “You want it to be one way,” he said to the shop keep. “It ain’t that way.” He held the power and no one could stop him, not even an arrest.

Limbaugh holds the power now, as he’s shown. All Steele can do, it appears, is go along.

In my previous post about Steele, I alluded to the battle between two magic Negros. There isn’t really a “battle,” as Steele can’t compete with Obama in one of any number of categories (Steele probably even has a weak jumper). But this is essentially Steele’s advantage to the GOP; he can be America’s post-racial attack dog on the President’s policies without anyone ever having to bring up the dreaded “R” word (and by R word I don’t mean rehabilitation).

I don’t like it. I’m hardly his biggest fan, Steele, but I hate to see him put in the position of having to carry the baggage of being the one Black man in America whose job it is to criticize Obama on a daily basis (besides Juan Williams, of course). Steele can swallow hard and tell himself on those sleepless nights it’s all about differences of political philosophy. I think it’s more about similarities than he’d like to believe.


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