Please read about this week's Sunday talkers on Politico.
Please read about this week's Sunday talkers on Politico.
MSNBC and Reince Priebus had a little skirmish around the time of the Super Bowl. It had to do with a questionably accusatory statement released on a tweet by an employee of the cable news outlet. In that twitter remark, the staffer implied that Republican right wingers might not be happy over a new, interracial commercial for Cheerios, to debut during the big football event.
Via Talking Points Memo:
Last year, the cereal brand Cheerios released a commercial that featured an interracial couple and their biracial daughter. The racist backlash against seeing a black man with a white woman was so severe that Cheerios had to disable comments on its YouTube account. During the Super Bowl this year, the brand double-downed on its efforts to be reflective of a diverse nation and released a second commercial featuring the same family.
So based on history, the staffer made his/her comment. Phil Griffin, the head of MSNBC apologized in print and over the phone with RNC Chair, Priebus. He also fired the employee. I'm not sure why Griffin felt this was necessary as history had spoken on this issue. But being the man he is and feeling it was in everyone's best interest for the network not to appear insensitive by painting all right-wing conservatives with the same brush, Griffin did what he did. Sadly, Priebus wasn't quite so gracious in his handling of the apology. He accepted the actions, but with strings and a stern warning attached, "We'll be watching you."
If only that were true -- maybe the troubled GOP would learn a thing or two.
Well, the Super Bowl comes and goes, and there were some rumblings about the inter-racial family once again, but nothing like the last time. There was more of an outrage over America The Beautiful, just a song, not an anthem as many have claimed, sung in different languages. Somehow, the self-stamped, true-blooded Americans were outraged that the song could be co-opted for singing (respectfully) by anyone other than a card carrying American citizen. I'm sure many of those same folks might take offense at Obama singing this song as his origins are still fodder for many right-wing discussions and accusations.
So, getting back to the racism issue and the TPM article -- there's a bit more to this undercurrent. It seems that there are levels of implied tolerance.
The American public seems more willing to accept (or ignore) seeing a black woman with a white man than a black man with a white woman.
So how's that match up with society as it really is?
According to reports, black men have a higher rate of interracial marriage than black women, which means it’s more common, and yet it also launches more racist backlash.
Backlash? By whom? Who has the right to criticize?
While bigots focus on tearing down the significance of the family in the Cheerios commercials, advertisements featuring white men with nonwhite women are overlooked. Commercials with white men coupled with black women don’t cause nearly as much disagreement as the inverse.
How interesting. So race and sex are intertwined when it comes tolerance. What's okay or "allowable" for one combination is seen as more offensive for others.
Maybe it’s because white men are seen as improving a black woman’s life, saving her from black men who are more interested in dating white women, if various statistics are to be believed.
I have to say, I don't believe this kind of thinking is coming from liberals. If this is the conservative way of thinking, who votes the conservative path? Mostly Republicans. And which branch or wing of the GOP holds racial feelings the strongest? If you ask me, it's the Tea Party.
So this brings me back to the MSNBC apology that the interracial Cheerios ad might have been offensive to right wingers. Well add a sexist angle to this as well. Racism is wrong on every level. But when you add sexism to the conflagration, watch out. Hatred is being fanned, and not by any one group -- though if you look at the statistics, you can see where it's festering the most.
GOP, you want to bring more people to your party, especially women, immigrants and people of color? Maybe start taking some responsibility and speaking out against ignorance. Reince, instead of feigning hurt, look into the accusations leveled at you and address them from within. Obviously when criticized from outside the party, the Republicans drop to the fetal position and sob they're being picked on unjustly. Look around you GOP. Where are your women, your people of color, your immigrants? They're under the Democratic and Independent tents seeking shelter from your rain.
Oh, my. You don't cast shade on the GOP and think you'll get away with it. Not when it's run by a brain trust known as Reince Priebus.
The other day, a tweet of very questionable taste, with some uncalled for racial overtones, was sent out by MSNBC. It related to an upcoming Cheerios ad that featured a bi-racial family. Below is the tweet and a follow-up
“Maybe the rightwing (sic) will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” the tweet read.
The tweet was deleted and an apology was sent out from both MSNBC's Twitter account and MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe, but Priebus wasn't satisfied.
Priebus circulated a memo on Thursday to announce that he was "banning all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC" until he received an apology from Phil Griffin.
Well, Griffin did the right thing. He not only issued apologies as well as making a personal phone call to Priebus but also he took the additional action of firing the person who sent the tweet.
The Priebus response:
"The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable. We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet," Griffin said in a statement according to The Huffington Post.
Seemingly that wasn't enough. The RNC Chairman and head dunce doesn't seemed satisfied with the effort by MSNBC and Phil Griffin.
Priebus gave MSNBC president Phil Griffin credit for apologizing, but the RNC chairman still delivered a stern warning to the channel: we've got our eyes on you.
"So, you know what? It's sort of like being on probation, I guess. But the fact of the matter is we're here, we're watching them and it's our responsibility — and it's mine in particular, I think —also to stand up for our party. That's what I did today, and I'll do it again. I promise you that."
Now with this kind of leadership, does the GOP need some help? Watch this clip and see if The RNC Chairman isn't channeling the iconic Dean Wormer from Animal House. Talk about your wackadoos:
Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.
See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?
After the devastating election losses in late 2012, the GOP spent millions to find out how and where they missed the boat. They analyzed what they were doing wrong and publicly took to the airwaves to announce during 2013 that they were going to start reaching out to those who voted against their party and their platform. In essence, it was a plan to open the tent flaps and invite more people into their circus.
The RNC report from early last year called the Growth and Opportunity Project, urged the party to be more inclusive after the dismal electoral results among women, minorities, immigrants, college educated and the poor during the 2012 presidential election. This study, at a cost of millions of dollars was immediately hailed as a panacea and would be implemented immediately.
Let's see how that went.
The plan, despite being publicly lauded by the mouthpieces for the GOP was, in reality, scoffed at behind closed doors. There was really no intention of welcoming new members into their private club without a privileged pedigree.
During the nearly one year since the "autopsy" of the Republican loss led by party chairman Reince Priebus, there's been some moment. It wasn't forward nor necessarily backward. It could at best be called, treading water. Or maybe hoping for a miracle.
The "autopsy" called for the the Republicans to increase it's outreach to women. Instead, they pushed for restrictions on women's reproductive rights already adjudicated in Roe V. Wade by the US Supreme Court.
The plan called for outreach to immigrants. The GOP killed, by refusing to vote, the Senate immigration plan because it had a path to citizenship and the Republicans feared the new voters would not vote for the Red party because they had been systematically persecuted by the GOP for so many years.
The plan called for a jobs bill to improve the economy. The current 113th Congress voted that down numerous times during the last session. They even forced a government shutdown that cost the tax payers $26 Billion and netted us nothing for the effort.
The Growth and Opportunity Project called for outreach to the LGBT community. Build up the Log Cabin Republicans. Instead the party fought that minority with law suits even after the SCOTUS struck down DOMA, opening the door for same sex marriage.
The proposed road map was to reach out to racial minority voters in rural areas. Instead they GOP-led state legislatures enacted stricter voter registration laws making it harder for minorities to have an equal opportunity to cast a vote. This fear that Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Indians and others might actually get a chance to speak up was muffled in legislative tricks and gerrymandering to making it difficult to qualify to have your voice heard or counted. Ask former Speaker of the House, republican Jim Wright or current state senator Wendy Davis in Texas how those new, restrictive laws are doing.
So it seems they're acting in denial of their own multi-million dollar plan to improve their standing and increase their chances to win the 2014 and 2016 elections. If so, who are they really going after?
The country club crowd. The Republicans have pushed through continued tax loopholes strictly for the rich. They've targeted but one group -- the one they already had -- the top 2%. By fighting health care, by denying minorities their constitutional rights, by tamping down immigration reform, by killing jobs bills and by regulating women's health care issues What's left is not a big target, but the GOP's focusing on it, anyway. It's the old, white guy.
Here's what the GOP Chairman said, according to THE HILL:
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus vowed in 2014 that his group would spend time in communities it has overlooked in the past.
“As a party, Republicans resolve to make 2014 about engaging with more people in communities all across America,” Priebus said in a statement ringing in the New Year. “We’ll spend our time welcoming new people to our party and listening to people in places where we haven’t spent enough time in years past. I look forward to all this year has to offer.”
It's hard but lets take the chairman at his word, because he said the very same thing nearly a year ago when the results of the study were first made public. Everything he and his party did last year was contrary to that.
Some things never change, the leopard and its spots, the zebra and its stripes and the GOP and it's arrogance. So next time you're at your private country club, playing a round of golf with Skip, Chip and Thurston Buffington Conroy III, don't be surprised if they don't hit you up for a contribution to GOP American Vision PAC.
Go tee it up and have a great round. Remember, par for the GOP championship course is 72, the same age (and in some cases, IQ) as the average GOP member.
Follow me on Twitter: @Linzack
When I was in high school I took a class in mechanical drawing. It actually was a pretty cool course as it taught me a lot about measurements, dimensions, perspective and engineering. But one lesson I remember most from that class, showing the builder what is there, not what isn't. And I've found that applicable to all work that I've done, writing, producing, political punditry. You need to focus on what's there, not what's missing.
My first mechanical drawing project was to blueprint a rectangular "frame" that was 8x6. The center hole was 4x4. I rendered the plans indicating the outside dimensions of the top (8) and the side (4) and I also gave the dimensions of the hole, 4 inches square. Easy.
When I turned it in, I was extremely pleased. But when the grade came back, I only got a "D".
I asked the teacher why, and he taught me a valuable lesson that the GOP needs to learn.""You don't give the dimensions of what's not there," the teacher told me. "You show the builder what is." We deal in a results based world.
He corrected my drawing by indicating the widths of the top and side rails, not the hole in the middle.
The same foundational thinking is necessary as the 2014 midterm election approach. For the GOP, it's not what they didn't do that we will vote for/against; its what they did do. (Which is very little, even less that the Harry Truman dubbed, 'Do Nothing' Congress)
Sadly, our current spate of GOP law makers don't have a lot to show for their time in the Majority.
The 213th Congress can focus on 42 attempts to derail the Affordable Care Act. That's a positive action. Not a popular one but it's something they did do. They voted to cut the deficit as well as food stamps, but that only happened by way of the sequester, and sadly both parties are responsible for that. And finally, the majority in the House shut the government down. That certainly isn't going to win them too many votes. You need to look hard and finely to register any other legislative wins.
That fact is this country has more registered Democrats than Republicans. And the big races and certainly the Presidency will require Independents and cross over Democrats for the Republicans to win nationally-- even with gerrymandering. How are you going to make a dent in those numbers running strictly on what's not there? Under Reince Priebus they've become preoccupied with stressing the dimensions of the square donut hole void in the middle, and not the support rails that do exist. They're running on what's not there, not what is.
By 2014, Obamacare will be up and working. It's a sleeping giant that's already stretching, yawning and wiping away the morning gunk from it's eyes. Perhaps the GOP should think about sewing some suitable clothes for the waking giant rather than wishing it away. It's not going away, so find a way to become it's friend. An ally monster is far better than an angry one.
So the Republicans, if they're smart (no guarantee there), through all their bluster, need to stop giving us the dimensions of the hole -- their lack of legislation. Their failure to govern. They wallow in what they haven't done (the void). They've stifled health care, immigration, education, science, climate control, adequate food assistance, a viable jobs program, fixing the infrastructure and meaningful finance reform. Boasting how you prevented these programs from existing isn't anything more that your continued describing the hole they've dug.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment this past year is their majority led vote to shorten the number of working days from 141 to 127 and then complaining they don't have enough time, now that we're mid-way through November, to pass any legislation. Don't look for voter sympathy on that one.
If you want to do something, quickly bring the Senate immigration bill up for a vote in the House. At least end the year on a high note. Have something positive to stand for, not just the giant hole you've dug for yourself so far.
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