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February 19, 2009

STEELE VOWS TO GO 'BEYOND CUTTING-EDGE'.... The more RNC Chairman Michael Steele talks, the better Democrats have to feel about the future.

Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an "off the hook" public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to "urban-suburban hip-hop settings."

The RNC's first black chairman will "surprise everyone" when updating the party's image using the Internet and advertisements on radio, on television and in print, he told The Washington Times.

Steele said the party needs "messengers" who can capture a "region" made up of "young, Hispanic, black, a cross section." He added, "We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-surburban hip-hop settings.... [W]e need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets."

Steele went on to explain his public-relations vision, saying, "It will be avant garde, technically. It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone -- off the hook."

Asked if he imagines a cutting-edge approach, Steele replied, "I don't do 'cutting-edge.' That's what Democrats are doing. We're going beyond cutting-edge."

Raise your hand if you think Michael Steele has the foggiest idea what he's talking about.

Look, Steele seems to believe the Republican Party will do really well with a fresh coat of paint on a rusted, broken-down car that's already been driven into a ditch. For the RNC chairman, the problem is about branding. If only the party can put together a song about capital gains tax cuts that sounds like Lil Wayne, younger voters will swoon.

Far be it for me to give the Republican National Committee advice, but if Steele believes he can ignore the party's systemic failures and thrive by "going beyond cutting-edge," he's even more foolish than he sounds.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (62)

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Comments

Oh Michael.... You had me at hello!

Posted by: One-armed midget on February 19, 2009 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

What makes me smile every time I hear Steele talk is his use of 90s hip hop slang without even a hint that what he is saying is out dated. First he said he would ask President Obama "how you like me now" which was made famous when I was in high school back in the 80s by Kool Moe Dee. Now he is saying his approach will be "off the hook" which is something you might have heard in the "hood" back in the 90s. I hate to put it this way but he sounds just like Mitt Romney in his imfamous "who let the dogs out" photo op. It might sound like a little thing but trust me he is destroying any street cred he is trying to build up by sounding like a white guy trying to relate to minorities. This is going to be hilarious. I can't wait to see him using Vanilla Ice in his attack ads lol

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla on February 19, 2009 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

So Steele = Poochie?

You have to go now. Your planet needs you.

Posted by: Jon B on February 19, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

A connection can be made. Drug dealers live in a free enterprise environment that makes the larger economy seem rigged. The only difference from the conservative ideal is that when they say they made a killing in the market today, they are being literal.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on February 19, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Off the hook and out of his mind. I'm wondering if his PR makeover is going to be like Phil Hartman's Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor ads from Newsradio. Republicans. Daaaamn!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JpwjnMFlJI

Posted by: JoeW on February 19, 2009 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

I look forward to a really good laugh. I hope they do everything Steele is talking about and do it BIG. The most amusing part is that because Steele is the only black guy most of the GOP know they'll do whatever he says! Because he's black! tee-hee. In their attempt to superficially attract youth, AA and latino voters they're going to make complete asses of themselves.

Truly, they got nothing.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on February 19, 2009 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Since Steele's assertions are the political equivalent of flatulence, he might as well have said:

"We're going beyond cutting-edge, to cutting farts"

Posted by: Richard Greenslade on February 19, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

[W]e need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets."

i'm glad to see that steele is anxious to reach out to minorities.

Posted by: karen marie on February 19, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Steele is in the hizzouse!!! Hip-hip horay...

Maybe they'll use "Kid n' Play" in their advertising.

Thanks to Jon B. I'll forever think of Michael Steele as "Poochie."

Posted by: zoe kentucky from pittsburgh on February 19, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

We're going beyond cutting-edge.

Like minstral, only with real black people.

Posted by: Danp on February 19, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Faith Popcorn, Steele's not. More reminiscent of Karen Hughes' (and her predecessors') empty labors at 're-branding' America.

On its face, call it the RNC's New Coke strategy.

Posted by: notMax on February 19, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Oh sweet lord...I'm a white guy pushing 40, but Steele sounds ridiculous even to me (granted, I have the advantage of having grown up in a city that was 1/3 African-American pop); is Steele actively trying to come off as silly?

The Repubs obviously believe Steele will make their party automatically look hip "because he's black"; it's like the scene in bad 80s teen movies where the clueless white kids think the one black student can automatically play basketball, rap, break dance, and so on.

Just as embarassing, but even more so that Steele himself believes it.

Posted by: crusader1 on February 19, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

slappy, if you're out there, I stand corrected. Steele apparently does believe that black urban kids will give him the time of day. And I thought he was just putting on a show for all the fat old white guys to prove he's a hip but non-threatening token.

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

As lame as all of this is,remember they do have lots of really rich people that are very good at creating alternate universes for gullible people to live in. I suspect it will all be a joke, but make sure you keep close tabs on whether or not it is effective and don't completely underestimate. George Bush was a complete fabricated joke but he got real close to Al Gore in votes and was able to steal election from Kerry, and that wasn't funny. I'm just sayin'...

Posted by: mattis on February 19, 2009 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

"off the hook?"
Awwwwwwww nah he dih-in'!

It's on!
He's buh-ringin' it!
Oooooo he dropped it like it hot!
Best be stepping!
Testify!
Word!

There. See how silly it all seems? Heckuva job, Steelie!

BTW, little people don't like being called midgets. It's like calling a...calling a...gosh, I'm trying to think of a word another oft-maligned minority doesn't like to be called, I'm drawing a blank. Steelie, think you can help me out? It rhymes with "Steele's idiotic comments can't get much BIGGER..."

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 19, 2009 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

I think you mean "Far be it from me ..."

Posted by: carl on February 19, 2009 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

I think I speak for one-armed midgets everywhere when I say, Not the best way to start off the whole "reaching out" thing, Mike.

Posted by: Trevor J on February 19, 2009 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

"..."I don't do 'cutting-edge.' That's what Democrats are doing. We will actually slit our wrists. Live! Onstage!"

Posted by: carsick on February 19, 2009 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

As lame as all of this is remember, they are very rich people that can hire actual legitimate folks who can create an alternate universe for the gullible to live in (see FOX News). So laugh away but make sure you pay close attention to whether or not its working. Geroge Bush was a complete fabricated joke and he got real close to Al Gore in votes and was able to steal election from Kerry. Don't completely underestimate. I'm just sayin...

Posted by: mattis on February 19, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry but the popularity of the term "off the hook" is about 10 years old, if not older. Yet, somehow Michael is "going beyond cutting edge"?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Posted by: palinoscopy on February 19, 2009 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

So they'll be releasing a hip-hop video next? I'm betting they will use somebody's music without asking again and get called out for copyright violation. Republicans never do anything legally, they're beyond cutting edge.

But I would suggest the song "I Get Money" by FiftyCent and get Eric Cantor to lip-synch.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on February 19, 2009 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of the Daily Show skit with Samantha Bee. She convened a focus group of young Republicans to premiere the "new face" of the GOP. The "new face" turned out to be a rapping Grandpa-esque figure in a sweatsuit. He sounded just like Michael Steele. How sad that the Daily Show beat him to the punch a few weeks ago.

Posted by: CHoward on February 19, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Steele won't last a year.

Posted by: rich on February 19, 2009 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Me thinks Steele is trying too hard to be the 'fresh prince' when he's really just Mr. Banks.

Posted by: palinoscopy on February 19, 2009 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody else remember the Cheers where Sam gets a gig as a sportscaster, and livens up his delivery by rapping about groin injuries?

Posted by: Viceroy Matt on February 19, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

But Mike, you've already said that Obama's offering bling bling!! What do you have that can compete with THAT?!?

Steele reminds me of your friend's dad who comes down to the finished basement (where you and your friends have gone to hide from him) and tries to get DOWN with you. He's your grandmother in bicycle pants.

Somewhere out there, millions of Republicans are saying, "Oh, no, he di-n't!! No, really! For the love of God! Tell me he di-n't!"

Posted by: gradysu on February 19, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

rich

Steele will in fact last until after the elections next year. As others have pointed out the good white folks in the GOP have the illusion that because Steele is black that he understands minorities and can succeed in bringing enough of those votes into the fold to turn around their electoral fortunes. That Steele got the hell beat out of him when he ran for Senate in Maryland and I believe lost something like 90 percent of the black vote doesn't even register to them. But after the Republicans get their asses handed to them AGAIN in 2010 and he offends minorities even more to the point that they lose even the little bit of minority support that they have, you will see them turn on him in a heartbeat. Of course this will be great for us progressives because if you go by the predictibility of the Republican party, having failed with a minority leading them they will do a 180 and get a known race baiter to help them "get back to their roots". When it happens next year, remember you heard it here first.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla on February 19, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

I predict the only thing Steele will be good at is spending money.

Posted by: DR on February 19, 2009 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have devolved into con men and religious fanatics. Steele simply wants to focus on the con man faction of the party.

Posted by: jen f on February 19, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Spoken like an older guy who thinks he is "with-it." Sort of reminds me of the 50 year old woman dressing like a 23 year old.

Beyond cutting edge? Is that possible?

Posted by: ET on February 19, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Oooh I do hope Larry Willmore " Senior Black correspondent" on the Daily Show has a go at him. Steele is writing the material for him . Doesn't Steele have any Black friends to tell him how foolish he sounds? - one has to wonder

Posted by: John R on February 19, 2009 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't they try this crap at the 2000 convention in Philadelphia. Seems to me I remember a couple of "We Are The World" moments.

The more this guy talks the more I'm reminded of Karl Rove and David Gregory doing a rap thing at some banquet.

Posted by: Rene ala Carte on February 19, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

sgwhite at 9:12 nails it.

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

This should go over real big in... North Dakota.

Posted by: Buford on February 19, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Steele, the new "authentic".

Posted by: the seal on February 19, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

For the RNC chairman, the problem is about branding.

Of course he sees it that way. The whole GOP sees it that way.

The few GOP members who have any clue at all about the problems with their party are those who were never that happy about the Bush years anyway. People like Lincoln Chaffee. Spectre, Collins, and Snowe probably feel the same way Chaffee does, but they just can't express it in public because they still have their careers.

Most of the GOP thinks Iraq has gone great and that the economic collapse was caused by Carter, Clinton and Frank. These are the same people who think the Earth is cooling, evolution is a fraud, and that Muslims are taking over Europe.

So, since they figure that everything Bush did (except his stance on immigration) was just hunky-dory, the only problem must be the marketing and the media. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Posted by: Cool on February 19, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Don "No Soul" Simmons anyone?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WICfZ4_V-ys

Posted by: Sue on February 19, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

These predictions of an early exit for Chairman Steele are unwarranted.

The man is too legit to quit.

Posted by: scott_m on February 19, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK
applying the party's principles to "urban-suburban hip-hop settings."

Great, we need more "rap" songs where the performer tells you his name and what he's "here to say," except with a right-wing message.

Posted by: tb on February 19, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Raise your hand if you think Michael Steele has the foggiest idea what he's talking about.

Hell, Benen, I'll raise both hands on this one, and here's my answer:

Hitler Jungen 2.0

Steele's going to take his uber-hate-filled, xenophobic rhetoric and unleash it on masses of society's subsections most vulnerable to the problems we face today---poverty and unemployment; hunger and homelessness---and invoke Obama as a modern-day Emmanuel Goldstein.

Steele is the modern-day equivalent of Big Brother---on steroids....

Posted by: Steve W. on February 19, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK
Great, we need more "rap" songs where the performer tells you his name and what he's "here to say," except with a right-wing message.

I'm not sure that "except" is really necessary here. Anti-government, pro-wealth, anti-woman, and anti-gay (i.e., "right-wing") themes aren't exactly foreign to rap.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 19, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

the poochie comment wins the thread.

although the "too legit to quit" comment is pretty awesome too.

I seriously could not believe he made a one-armed midget joke. I had to click the link -- I thought Benen was getting punked by some fake news outlet making up quotes from Steele.

Sad.

Posted by: J on February 19, 2009 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

the poochie comment wins the thread.

although the "too legit to quit" comment is pretty awesome too.

I loved these also too.

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

His new thing: Twitta.

Posted by: Rev. Bob on February 19, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Beyond the cutting edge"

Maybe he's referring to running like hell because there's some scary demographics coming after the Republicans with a machete? That's a situation where beyond the cutting edge is really where you want to be!

Posted by: Butch on February 19, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Quick, someone tell Steele that all the "urban-suburban" kids are into The Youtube-i and that Steele should do daily youtube chats to promote the gop's new hipster message.

It would be a hit, srsly.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on February 19, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Michelle Malkin's gonna have a cow.

Posted by: kc on February 19, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

He's going to have trouble finding a sound track, since no musician (outside of probably the Jonas Brothers) will let a Republican use their music. I am sure hip-hop artists will be even more on top of this than Aerosmith was with Eric Cantor's baloney.

Posted by: TCinLA on February 19, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

I'm all "a Twitta"

Posted by: dweb on February 19, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Ummmmmm, what exactly about a bunch of tired old angry white mean rich guys are young hip inner city kids supposed to find appealing?

Hey, I know - a hip hop version of Barack The Magic Negro!!!!

Posted by: stvwlf on February 19, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

I don't speak urban-suburban hip-hop. How does one translate the following message of a conservative party that stands on principles? "Hello, single working moms, why don't you all get married? It's your own damn fault if you're poor, you know. You should have gone to college. And you should save your pay (when you find a job) and invest in financial markets. You'll benefit from all that wealth when the rich pay fewer taxes. Since government is always bad, let's slash the safety net. The free market will yet provide for everything you need. Don't forget that Urgent care is the option when you're sick."

I am sure in hip-hop this message will be very persuasive.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 19, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

By "beyond the cutting edge", I think he means that he's going to crank the advertising all the way up to 11.

("Crank" being the operative word there.)

How will the Democrats ever survive? Don't stop at 11, Mr Steele, push for 12. Dare to go beyond the fringe. Nothing says "win the urban and ethnic youth vote" than a bunch of really groovy middle-age Republicans.

Posted by: N.Wells on February 19, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Jon B.,

I think that when people type lol, they often did not really laugh out loud, but truly, I bellowed when I read your comment. Steele will, in my mind henceforth be known as Poochie. Well done.

When Poochie gives his next speech, I fully expect him to step to the mic and let out a hearty, 'wassssupppp!'

Posted by: doubtful on February 19, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

For those of you who are worried that this will somehow work, we should all be far more concerned that he'll realize that he sounds like an utter asshat and stop.
Hell, I thinj Beyonce could come out as steele's BFF and it wouldn't matter.
He sounds clueless, phony and condescending- at best people might start to feel bad for him.

Please, Poochie Steele, share with us more of your profound wisdom.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on February 19, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Steele should definitely be known as Poochie from here on out.... This also reminds me of a 30 Rock last year where a Republican PAC (I believe it was "The Committee to Reinvade Vietnam") has Tracy Morgan's character do ads to reach "urban" voters with the GOP message. The script has him introduce himself as "Tracy Jordan, prominent Afrimerican." He stops and says, "Afrimerican - that isn't even a word" and they excitedly say to themselves, "That's just the kind of inside information we need."

Posted by: anonymous on February 19, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

It's amazing how much this guy has internalized the patronizing attitude of the people he hangs out with towards people like himself. One-armed midgets. He might as well have said, "a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple." (James Watt, Secretary of the Interior in the Reagan administration, Sept 21, 1983; he resigned a few weeks later.)

Posted by: larry birnbaum on February 19, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

No doubt there are lots of Republicans who will gladly refer to Michael Steele as "my nigga."

Posted by: hells littlest angel on February 19, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

There are two plans for the Republicans to attract more minorities: (1) adopt policies that actually benefit minorities, or (2) stick to their current policies, and work harder to persuade minorities that those policies benefit them. In the long run, plan (2) is just not going to work, but they'll keep trying to make it work.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on February 19, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Why yes stewardess, I speak jive!"

Posted by: royalblue_tom on February 19, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'd forgotten this gem:

Poochie: [rapping]

The name's Poochie-D and I rock the telly
I'm half Joe Camel and a third Fonzarelli
I'm the kung-fu hippie from gangsta city
I'm a rappin' surfer, you da fool I pity!

Scratchy: [unenthusiastic] Wow, Poochie is one outrageous dude.
Itchy: [unenthusiastic] He's totally in my face.

Posted by: genome on February 19, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Steele will only reinforce the old adage: there are no such thing as black Republicans -- only Negro Republicans.

Posted by: Vincent on February 19, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

This from the man who when he ran for governor of MD, tried to hide the fact that he was a Republican.

Posted by: Juanita on February 19, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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