New America Media, News Report, Earl Ofari Hutchinson
WASHINGTON - Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele has repeatedly snapped back at the charge that the GOP is racist, harbors racist elements, and plays the race card. On occasion, he has loudly said that the RNC must embrace diversity and be a big tent that includes minorities. Every time he opens his mouth to say these things, he’s called a liar.
Those who call Steele a liar rattle off the litany of racist gaffes, slurs, and acts by GOP officials, politicians, and assorted GOP-connected Tea Party leaders and activists to prove their point. Now they have one more example they can add to the list.
That’s the GOP’s invite to Andrew Breitbart, the right-wing smear-machine engine man, to appear at the RNC’s three-day confab in Los Angeles next month. It’s billed as an “Election Countdown,” a way to raise some money and rev up the GOP troops.
Unlike Michelle Obama’s appearance at the NAACP convention, Breitbart’s name is not buried among the assorted GOP luminaries scheduled to participate at the event. Not only is he billed as one of the headliners, he and Steele will host the opening-night reception. His name even appears ahead of Steele’s on the announcement.
So why is that? Is it Breitbart’s name and fame, the controversy and curiosity he invariably arouses, the media attention he draws, his staunch GOP troublemaking credentials—and the fact that might be good for a few more bucks in the till—that compel Steele and the RNC to make him the star of their show? The answer, of course, is all of the above. And this makes Breitbart an even more disgusting choice to headline a major event by a major party that claims it is poised to make major gains in the midterm elections and possibly take back the House.
Despite the nonstop chorus of “nos” to the Obama administration’s initiatives and legislation, the GOP has managed to maintain some degree of respectability among a wide body of conservative and moderate Republican voters. It has even grabbed support from centrist independents who oppose Obama’s and the Democrats’ health care, stimulus, and tax proposals.
Pushing Breitbart to the top of a major GOP event blows the party’s façade of respectability to smithereens.
Even before his vile hatchet job on Shirley Sherrod, Breitbart had managed to turn his online mini-empire, biggovernment.com, into the Bible of old-fashioned, dirty-tricks cheerleading and agitation against Democrats, progressive activists and minorities. Despite full exposure of the Sherrod tape as a fraud and fabrication, Breitbart still kept the lying, doctored tape on his website.
This is much more than the garden-variety GOP ranting at Obama and Democrats on legitimate policy issues. Breitbart is a direct throwback to the Nixonian operatives and escapades of the early 1970s that brought disgrace on the White House and the GOP.
The party spent the next decade trying to rid itself of the stigma of those years. Yet it’s a history that Steele and the RNC will embrace if Breitbart headlines their show. Steele can prove that he rejects that history by rescinding the invitation. Will he?
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk show on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson