Michael Steele was forced to bow down to Rush Limbaugh after getting a little too brave on CNN yesterday when he stated that Limbaugh was not the leader of the Republican Party. Limbaugh and Veteran Republicans had to quickly correct Steele and remind him of his place. And they did it in public *ouch*.
Here is Steele on CNN speaking with DL Hughley (Carlton Ridenhour also on set):
But Rush Limbaugh was not amused by Steele's comments. Limbaugh had to remind Steele who was in charge.
Limbaugh also stated:
“It's time, Mr. Steele, for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of trying to be some talking head media star, which you're having a tough time pulling off,” “But it seems to me that it's Michael Steele who is off to a shaky start.”
Steele immediately called Rush: (my paraphrasing)
I's Sorry Masta.... Please forgive Me... don't hurt me please. I understand sir that I am simply here to fill a role.... the role that you chose for me. I know I'm the token Nigra... I in no way meant to challenge your authority as leader. I just got carried away talking to that DL Hughley on CNN... I don't know what I was thinkin'. Masta... Please forgive me.
I hope I can stay in my position... I sure does like it here Masta... I hope this situation won't get me removed. I'll do anything you want me to just to make up fa dis. Can I shine your shoes the next time we meet? Just let me know where you need me...and I's make sure I bring ma shoeshine bag wit me. I'll shine those shoes so clean you'd be able ta see ya reflection.
Just as I have been saying here (and elsewhere) for years... Limbaugh and Co. represents the leadership of the Republican Party... they are the ideological and spiritual compass of the Party....and they speak for the Party. It has been this way for at least the past 20 years.
Somehow Steele actually believed that he was running something (funny). All this time... he has failed to realize why he was chosen as the figurehead leader of the Republican Party.
I have to admit...this kind of nonsense is disturbing... to see a grown man...an adult Black man... having his dignity stripped so publicly. It almost reminds you of another time. But it's equally bothersome to watch Black men like Steele, Keyes, Blackwell, and others... offer themselves up for this kind of public castration and submission to a Party that seeks to exploit them.
Whenever a Republican challenges the Right Wing Republican Media apparatus... they are quickly reminded of how powerful this group is...and they are made to apologize. This has happened about 3 or 4 times in the past week, and it happens all the time. Even Republicans are afraid of Rush Limbaugh and the other figures in Conservative Talk Radio and TV. In many ways...the Republican Party operates like an organized crime syndicate. What we are seeing now is a lot of infighting...and jockeying for position during a time of change....just like in the Mafia.
This is likely to go on for quite some time as the Republicans search for a new identity...try to determine what they stand for... as they try to find a message...and as they seek some sort of "official" figurehead leadership, now that Tricky Dick II, Tom Delay, Trent Lott, and other GOP stalwarts have all moved out of their official positions of power and influence.
I have been saying forever that it was past time to force Republicans to admit the obvious... that Right Wing nuts like Limbaugh are the spokespeople and the leaders of the Republican Party. Progressive strategists are finally learning. Once you shackle the Republican Political leaders with their Spokespeople they will be shamed... but would likely have no choice but to be content with the connection. The GOP's political success is dependent on the Right Wing media apparatus and its reputation for filling the airwaves with lies, distortions, propaganda & hatred. Republicans simply can't make it if they are forced to deal with real issues, real people and if they have to come up with solutions to real problems. They don't operate in the real world with the rest of us. If they do, then they are wearing blinders.
In years past... Republicans operated alongside the Conservative Talk Radio and TV lunatics... but in a more subtle way. Right Wing Talk Radio has always been more of a shadowy parallel companion to the official Republican Party. It was more of a wink and a nod relationship...where officially... Republican political figures were able to distance themselves from racist and incendiary comments from their media cohorts. This arrangement almost always allowed Republican political figures to claim plausible deniability...whenever their friends in the media (many whom they know to be racist and sexist jackasses) made offensive comments.
Now Republican Politicians won't be able to do that so easily anymore. And that's a good thing. I say... let their Conservative media buddies drag them down even further...and let them continue with their infighting. But if Progressives don't know how to exploit this... then they will miss an opportunity IMO.
As much as I have criticized Hughley.... I believe that what he did with Steele was a pretty smart move. He put Steele in an impossible position, where he had no choice but to say something that would cause a problem within the Republican Party. But the GOP can't call Hughley the bad guy. They have been running around with these media nuts for years.... now they either have to claim them or fight it out with them and purge them. (And that's not likely to happen because the GOP relies on its media wing for its very survival). They are stuck with Limbaugh and Co. And I couldn't be happier.