Hip-Hop RNC Chairman Michael Steele Likes Diddy, Snoop Dogg; Calls the Rat Pack the "Pack Rats"
It's getting harder to imagine a path to survival for RNC Chairman Michael Steele, whose promise to launch the Republican party into "urban-suburban hip-hop settings" was only the beginning of a long downward slide that may well end in a no-confidence vote in April. In a recent GQ interview, not only did he mangle his own party line on homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion; he also took the interviewer's bait and started talking once again about hip-hop.
- I was kinda expecting hip-hop to be playing in here today.
Aw, sh--. It's on my, uh, computer there. I haven't pulled it up yet, but I'll get a little bit goin' in a second or two.
Who do you listen to?
I actually listen to a cross section, because I like to hear what the medium is saying, what the voice is.
But do you have a favorite?
P. Diddy I enjoy quite a bit.
- Do you want to rethink that?
[laughs] I guess I'm sorta old-school that way. Remember, I came of age with the DJ and all this other stuff, so I'm also loving Grandmaster Flash, and that's not hip-hop, but... Um, you know, I like Chuck D. And I always thought Snoop Dogg was--he just reminded me of the fellas back home. So I've always thoroughly enjoyed him.
I like Sinatra. I like old-school. You know, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin. Love Dean Martin. He was one of these guys who just didn't give an F. He just didn't. Life was a party, and you either want to party or you don't. But yeah, I like those. I'm a big Pack Rat. I love the Pack Rats from the 1950s--Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, those guys.
You mean the Rat Pack.
The Rat Pack, yeah.
I particularly enjoy the moment when the interviewer, Lisa DePaulo, invites Steele to "rethink" his Diddy endorsement--whether because he's a terrible rapper or a terrible poster-child for the Republican party, DePaulo doesn't clarify. Steele goes on to assert that "hip-hop is about economic empowerment" and, when asked why virtually no non-white Americans support his party, answers:
- 'Cause we have offered them nothing! And the impression we've created is that we don't give a damn about them or we just outright don't like them. And that's not a healthy thing for a political party. I think the way we've talked about immigration, the way we've talked about some of the issues that are important to African-Americans, like affirmative action... I mean, you know, having an absolute holier-than-thou attitude about something that's important to a particular community doesn't engender confidence in your leadership by that community--or consideration of you for office or other things--because you've already given off the vibe that you don't care. What I'm trying to do now is to say we do give a damn.
Which trenchant analysis you might think would actually make the guy ashamed to constantly proselytize that very same African-American community while standing for virtually zero change in anything Republicans actually believe, but whatever. I also enjoy the weird magical thinking that seems to assume that if you say something, it automatically comes to be true. See? Now we do give a damn. Can't you hear the sincerity in my trembling, pleading voice?