The Tea Party Protesters might need a little bit of brand management to overcome the growing perception that they represent a racist, homophobic, extremist fringe of disgruntled voters. The most recent incident of very bad PR came this week, as a small group of Tea Party protesters gathered on Capitol Hill and yelled "n*gger" and "f*ggot" at members of Congress as they walked past the crowd. The group has taken heat for the actions of those who don't know how to be cordial in their discourse, and it's not good for the Republican Party.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was put in yet another awkward position, trying to defend that which is indefensible. A man who appears to be disrespected at every turn by his own party, Steel dismissed those using the N-word within the Tea Party group as "idiots out there saying stupid things." Of course, Steele was not in a position to dismiss the Tea Partiers themselves, likely because they would have put him in a pile with the other black people they hate the most.
Steele has, time and again, proven himself to be incredibly ineffective when representing the Republican Party. A few months ago, Rush Limbaugh body slammed Steele into a humiliating apology, during which Steele actually referred to Limbaugh (who is an entertainer) as a leader. Sorry, my friends, Rush Limbaugh is not and never will be a true leader in America. He is a step up from David Duke, and lies within the "axis of ignorance," along with Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. Their goal is to incite angry energy from a base of Americans who are disappointed that blatant racial hostility has become politically incorrect.
I am not sure how Steele can empower himself to truly lead the Republican Party. There is no doubt that Steele, a man who impresses me as being likable with some modest degree of genuine intellect, is likely kept up at night trying to manage the fact that his party is being pulled further to the right every day. The Tea Party Movement is not good for the Republican party, and most intelligent Republicans know this. The only thing the Tea Party does is increase the viewership ratings for Fox News, which is why Fox will continue to add fuel to the fire.
Mark my words: Michael Steele will resign as RNC Chairman within the next several months. I would be shocked if he were to finish his term.
Watch Steele embarrass himself once again in trying to embrace the Tea Party (surprise, surprise, he gets rejected):
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