Wednesday, March 04, 2009

the short happy life of chairman steele

well, as everyone seems to be saying this week, that was quick, wasn't it?

but i'm not talking just about the apology. i'm talking about the whole transparent charade that the g.o.p. has been staging over the last month.

when michael steele proudly beat crypto-racist katon dawson after six contentious rounds of committee voting, conservatives heralded his victory as a bona fide statement that republicans were ready to "rebrand themselves" and reach out to the hearts and minds of voters outside the shrinking circle of old white men now composing the increasingly bitter rump of the party.

the georgetown university-trained lawyer and seasoned veteran of television talk shows is expected to become a highly visible spokesman for republicans. his moderate views and charisma could help the party combat the impression that it is insensitive to minorities, working people and those with divergent views on social and economic issues. he's also likely to bring more openness and diversity to the rnc.

in his victory speech, mr. steele promised something else that rank-and-file republicans are hungry for — election wins.

who knows if steele really believed his own pandering hip-hop hype, but he certainly believed he had new muscles to flex and new capital to spend, presumably bestowed upon him by the shiny new epaulets he'd just won. it was a belief brought abjectly to its knees just 31 days later.

even if the u.s.s. g.o.p. weren't already imploding on seemingly a dozen different decks, whatever's left is in no danger of being overrun by eager multiethnic recruits after steele's groveling performance. he'd bragged, just a day earlier, in front of millions of viewers, that he was the commander, and lord limbaugh showed him, just a day later, in front of millions of listeners, that the crew belonged to him, as it always did, and that steele was just another one of his cabin boys, a punk, a wayward prag.

yeah, that's the kind of ship i want to serve, where an ambitious cadet, from any background, can move up the ranks on his own merit — all the way up to cabin boy. where race truly no longer matters, because now anyone can work hard for a place in line servicing a loud, loathsome, bloated bigoted gasbag.

no, steele won't be winning over any new hearts or minds, which renders him useless, since that was the whole point of his election — expanding the party base. groveling eunuchs don't inspire enlistment, so his emasculation is complete. he didn't bring with him anybody who wasn't already on board and who hadn't already pledged their allegiance to lord limbaugh, who with the back of his hand, and with everyone watching, showed steele what steele had either forgotten or pretended wasn't true. now no one can pretend any longer.

in hemingway's "the short happy life of francis macomber" the title figure is pitied by his game guide as a "boy-man", after macomber succumbs to panic during a close call in the field, then loses his wife to the guide. but when macomber helps kill two buffalo the next day, he gains a measure of manhood, enough to stand up to his contemptuous wife:

... some of them stay little boys so long, wilson thought. sometimes all their lives. their figures stay boyish when they're fifty. the great american boy-men. damned strange people. but he liked this macomber now. damned strange fellow. probably meant the end of cuckoldry too. well, that would be a damned good thing. damned good thing. beggar had probably been afraid all his life. don't know what started it. but over now. hadn't had time to be afraid with the buff. that and being angry too. motor car too. motor cars made it familiar. be a damn fire eater now.

however, macomber's newfound "happy life" is cut short when his wife shoots him as a buffalo charges — and not quite by accident, the guide suspects.

the weekend drama "the short happy life of chairman steele" illustrates a sad reversal: the title figure gains a measure of manhood after a close contest. he succumbs to over-confidence and publicly insults his contemptuous patron. a swift edifying bitchslap forces him to publicly renounce his pretend manhood and affirm his cabin boyhood. thus ends steele's "happy life".

lord limbaugh's bitchslap educated steele at a time when the world's most famous and most popular non-white leader is exercising, in stark contrast, not pretend power, but real, far-reaching power, not only over his own party but also keenly felt by his rivals, who are desperately trying to pretend that their own "magic negro" is just as good. even now, nancy pelosi, the first female house speaker, is batting away divisive rumors that she herself is wielding too much power of her own.

so, really, which ship would you rather sign up with?

the one looking for just a few good "boys" ... ?

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