Chip Saltsman and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Chip Saltsman stumbled through a series of blunders this week that leaves me wondering if he can be considered a serious contender for Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

The first was selecting the CD, We Hate the USA, to distribute to RNC members as a Christmas gift. The song that’s drawing all the negative attention is “Barack, the Magic Negro.” The CD is the work of satirist Paul Shanklin, who is often heard on the Rush Limbaugh show.

This selection displays a serious lack of judgment on Saltsman’s part. While the song was undoubtedly not intended to be racist and Saltsman’s selection of the CD was certainly made without the intent to smear the President-elect with a racial slur, Saltsman should have been able to anticipate how the CD might be received by RNC members – some of whom may not have his best interests at heart – and how its selection would be characterized by the press. While the party’s identification with minorities as racist is unfair and not grounded in reality, the last thing it needs is an RNC Chair with a “tin ear” to potentially inflammatory situations.

The second was Saltsman’s slow response the the developing controversy. By way of explanation, Saltsman supposedly participates in a loosely organized group of conservatives, #TCOT. The original concept was simply to list conservatives participating on Twitter and the number of people “following” them as a means to gauge their sphere of influence; #tcot was simply a search tag that could be used to follow the #TCOT timeline. It has now expanded to include the #TCOT Report, a Drudge-like news source and web gathering place for conservatives.

News of the CD hit the #TCOT timeline within minutes of the first news reports; had Saltsman been following the #TCOT stream, he would have known of the controversy and had access to immediate feedback on an appropriate response. In addition, he could have taken advantage of the #TCOT Report to distribute  his response across the web. Instead, his response was delayed until 6:05 p.m. on December 27th, a full 24 hours after the news first broke and was limited to the blog on his RNC campaign website.

The third and final blunder was choosing to try to divert attention from his own lack of judgment in choosing the CD and focus on blame the media for a double standard. Saltsman’s statement from his blog:

Liberal Democrats and their allies in the media didn’t utter a word about David Ehrenstein’s irresponsible column in the Los Angeles Times last March.  But now, of course, they’re shocked and appalled by its parody on the Rush Limbaugh Show.
I firmly believe that we must welcome all Americans into our party and that the road to Republican resurgence begins with unity, not division. But I know that our party leaders should stand up against the media’s double standards and refuse to pander to their desire for scandal.

While it’s true that the media does impose a double standard, Saltsman’s response does nothing to show that he understands what the controversy is about, nor that he accepts any responsibility for the situation in which he now finds himself. He doesn’t even mention the CD; if you didn’t know the back story, you’d think he was commenting on a segment from Rush Limbaugh’s show! Saltsman would have done better to admit to an error in judgment and issue a sincere apology.

So the questions I would like the RNC to consider before they cast their votes for chairman are (1) Does Chip Saltsman possess the political judgment necessary in the person who will be the public face of the Republican party during the Obama administration; and (2) As RNC Chair, will he effectively utilize every means of communication at his disposal to advance the agenda of the Republican Party.


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10 responses to “Chip Saltsman and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

  1. I would just like to make a minor point here: David Ehrenstein is not running for chairperson of the DNC!

  2. Steve Parkes

    While it is true that David Ehrenstein is NOT running for DNC chairman it does show the double standard in that it is okay for a liberal to call BO the “magic negro” but it is not okay for a conservative to distribute material that makes fun of liberals calling BO the “magic negro.”

  3. I don’t think David Ehrenstein comments were inappropriate. I need to point out David Ehrenstein comments were very critical of Obama as well. It’s not like David Ehrenstein is a spokesman for the Democratic Party or even pretends to be. I read his original column and was very unimpressed. If he was a candidate to lead my party (The Democratic Party) I would have blasted him from every angle imaginable. Instead, I just thought to myself “What a jerk”. My point being that just because many of us find Chip Saltsman actions deplorable and have chosen to speak up about them does not mean we are hypocritical cuase we failed to criticize some obscure (liberal) columnist who also made bigoted comments.

  4. I meant to say that David Ehrenstein comments were inappropriate. Sorry.

  5. Pingback: Chip Saltsman and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week - paulag1955’s blog - RedState

  6. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Chip Saltsman and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

  7. Those last questions you have for the RNC?

    You should also ask if the other candidates who came forward and defended Chip against ‘charges of racism’ understand what the problem is. They appear to believe that our side thinks this proves Chip is a racist. But nobody has said that, or thinks it. We are concerned about his judgment, his ability to see in advance what leftists will do with the material we give them.


    Lots of bad judgment going around. Lots of people on our side don’t seem to see it any better than Chip saw it. Too many blind spots.

    • paulag1955

      Dave, you are right on the money. I think we’ve gotten to sensitive to being called racists that it’s difficult to see past it and your question is valid. It’s frustrating as heck when you feel like nobody at the top “gets it.”

  8. Avery St. Clair

    The problem isn’t that Saltsman’s behavior was racist. The problem is that it was moronic, juvenile and crude.

    The stunt is something that would justly get a second-grade teacher fired. And this is a person who wants to chair a national political party??


    • paulag1955

      Exactly. I would expect better judgement not only from a second grade teacher, but possibly from a second grader.

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