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Menachem Rosensaft Headshot

A Chip By Any Other Name . . .

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What kind of a chip is a Chip Saltsman? A cow chip? Perhaps a sheep chip? You get my drift.

In any event, as a progressive Democrat, I'm rooting for Horse Chip Saltsman, who used to be Mike Huckabee's campaign manager, to be the next head of the Republican National Committee.

In case anyone missed it, Mule Chip Saltsman is the sensitive soul who sent RNC members a musical CD featuring, among other offensive classics, a tasteless little ditty called "Barack, the Magic Negro," which was first performed on Rush Limbaugh's radio show in April of 2007.

You've got to hand it to both Limbaugh and Goat Chip Saltsman. The song sure has catchy lyrics, like:

"some say barack's articulate
and bright and new and clean
the media sure love this guy
a white interloper's dream"

Other numbers on this Yuletide CD, sung by right wing satirist Paul Shanklin, include "Love Client #9," "John Edwards' Poverty Tour," and, just to make absolutely clear that he is an equal opportunity offender, "The Star Spanglish Banner" ("Jose can you see ... cross the border we sailed as the gringos were sleeping").

According to Burro Chip Saltsman, "I think most people recognize political satire when they see it." Actually, and more importantly, most people recognize insensitive bigotry when they see and hear it.

The mere fact that Buffalo Chip Saltsman is a credible candidate for the RNC chairmanship speaks volumes. With him at the helm, the Republican Party will certainly get Ann Coulter's vote. And Sean Hannity's. And Diane Fedele's.

Diane Fedele? For those who haven't memorized all the Republican tasteless gems of the 2008 presidential campaign, she's the wit who produced the "Ten Dollar Obama Bucks" food stamp showing the then Democratic candidate's head superimposed on a donkey's body surrounded by a chunk of watermelon, ribs, a pitcher of Kool-Aid, and a bucket of fried chicken.

Bison Chip Saltsman is also likely to get Marcia Stirman's support. She's the chairwoman of the Otero County Republican Women in New Mexico who wrote in the Alamogordo Daily News that "I believe Muslims are our enemies," and that "Obama isn't a messiah or a Democrat. He's a Muslim socialist."

Another kindred spirit is Jeffrey M. Frederick, the Chairman of the Virginia Republican Party who likened Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden in a pep talk to campaign volunteers, explaining that "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon. That is scary."

To their credit, some Republicans have reacted with appropriate disgust. "This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it," observed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. And Robert M. "Mike" Duncan, the current RNC chairman who is running for reelection, said that "I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate." But so far we haven't heard from George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, or John McCain, or Mitt Romney, or Rudy Giuliani, or Tim Pawlenty, or Mike Huckabee, or, for that matter, Sarah Palin.

As a partisan, I'd like nothing better than to see someone like Jackass Chip Saltsman, who gets his inspiration from Rush Limbaugh, head the GOP. But as an American, I recognize that such combination of bigotry, stupidity and insensitivity is not at all good for either our country or its body politic.

In a recent interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Colin Powell counseled his fellow Republicans against continuing "to use polarization for political advantage," and pointedly asked, "Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh? Is this really the kind of party that we want to be when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts?"

All those Republicans who have not yet spoken out about Generic Farm Animal Chip Saltsman would be well advised to give General Powell's words some serious consideration.

Menachem Rosensaft is a lawyer in New York City

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