RachelWatch: Save Steele!


Today: Melissa Harris-Lacewell talks about the word “Negro,” Rachel spanks Rudy Giuliani, and we all learn to appreciate Michael Steele now that he may be taken away.

Blue Steele

Rachel started us off with the brouhaha around Michael Steele, the most delightful RNC chairman in the history of the GOP. God, I love him.

Steele released his book and launched a tour without checking with anybody, and his fellow Republicans are flipping like they’re made of omelets.

It might have something to do with Steele’s tendency to impulsively give voice to his freewheeling imagination, like when he said he wanted to bring Republicanism to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings,” and, seriously, if someone could bottle and sell that kind of verbal magic, the world would be a more wonderful place. And maybe a little surreal.

Rachel reported that there seems to be a movement to oust Steele from his chairmanship, engineered almost entirely by the sort of courageous souls who release anonymous statements to the press.

I am begging you: Someone help me think of a way that we get to keep him, chairman or not. We all need a little Steele in our day, every day.

A Noun, a Verb, and No Clue

Rudy “Were You Aware That I Was Mayor on 9/11?” Giuliani repeated that new weird thing where conservatives are testing out saying that there were no attacks during the Bush/Cheney administration, because apparently 9/11 happened when they both had their fingers crossed.

Rachel took a moment to analyze Giuliani’s recent statements on terrorism. Have you ever been in a pillow fight where two people grab the pillow and pull on it and suddenly the pillow is gone and you’re just in a room full of floating feathers? It’s like that.

As fervently as I would like to believe Rachel’s assessment that Giuliani can’t possibly run for anything again, I can’t imagine that we’ll be rid of him so easily. One thing I’ve never seen Rudy Giuliani do is underestimate the amount of time people would like to see him on television.

Though I am hoping to lose, I’ll bet Dr. Maddow a bottle of absinthe that Giuliani throws his hat into the ring for 2012.

Census Sensibility

Rachel revisited the story of the inclusion of the oddly jarring word “Negro” on the current Census form.

Princeton University’s Melissa Harris-Lacewell, as always, brought a cool head and some interesting insight to the table.

Harris-Lacewell also pointed out that the Census, in the end, is about political representation, and so less hand-wringing and more encouraging people to participate may be in order.

‘10 Shun

Rachel took a look at the latest purge of moderates from the Republican Party, though the definition of “moderate” is beginning to strain credulity. It’s no longer enough to love God and big business, hate liberals, and denounce random cultural institutions or household appliances as communist.

Now Republicans really have to swing for the fences to have a shot at staying. They have to pass a lie detector test in which they claim to actually believe in death panels, advocate preemptive strikes against any resource-bearing country that looks at us funny, and win at least one debate while speaking entirely in tongues.

This is a fascinating process to watch. For years both major parties have become increasingly difficult to distinguish as they’ve fought to grab bigger chunks of the middle, and now the Republicans are lurching to the far right — the really far right — in spite of the fact that those candidates tend to frighten the Crocs off of mainstream voters.

If ideological purity wins primaries but not elections, what happens next? Will the Democrats be reduced to being offended by each other’s statements just to fill the void?

Will the conservadems use the room created by the shakeout to split off and form a third party? Will the non-rabid conservatives who have been forced out of the GOP form a fourth party?

And will either new party take my suggestion about who their new beyond-the-cutting-edge chairman should be?

Payback’s a Schmidt

Holy folksies, the battle of the campaign memoirs is getting vicious!

If you may recall, Sarah Palin had a few say-it-ain’t-so remarks about her old colleagues from the McCain Presidential campaign, and now campaign strategist Steve Schmidt would like to respond.

If you can suppress the part of your brain that wants to think about what would have happened if Palin had actually made it into office, it’s great fun.