Feb 26, 2009
Tokens and Tears
30 Rock's Kenneth the Page as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
First there was Sarah P., then Michael "The Animal" Steele, and now we have none other than Governor Bobby Jindal. Things are so bad for the Republican Party these days that pretty soon they'll be reaching out to Mike Tyson to be the new face of the GOP. (Considering that Tyson was once married to Steele's sister, this might not be as far fetched as it seems.)
In Republican land, one need not be necessarily qualified or for that matter even conscious of the fact that the disaster of Hurricane Katrina happened on the watch of an especially indifferent GOP administration. No, in Republican land all that really matters is that you are a token. Beyond that, it's all relative.
Ever since Sarah P stepped on stage in Minneapolis last summer, we have seen the desperation of the Republican Party on full display. In a lame attempt to try and challenge Obama in the manner that Hilary Clinton had done during the hard fought Democratic primaries, the GOP thought, wrongly, that Sarah P. just by virtue of being a woman, would be enough to offset the juggernaut known as Obama. In their mind one woman is just as good as another, so why not. Experience and qualifications be damned!
Then, when the reality of President Obama set in, they thought that all they needed was simply another black man to run their party. Steele has looked nothing less than foolish in the short time that he has been in his new position, especially in his comments that "jobs" created by the government really weren't "jobs" after all.
And of course this week, we were treated to Bobby Jindal, another lame attempt at tokenism by selecting a person of color from an immigrant family to try and appeal to people on the same terms that Obama has so successfully done. Jindal would have a hard time qualifying for the post of Obama's "body man"--a post now held by the increasingly popular Reggie Love--much less have the skills to counter such a strong orator. Trying to actually go toe to toe with Obama exposed Jindal as especially out of his lane and over his head. Don't you know Bobby, it takes years for this, you cat-n-the-hat-ass-governor! Perhaps the Republicans thought that some of the success of Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars would rub off on Jindal during his speech? I mean, what else are we left to assume considering that all of these choices reek of obvious tokenism?
Some tried to suggest during the election last year that Obama's success was somehow due to affirmative action. In that vein there remain some in the Republican Party who appear to think that Obama's race is the only reason that he was victorious in November. Otherwise, why would they go to these weak challengers to try and counteract him? One reason would be because their party lacks any real diversity so they have to use what they got to get what they need. Trying to substitute any woman, African American, or person of color, simply based on their race or gender, is an expression of how truly disingenuous the Republicans really are. Such insultingly tokenistic efforts will only lead to continued failure.
Which brings me to Alexandra Pelosi's current HBO documentary Right America: Feeling Wronged. I don't know that I've ever had so much fun before, watching a bunch of scarred far right conservatives moan, groan, and literally cry over the fact that Barack Obama is our 44th President. Yes, I find glee in their misfortune and I look forward to seeing the doc. again. Trust me, this will be in regular rotation.
(Check out the comments of this especially intelligent citizen from Right America)
I have news for the GOP. Tokenism, scarred feelings, and crocodile tears are not a good look. It is a proven fact that what goes around comes around and so for all of us who have had to endure the previous eight years of a regime that we considered illegitimate, this is a new day.
Jonah Goldberg of the LA Times accused me of "gloating" last year in a piece that I wrote about the redemption of John Carlos and Tommie Smith upon the occasion of their being honored at the ESPY's for their politicized efforts at the '68 Olympics. Goldberg was hatin' and did not mean what he said about me as a compliment, but I took it as one nonetheless. So in that same spirit, I am again gloating over the repeated stumbles of the GOP and I am especially delighted to see Right America, as it were, put in it's proper place. In other words, if dissin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right!