Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ford's Usefulness to Steele's Cred

NPR blogger John Ridley maintains that GOP Chair Michael Steele should stop trying so hard to target the urban hip-hop generation and instead should take cues from President Barack Obama and Tennessee son, Harold Ford, Jr.:
Steele's view seems oddly contrary to those people of color who are in fact ascending (or have ascended) in politics. Barack Obama's resonance with the populace was hardly based on any hip-hop cred. The same could be said for Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, and Harold Ford Jr., the former congressman who sought a Senate seat in Tennessee. They campaigned on issues, rather than disguising a dearth of ideas with faux "urban-suburban" hippness.

Yet Steele's entire interview with the Times is laced with an odd argot. His new PR campaign is going to be "off the hook." Steele "don't do 'cutting-edge.' " He does "beyond cutting-edge." His critics can "stuff it" ... ya dig? Rather than a politician with fresh ideas, he sounds more like somebody's uncle trying to be hip while playing some blacktop hoops with 16-year-olds.
Maybe Harold Ford did not try to be tragically hip like Steele is, but during the 2006 campaign, Ford made what appeared to me to be a cynical pander to churches by overreaching at events like "Faith Night at the Polls."

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