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Race Is All That's Saving Steele

Republicans don't want to fire their first black leader
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2010 11:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Michael Steele is pretty obviously lousy at his job, so why don’t Republicans just fire him? There’s just one reason, argues Gabriel Winant of Salon: race. Steele, you’ll recall, came to power directly after Barack Obama’s election—the Republicans, essentially, wanted their own black guy. Dumping their first African-American chairman looks seriously unpalatable, even if he's causing a donor revolt.

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The irony, says Winant, is that their reluctance just shows once again how "painfully tone deaf" the GOP is about race. They thought a black leader who wanted to recruit voters in “urban and suburban hip hop settings” with “fried chicken and potato salad” would actually help them with black voters. Now they fear firing him will hurt them with black voters. It won’t. “Frankly, it couldn’t: Republicans have no black support to lose.” (Read more Michael Steele stories.)

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