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Republicans And 'barack The Magic Negro'

With Republicans about to relinquish power in Washington D.C., it is nice to see the GOP adopt the role of loyal opposition and "party of ideas." For example, courtesy of the NYT:

To the issues that divide the Republican Party, there comes one more. Some Republicans find humor in the song “Barack the Magic Negro.” Some most definitely do not. 

The debate was joined last week after a candidate for party chairman from Tennessee, Chip Saltsman, distributed the parody, which was broadcast on the Rush Limbaugh radio show last year and questions President-elect Barack Obama’s racial authenticity.

Speaking to The Hill newspaper on Friday, Mr. Saltsman, a longtime Republican operative, described it as a “light-hearted” gift that would be received in “good humor” by members of the Republican National Committee.

I will defer to Mr. Saltsman's prediction of what reception the song will receive from RNC members. Next Gingrich was, to his credit, unamused. Other opinions varied:

There are two black candidates [for party chairman], J. Kenneth Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state, and Michael Steele, a former lieutenant governor of Maryland. On Saturday, Mr. Blackwell dismissed the fuss as “hypersensitivity.”

Most amusing, however, was this:

The dispute illustrates a larger Republican challenge in the months ahead: how to oppose the first black president without seeming antiblack.

A word of advice for Republicans trying to navigate this "challenge": A good first step would include having your candidates for party chairman not distribute songs with names like 'Barack the Magic Negro.'

Update: Noam was here first.

--Isaac Chotiner