Andre Bauer and “Barack the Magic Negro”

A little while ago I got this from Phil Noble over at SC New Democrats:

It was reported on Monday by, that in an attempt to boost support for his campaign for governor, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer has hired GOP political operative Chip Saltsman. That’s the same Chip Saltsman who was forced to drop his bid to become chair of the GOP after it was discovered that he sent out CDs to Republican friends featuring a song entitled, “Barack the Magic Negro” as Christmas presents shortly after President Obama’s election—a stunt that even Newt Gingrich called “inappropriate.”

SC New Democrat’s President Phil Noble called on Bauer to denounce Saltsman and fire him from his campaign. And, the SC New Democrats have launched a petition campaign to urge Bauer to do so.

“This is exactly the type of racist political tactics that our state doesn’t need. We are still trying to live down the sad legacy of cheap politics made commonplace by Lee Atwater for decades, but Bauer is continuing in this low tradition,” said Noble. “We need a new politics about bold visions that inspires our people to strive to achieve, not the old racist tactics dredged from the gutter of the past.”

Like most people, we thought we had heard the last of Chip Saltsman in 2008. After all, who would want to work with someone who thought such racist ‘humor’ was anything but revolting?

“Even mainstream Republicans were embarrassed by Saltsman and they forced him out of the race for chairman of the Republican National Committee,” said Noble. “I would hope that South Carolina Republicans would be as outraged as we are about Bauer importing some one like this to raise poll numbers. Saltsman has no place in South Carolina politics – Democratic or Republican.”

That got me to thinking — I heard about that video back at the time, but never saw it. And it occurred to me to wonder about it. I wondered, Are Phil and others just overreacting to the title? Are they being excessively PC? Is there not a room for satire in this world? Doesn’t “Barack the Magic Negro” sound like it could be relevant, cutting-edge satire of the kind that Saturday Night Live was known for in the early days (such as this)? And didn’t the phrase originate with a piece in The L.A. Times that actually did strike such an ironic tone?

But then I found the video — at least, I THINK this is the video (you know how people are always putting out different versions of things on YouTube — here’s another). If it isn’t, I hope someone will point out my error.

And when I saw it, I realized Phil was absolutely right to fulminate about this. It was everything he said it was, and a little bit more…

17 thoughts on “Andre Bauer and “Barack the Magic Negro”

  1. Maude Lebowski

    Did Saltsman’s CD contain just the song or the video you posted or a different video? Because these are two different formats/messages. The song, as written by a Limbaugh staff member, is funny satire.

    Honestly this is the kind of “reporting” that is burying The State.

  2. Brad Warthen

    I don’t have a copy of the CD. I searched for it on the Web, and found the video imbedded above and the link to an alternative video, linked above.

    But I also watched the Limbaugh monologue on it, and the song was the same.

    Are you saying there’s something illegitimate in what I posted? I’m not following. If you have a problem with the video, don’t look at the video. Personally, I wasn’t reacting to any of the images, but to the audio.

    Anyway, if there is a more legitimate, authentic, certified version of this that I should be posting, I’d love to know, because I’d be happy to post it.

    And if anyone has any information that would make me feel better about what Chip Saltsman is supposed to have done, I’d like to know about that, too.

  3. orphan annie

    Andre has demonstrated that he is what we are trying to get rid of.
    I wouldn’t vote for any human being who thinks withholding food from ” the bottom of the population” is adequate reasoning.
    Next thing you know, he’ll be traveling secretly to Argentina or P Town Maine, or San Fran…. for well ya’ll know what.
    There is not one decent candidate for Governor in my opinion.
    Write in someone with sense and decency and morals please.

  4. Karen McLeod

    Again SC provides material for The Daily Show. I hear no satire in that song, only racial stereotyping.

  5. Bart

    I had heard of the video and song but never bothered to listen to or watch the idiotic thing. My initial reaction was right – immature and typical of anyone who has no sense of satire or irony. The real insult was the insipid attempt at humor.

    However, what was said in the audio was said by blacks who opposed Obama. Some didn’t believe he was black enough, others didn’t believe he went through the struggle the way they did and was a, pardon the expression, “Johnnie – come – lately”. No credentials.

    In the end, Obama himself provided the venue for never-ending satire and ridicule with some of the statements he made. As mentioned, it was the LA Times Hollywood and politics writer, David Ehrenstein, who wrote the infamous column and coined the phrase, ‘Magic Negro’.

    What bothers me is the “faux outrage” and comments from Noble. Total BS and a strawman to boot. If anything, he is probably ecstatic over the propect of Bauer having Saltsman handling his campaign. When someone hires an idiot to run his business, failure is about the only result.

    This is just another misuse of the “racism” charge so effortlessly tossed around by everyone who has no idea of true racism actually is.

    “Outrage”, give me a break.

  6. Maude Lebowski

    From your post I wasn’t sure if you were reacting to the song or the video. Thanks for clarifying.

    “Inappropriate…revolting…racist political tactic.”

    I just don’t see it. It’s a satirical song poking fun at Farrakhan. There’s a long list of reasons why Bauer shouldn’t be elected governor but this doesn’t even make the top 25.

  7. Brad Warthen

    Actually, in searching for this I ran across video of Rush Limbaugh defending it, and he explains that the singer is supposed to be Al Sharpton. And it makes sense that way.

    The trouble is that no matter how one explains this or rationalizes it, no matter how much sense it makes, even if some of the lines make you smile, none of that erases the problem with it — and that’s the gut-check factor. It’s listening to this and thinking, a white guy did this, and sent it out to other white guys to smirk at. And that should make even those who completely get the joke wince, at the very least.

    A couple of things I need to be clear about: This song originated on Rush Limbaugh’s show, which is why he was defending it. Chip Saltsman is NOT a South Carolinian; he’s from Nashville. His claim to fame is that he ran Mike Huckabee’s campaign. His connection to the song is that he sent a copy out to friends as part of Christmas-gift CD. He dropped out of the race for GOP chairman after it surfaced.

    Finally, this is of little consequence, really. The fact that Andre said what he said about not feeding poor kids, and that he has reinforced that attitude repeatedly since and seems to be running on it, counting on the support of people who agree, is the real problem with his candidacy.

    I basically shared this because it’s the second time it’s come up, and I hadn’t listened to it the first time, and once I did, I thought I should share it with y’all.

    Oh, and you might want to check out some of the other gems from the Saltsman CD, such as “The Star Spanglish Banner,” also written by Paul Shanklin of the Limbaugh team.

  8. Phil Noble

    Thanks for covering this issue.

    Of course Saltsman’s video/song was racist. He was repudiated by his fellow republicans
    and he was forced to drop out of the race for Chairman of the Republican Naional Committee…not exactly an organization known for being overly ‘politically correct’.

    The real tragedy is that here in SC we have so-called political leaders like Bauer who either 1) know it is racist and use such tactics deliberately, or 2) are so clueless as to what constitutes decent behavior that they use such tactis and claim they are ok.

    Are they embracing racism or merely clueless – no candidate for governor should be either.

    We deserve better.


  9. Sam from SC New Democrats

    Thanks for the post, Brad. You said it best in your last comment. For some reason, Andre keeps getting a 2nd chance after these disgusting stunts. This week’s polls put Andre in 2nd place behind McMaster, and knowing how many moderate voters there are in this state who would be turned off by something like this, something just didn’t add up.

    We’re asking Andre to step up and get rid of Saltsman, there’s no place for that kind of politics in South Carolina.

    Thanks for the discussion.

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    P Town (Provincetown) is on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.

    I fear that Andre’s peeps will simply adore that he’s doing this. Obviously, he’s in a race to the bottom, as far as people with more mainstream (and when did that become a bad thing) tastes are concerned. Alas, SC is trending so far away from the mainstream, it’s about to become an oxbow lake.

  11. Norm Ivey

    “SC is trending so far away from the mainstream, it’s about to become an oxbow lake.”

    Nice metaphor, Kathryn!

  12. Karen McLeod

    Kathryn, What do you mean “about to become”? I don’t think we’re within a mile of the mainstream.

  13. David

    My reaction is “who cares?” This just pushes all of the many, many legitimate reasons to oppose Bauer to the side. All of you feigning outrage are just looking for something to get worked up over. It’s laughable.

  14. Maude Lebowski

    “none of that erases the problem with it — and that’s the gut-check factor. It’s listening to this and thinking, a white guy did this, and sent it out to other white guys to smirk at.”

    How do you know he didn’t send it to any black guys?

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