The video you see above is the featured song on HipHopRepublican.com, a site catering to young African Americans through policy, politics, and popular culture. Fittingly and ironically, the song (which has its share of expletives littered throughout) is titled "On My Own," by an artist who I'm not sure is a Republican or not. But that fact doesn't matter to the folks at HHR, who chose the video because "the song explains the idea that nothing is handed to us, everything is earned through struggles and hard work." To borrow from Shakespeare, that's a certain text.
The Horatio Alger homily has long been key to how Republicans appeal to African Americans. The pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps story, however, signifies something different to young people who likely have never worn a bootstrap in their lives. That notion itself has an absurd source, drawing from a old story of a man pulling himself out of certain death in a swamp by his own bootstraps -- an impossible action. This is the basis upon which Republicans see an avenue to appeal to African Americans. Both Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and President Obama have recently underscored the fact forcefully, and you've seen the blowback Republicans have given them. They don't want America to think that they can't do anything on their own, or -- and here's the key -- that they need government to actually function properly for our American society to function properly.
Black Americans remain, for the most part, resistant to the myth and also to Republican candidates. But today, Melissa offer a Teachable Moment and will host three conservatives in a discussion about being Republican while also black. That's one of the highlights of a great show we have planned for you, including an extensive preview of the Republican National Convention (whenever it starts), a look at the "shadow party" controlling the GOP with their checkbooks, and a Footnote on the notion of freedom, which you will not want to miss.
Our guests will include:
- Cornell Belcher, Democratic strategist, and pollster and consultant for Obama for America.
- Karen Finney, columnist for The Hill, former DNC communications director, and MSNBC political analyst.
- Amy Holmes, former speechwriter for former Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, and currently an anchor for GBTV's "Real News" at Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze.
- Buddy Roemer, former Louisiana governor and 2012 presidential candidate. Currently chairman of TheReformProject.org.
- Zephyr Teachout, associate professor of law at Fordham University.
- Robert Traynham, former communications director for Rick Santorum, and an MSNBC contributor.
- Joe Watkins, Republican strategist and former George W. Bush aide.
As always, folks -- be sure to interact with us during the show here in the comments of this post, on Facebook, and on Twitter, using the hashtag #nerdland. We look forward to having you join us at 10am ET on msnbc!