Last week, former defeated Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan said on a radio show, "We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work. There is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with."
Not surprisingly, Mr. Ryan came under scathing attacks for his not-subtly coded references to black people in his discussion of "inner city" and "black people." Even Ryan himself acknowledged that what he said was "inarticulate."
Interestingly, this harkens back to his running mate, Mitt Romney, calling his now-infamous complaint against "the 47%" as "inelegant."
Inarticulate, inelegant, inner-city, it's not the "in's that are the problem. It's what comes "out" of their mouths that keeps hurting Republicans.
And so it was that Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus came rushing to the defense.
"Paul said he thought it was inarticulate, but quite frankly, Democrats are lying in wait as well to pounce on whatever might be off tone," Priebus said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.
Yes, those mean, nasty Democrats. Lying in wait, ready to pounce on whatever Republicans say. How dare they?! Don't they know that lying in wait, ready to pounce on what Republicans says is rude, mean and just not playing by the rules. Don't Democrats know that they shouldn't criticize what Republicans say, think or do? Especially those pesky things that might be "off tone."
After all, "tone" doesn't really matter, it's merely tone. Like when former GOP presidential nominee John McCain -- a man who almost had his finger on the button -- described Russia the other day as "a gas station masquerading as a country," that was just tone. And tone doesn't matter. Had he actually won the election and been president, it shouldn't have bothered Russia one whit, since it was just tone. They shouldn't have been lying in wait, ready to pounce, just because it was "off tone." Not beefed up their military and security, because of tone. It was just tone, for goodness sake.
Tone doesn't matter. It's nothing more than tone. Go to any "inner city"-like area and refer to what may be its black residents as perhaps "you people who used to be child-like, happy slaves reliant on your betters" and you'll be able to talk your way out of being pummeled to a bloody pulp within an inch of your life by explaining that you were just being off tone, nothing more. It's just tone. Tone doesn't matter.
That's why those meanie Liberals shouldn't criticize poor, ol' Paul Ryan for what he said. Shouldn't lie in wait, ready to pounce. Because Republicans, after all, would never, ever, never think of lying in wait, ready to pounce at anything Barack Obama said.
I mean, for goodness sake, there are times it seems like that's all that some Republicans do. For many Republicans, it's almost a cottage industry. For others, it's a reason to live. Why they wake in the morning. Before he was even president, Barack Obama simply gave his wife a fist bump, and the Republican Crisis Center began calling them both terrorists. Mr. Obama didn't even have to say a word. Honestly, I don't know if you can even make a fist tap off tone.
Mr. Priebus went further, doing his best to explain why Paul Ryan was so off tone.
"Why was Paul even talking about this? The reason he was talking about it because he's devoted a large part of his life, starting back when he worked with Jack Kemp, on finding ways to tackle poverty, to free up capital, to create opportunities in urban areas around this country."
Ah, so that's why. Though Mr. Priebus left out another reason, "And he was pandering to his racist, radical Far Right base." (Many of whom not only understand racial code, but speak it as a first language.) Besides, he could have also added that among the ways Rep. Ryan was tackling poverty was by cutting unemployment insurance and voting against stimulus programs that would help create jobs.
But that's what he meant, no doubt. He was just off tone.
Off tone. It’s the difference between lying in wait, and lying.
In fairness, Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, Moderates and most sentient humans don't really have to lie in wait for Republicans to say things that are off tone and then...pounce! All they have to do is sit around and listen.
No waiting necessary.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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