Candidate for RNC Chair Chip Saltsman Stirs Controversy with “Star Spanglish Banner”


Video of song featured on Chip Saltsman’s “holiday cd”

At a time when the GOP should be warming up to key Latino and immigrant voting blocs, Chip Saltsman-candidate for the next chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC)-chose to ring in the New Year with a song called “The Star Spanglish Banner.”  Saltsman, who is also known as the former head of the Tennessee Republican Party who managed the Mike Huckabee campaign, included the song on his controversial holiday CD that he sent to RNC members as a Christmas gift.

The story-which NDN’s Melissa Merz officially broke-exposes yet another example of the xenophobic and bigoted rhetoric put forth by reckless public figures that has fueled rising hate crimes and violence against Latinos.  Today’s Huffington Post‘s head-lining article, “Star Spanglish Banner: RNC Candidate Chip Saltsman Causes Immigration Stir,” described the song as:

“…a generally derisive take on Latino immigrants, composed by Paul Shanklin, the same musical-comedian who penned ‘Barack the Magic Negro.'”

Aside from blaming the whole controversy on “media boredom during a slow news week,” Saltsman maintains that the song was “as a good-humored, albeit ill-conceived, joke.”  However, many of his GOP colleagues aren’t laughing.  Mike Duncan-who is seeking another term as RNC chairman-responded to Saltsman’s behavior with the following statement:

“The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party…I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction.”

The Huffington Post also aptly points out that:

“it [the song] hits at the core of what observers inside and out of the GOP see as a major party problem: their incredible failure to win Hispanic votes in the 2008 election…Hispanics, of course, are the fastest growing constituency in the United States and a cold shoulder to them — whether in the form of a musical parody or through immigration reform policy — is not something the Republican Party can afford at this or any juncture.”

The 2008 elections clearly demonstrated the growing power of the Latino, Asian, and immigrant vote. Not only did these groups turn out in record numbers, they also overwhelmingly rejected anti-immigrant politicians who attempted to use immigration as a wedge issue through hateful campaign rhetoric that is perceived as quickly becoming an unhealthy trademark of the Republican Party.  In fact, its future largely rests in prevailing over vitriolic rhetoric and immigrant-bashing and working with Congress to champion the common-sense comprehensive immigration reform that most Americans-immigrants and native-born-are asking for.

The lyrics follow below:

Jose can you see
By the dawn’s early light
Cross the border we sailed
As the Gringos were sleeping

What broad stripes and bright stars
We like red, green, and white
On the day that we marched
We were gallantly screaming

And the rally was where
We waved flags in the air
As proof in daylight
That our flag was not theirs

Jose does that star spangled banner yet wave
For the land of weak knees
In DC, no one’s free

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