The Republican Party’s new social network wants photographic evidence and an answer to the question “Why are you a Republican?” (good question). Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele brings the hip to this new Facebook for white people with a blog titled “What up?”

This is clearly an attempt to broaden the party and capture some of the heat generated by all those young’uns with their status updates and their poking. The Democrats used similar strategies to great effect in the 2008 election, but there they had a special advantage: Nothing brings people together like disapproval of George W. Bush.

Update: The racial politics of this redesign are a lot more interesting than we first realized. Sure, we saw the carousel of brown faces atop the page, but wrote it off as an exercise in tokenism. Looking over the “accomplishments” page, however, it’s pretty clear that the GOP is taking a paintbrush to history. The party that has exploited the political upside to racism since the Voting Rights Act and Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy is now the party that freed the slaves and founded Howard University. The same page attempts to show the party’s embrace of Latinos, women, Jews and Asians.

Did you know, for example, that Octaviano Larrazolo, a Republican, served a three-month term in the Senate?

Of course the site also lays claim to the “achievements” we normally hear Republicans boasting about: The Reagan tax cuts, the Bush tax cuts and the Iraq war are all there. Somehow Iran-Contra didn’t make the list.

Update 2: Well that didn’t last. Michael Steele’s blog is now “Change the Game.” What Up with that? — PZS



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