SALTSMAN GETS A BOOST…. Josh Marshall noted last night, “I think I have this right. The Republican party has decided on the racial joke issue as the vehicle to reintroduce themselves to the American people after the 2008 blowout.”

It may sound odd, but that’s the situation we’re dealing with, after Chip Saltsman, a candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, decided to distribute a CD containing “Barack the Magic Negro” as a Christmas greeting to members of the RNC. After Saltsman drew criticism from Mike Duncan and Saul Anuzis, both rivals for the chairmanship, I predicted that Saltsman would likely see conservatives “rally around him, protecting him from those who ‘can’t take a joke.’”

And with that in mind, the Politico‘s Andy Barr reports today that the “Magic Negro” flap may have “inadvertently helped” Saltsman’s RNC candidacy, with some RNC officials “rallying around” around him.

Alabama Republican committeeman Paul Reynolds said the fact the Saltsman sent him a CD with the song on it “didn’t bother me one bit.”

“Chip probably could have thought it through a bit more, but he was doing everyone a favor by giving us a gift,” he said. “This is just people looking for something to make an issue of.”

“I don’t think he intended it as any kind of racial slur. I think he intended it as a humor gift,” Oklahoma GOP committeewoman Carolyn McClarty added. “I think it was innocently done by Chip.”

Indeed, taking this to the next logical step, some RNC members are saying that Duncan and Anuzis may have hurt themselves by criticizing Saltsman’s judgment. One RNC member told the Politico, “Those are two guys who just eliminated themselves from this race for jumping all over Chip on this. Mike Duncan is a nice guy, but he screwed up big time by pandering to the national press on this.” Several more have “expressed anger toward Duncan and Anuzis ‘for throwing a good Republican under the bus.’”

So, to summarize, a leading candidate to lead the Republican National Committee promoted a song calling the next president a “magic negro.” This has improved his chances of getting the job.

Got it.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.