NEW MEDIA, OLD RACISM…. Republican Party leaders have gone to great lengths to urge party activists to use tools like Twitter and Facebook to get their political message out. On the one hand, the GOP’s rank-and-file have paid attention and taken the leaders’ advice. On the other hand, it’s the messages that have become, shall we say, problematic.

Yesterday, it was a prominent South Carolina Republican who used his Facebook page to liken First Lady Michelle Obama to an escaped gorilla. (He proceeded to blame Obama for his comparison.)

Today, a different prominent South Carolina Republican operative had shared this all-caps message via Twitter:

Just heard Obama is going to impose a 40% tax on aspirin because it’s white and it works.

He later acknowledged that his comments “were hurtful, wrong and have no place in civil discourse.”

And making matters slightly worse, this comes the same day a Republican staffer for a Tennessee state senator emailed a “composite picture of the country’s 44 presidents, which represents President Obama with only a set of eyes,” in what was clearly another racist message. The staffer backpedaled, not by denouncing the racist image, but by explaining she sent the email to the wrong list of people.

I suspect this isn’t what Michael Steele had in mind when he vowed Republicans would go “beyond cutting edge” in using technology.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.