GOP Tries to Claim the Ghost of Jackie RobinsonS

The GOP's brand-spanking-new website calls Jackie Robinson a "GOP Hero." That's true! Also true: baseball's first black player said the 1964 Republican convention gave him an "understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler's Germany."

You really must check out the brand-new GOP.com, which was unveiled today. It doesn't work, of course. (It's actually called "GOP beta," which is a rich metaphorical truth.) But if you keep clicking "reload," and if you're lucky, you'll actually bring up the page and be shocked to find a tiny, adorable little Michael Steele walking across your screen and addressing you directly, in the fashion of a Princess Leia hologram, to beg for "Republican coders" to help make the site actually work, which it doesn't.

"GOP beta" will provide fodder for many days to come, but Greg Sargent at the Washington Post Company's Plumline blog has found a delightful nugget: The site's "Heroes" page features a lot of black faces, probably in order to counter the (accurate) impression that the GOP is actively courting the energy and activism of people who really don't like black presidents (we'd provide a link, but right now it says "PHP has encountered an Access Violation at 7C82A01A"). There's Frederick Douglass, for instance, who famously supported the GOP's affirmation of states' rights and opposition to the involvement of the federal government in local affairs. And there's also Jackie Robinson, baseball hero and famous Republican.

Yes, Jackie Robinson campaigned for Richard Nixon in 1960, and for Nelson Rockefeller in 1964. But Sargent points out that he was a registered independent, and dug up these telling quotes from his autobiography, recounting his experience at the 1964 Republican National Convention:

That convention was one of the most unforgettable and frightening experiences of my life. The hatred I saw was unique to me because it was hatred directed against a white man. It embodied a revulsion for all he stood for, including his enlightened attitude towards black people.

A new breed of Republicans had taken over the GOP. As I watched this steamroller operation in San Francisco, I had a better understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler's Germany.

This Robinson fellow seems like he'd be right at home at a tea party, where he would no doubt be welcomed with open arms as long as he can prove that he was born in America.

While the GOP is busy rewriting the past, it hasn't had much time to look to the future: Politico's Ben Smith went to see who was featured on its "future leaders" page, and found another rich metaphorical truth: a blank page.