With the proviso that I don't know anything about the people involved, I will say this controversy seems to be about nothing.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele accused a leading Democratic
congressman yesterday of racial insensitivity for saying the Republican
candidate has "slavishly" followed the GOP.
Steele, an African
American running for the U.S. Senate, was reacting to remarks by House
Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who characterized Steele this week as
having had "a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party."
To say someone is "slavishly following" or showing "slavish devotion" is so common that I think you have to give the benefit of the doubt that the intention was not racial. Here are some Google searches:
This is perhaps the dumbest fake-racial-gaffe since the kerfuffle in Washington about the word "niggardly" or the airline passenger lawsuit against saying "eenie meenie minie moe." I could not find even one article in a quick scan that seemed to have any racial context -- these are merely very common phrases used in political discourse because they imply someone is somehow an unthinking tool of some organization rather than a person who thinks for himself.
By the way, it's illuminating to see the Republicans play the race / political correctness card in the
heat of political battle just as fast as the Democrats would. Which, ironically, seems to be just as fast as Democrats are willing to play the "Don't vote for the gay guy" card, which is usually thought of as a Republican political tool. Can anyone still believe that there is any real difference between the two parties?