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May 11, 2009

It's Time for Steele to Go

Jay Cost says so, and I'm persuaded. In just the space of a one minute answer, Steele manages to accuse the GOP base of religious intolerance and accuses Mitt Romney of being a dishonest flip-flopper.

As Cost notes, either or both of those things may be true, and are fair comment. (Yeah, way too many people are way too bothered by Romney's Mormonism, and yeah, he flip-flopped.)

But as he also says: Under no circumstance should such statements be coming from the RNC chair.

On the issue of flip-flopping - all signs point to Mitt Romney having an interest in a future presidential candidacy. He might very well succeed where he failed last cycle, becoming the 2012 Republican nominee. That would make these comments quite unfortunate. One could imagine the DNC working this into a general election campaign ad. The kicker is pretty obvious: "Mitt Romney's own boss doesn't think he's honest. Why should you?"

Second, the RNC Chairman has no business talking about a tension that exists within his party, unless the goal is to minimize it.... [I]t's bad for the party's image. If you're trying to woo marginal voters, you don't want to emphasize the fact that groups within the party have conflicts. Think Progress headlined its clip of Steele as this: "Steele Calls GOP Base Bigoted, Says They 'Rejected' Romney Because They Have 'Issues With Mormonism.'" Republicans should hope that the mainstream press does not run with Steele's comments, as it will only forward the "GOP is shrinking and narrow" meme, which he has actually helped along in the past.

I doubt very much that the party will suffer any long run damage from his most recent comments. The problem is: if he will say something this now, what's to stop him from flapping his gums when it could do the party real harm? What if, for instance, he mouths off one night backstage at the 2012 convention in front of a Politico reporter? That'd be a great story for the party during it's crucial week of self-promotion!

As I was quoting that, I was about to write "As an RNC Chairman, Michael Steele has been a great talk-show host." But Cost already made this point. I'll direct you there rather than quote more of it.

I have defended this guy at every turn. Or, well, most turns. This is the last straw. Michael Steele is the latest person who needs to learn the lesson It's not all about you, dude.

He seems to believe that he is so magnificently charming and persuasive that he can gain voters by being overly candid and overly "interesting" as a speaker. And, if he had one quarter of the charisma he seems to believe he's been blessed with, he might be right.

But he doesn't, and he's wrong. He's not particularly charismatic and he does not have the skills to turn these dangerous statements into rapport-building assets. They just continue to gather on the ground like unexploded grenades.

Give him the talk show he so plainly craves -- you can't separate this guy from a microphone with a crowbar -- and get someone less "interesting" and far less taken with himself as chairman. I'm tired of Steele's increasingly Wapnerian Rain Man act.

Thanks to someone, and also via Hot Air's headlines.

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posted by Ace at 01:52 PM

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