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January 05, 2010

Steele: I Don't Know if the GOP Is Ready to Lead (But It Doesn't Matter, As We're Not Going to Win Either House of Congress Anyway)

Not sure which way this should cut, as Steele's statement should please the harder-core by suggesting the GOP needs to be more strongly committed to conservative principles before it's worthy of leading.

But I know which way it will cut. Another gaffe.

Appearing on Sean Hannity's nationally syndicated show the same day his new book, "Right Now," hit store shelves, Steele said the GOP is set for "nice pick-ups" in the House. But, he said, at the moment there aren't enough candidates to take out enough Dems.

"I can't give a number [of seats the GOP will win] yet, because like I said, we're just now beginning to look at the races," Steele said. Asked if GOPers will take back the House, Steele confessed: "Not this year."

"I don't know all the candidates yet," Steele continued, according to a transcript of the show. "We still have some vacancies that need to get filled, but then the question we need to ask ourselves is: If we do that, are we ready?"

In fact, when Hannity followed up on the point, Steele said he doesn't know if the GOP is ready to take back the reins of power.

"I don't know. And that's what I'm assessing and evaluating right now. Those candidates who are looking to run have to be anchored in these principles," he said, referring to 5 conservative ideals he lays out in his new tome. "If they don't [anchor themselves], then they'll get to Washington, and they'll start drinking that Potomac River water, and they'll get drunk with power and throw the steps out the window."

It is the latest in a series of comments Steele has made that have GOP strategists on Capitol Hill privately fuming...

Members of Congress and top GOP aides are livid with Steele's latest comments. Buzz early Tuesday surrounded just how aggressive Congressional aides and political strategists should push back, a delicate task when Steele controls the RNC's purse strings.

I continue to believe Michael Steele has an entirely-wrong view of his job's responsibilities. The job is to promote the GOP, not promote himself. I don't like impugning the motives of an ally, but I can't help but notice he said this while promoting a book, and a political book always sells better if the author generates some controversy, maybe establishes himself as a "truth-teller," maybe picks a fight with his party.

I also notice the five principles he alludes to can be conveniently found within his book.

How these statements are intended to advance the GOP's cause I could not possibly hazard a guess. Hope is the fuel of political campaigns -- even before Captain Wonderful -- and telling your base "We can't win" is also telling them "Save your money and save your volunteering-time for more worthy causes."

The only mitigation I can see is that these are, I will guess, Steele's real, honest opinions.

But the job isn't about his real, honest opinions. The job is about promotion. And a promoter doesn't go out and offer his real, honest opinion that his organization is selling a defective product.

I had earlier thought Steele hadn't resolved the dilemma of promoting himself versus promoting the GOP. Now I think he has resolved it just fine, just not in the way I'd like.

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posted by Ace at 11:05 AM

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