Michael Steele NRC Chairman!


Michael Steele by NewtonStein at Ministers-Best-Friend.com

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Is He An Affirmative Action Republican Party Chairman?



WASHINGTON — Just a few weeks ago, Michael Steele became chairman of the Republican National Committee with a vow to "go off the hook" and bring a little more "hip hop" to the Grand Old Party.

The first black man to hold the position while the first black president occupies the White House, Steele's hard-fought appointment was intended to show younger, increasingly colour-blind Americans that the Republican party is no longer the domain of 50-plus white men.

And yet Steele, Maryland's lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007, has been stumbling spectacularly during his short time at the party helm. Some RNC members have called on him to resign, and Washington is now abuzz with rumours that his involuntary ouster is already being plotted.

The trouble started almost immediately, when Steele began bad-mouthing the party he'd been entrusted to promote.

"You have absolutely no reason - none - to trust our word or our actions at this point," he told Fox News last month.

Those remarks, along with Steele's assertion that the Republican party needed to go to rehab, came amid the suggestion of past scandal.

Steele, who ran for the Senate in 2006, was implicated in a possible swindle involving campaign funds being funneled to his sister's defunct company, which never performed any services. Monica Steele was once married to heavyweight champ Mike Tyson.

Steele has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. And the whiff of scandal surrounding him, in fact, has paled in comparison to his next misstep: insulting the Republicans' de facto spiritual leader, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

"Let's put it into context here," Steele said on CNN when asked about the Democratic campaign to assail the polarizing and divisive Limbaugh as being representative of Republican values.

"Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it's incendiary. Yes, it's ugly."

The party cringed, fearing the sizeable donations from Limbaugh's estimated 20 million fans would decrease as a result of Steele's remarks. Limbaugh, naturally, responded with ferocity.

"Why are you running the Republican Party?" he roared on his radio show. "Why do you claim you lead the Republican Party when you seem obsessed with seeing to it that President (Barack) Obama succeeds?"

While many Americans and even moderate Republicans agreed with his assessment of Limbaugh, Steele nonetheless soon issued an apology to the radio host that merely served to annoy those sympathetic to the RNC chairman as well.

"To the extent that my remarks helped the Democrats in Washington to take the focus, even for one minute, off of their irresponsible expansion of government, I truly apologize," Steele said.

"My intent was not to go after Rush - I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh."

Dawn Turner Trice of the Chicago Tribune criticized Steele for the apology, reminding readers that Limbaugh once told a black caller to "take the bone out of his nose."

"By apologizing to Limbaugh ... Steele lost credibility and showed that he was concerned less about expanding his party's tent than about alienating the party's conservative base, a.k.a. Limbaugh's huge radio fan base."

This week, less than 24 hours after attempting to dispel rumours of a non-confidence vote about his leadership, Steele was back in hot water again.

In an interview with GQ magazine, Steele said he was pro-choice - an all-but-verboten stance for a top Republican - and added that he didn't think homosexuality was a choice.

When asked if women have the right to choose abortion, Steele replied: "Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice ... yeah, absolutely."

Not surprisingly, that remark was met with howls of protest from Republicans, even though Steele quickly issued a statement seeking to make clear that he opposes abortion rights.

"For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it's a violation of the most basic of human rights - the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said Mike Huckabee, a social conservative who ran for the party's presidential nomination last year.

The must-read D.C. political blog, Wonkette.com, perhaps best summed up Steele's latest gaffe:

"Ever since 1776, the Republican Party platform has rested on a single idea: No abortion, ever," Wonkette joked.

"Does he even know what a Republican is?"



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