A guy can still hope that Michael Steele will stick around to embarrass his party at least through the 2010 midterms. Sadly, as of right now all signs point to no. The paid speaking gigs struck me as entrepreneurial and somehow fitting given the essentially criminal way that Republicans generally govern these days. Plus, all Steele has to do is make a big enough pile of money and the GOP would have to defend him. I think the surprise book is probably a bigger deal (major props to the first reader who can name Steele’s twelve steps). That and Steele’s crazy mouth give the impression of a poor team player with more enthusiasm than brains and close to zero impulse control.
So here I am racking my brain about why Steele still has his job. It’s hard to discount that Steele’s “goes rogue” a lot, in the palinesque sense that he cultivates a victim complex and routinely pisses all over his own team. And that’s while he still serves as chairman of the party. Does anyone seriously think that Steele will make a graceful exit? Still, the bad publicity will come and go, and it certainly looks more appealing than another year of embarrassing mismanagement. There must be some other reason why they don’t just rip the bandage off, take a bad news cycle and move on.
Do you think that it has something to do with the pocket veto increasingly exercised by the GOP’s empowered base loons? It seems likely that party stalwarts like Newt are terrified to find out what kind of nut it will take to satisfy Erick Erickson and his Tea Party teabaggers. Putting myself in the place of Newt and other teabag targets, this is about the last time I would want to provoke a pissing contest over who controls the party, because I doubt very much that I would win.
joe from Lowell
Michael Steele’s job is to absolve Republicans of charges of racism.
In a country in which Barack Obama is the president, and the Republicans are the party of the white South, this is an important enough job to excuse all sorts of gaffes and blunders.
The RNC is trying so hard to avoid any charges of racism they won’t fire Steele even if he skull fucks a kitten. Going into a midterm election with terminating the black guy you hired to get you through said election would be a killer for them outside of the South.
I think Newt’s waiting until things get so bad that he’s drafted as party chairman and rides in on a white horse to save them all. Steele is at least making the Newt-era GOP look competent.
Maybe best thing for next election would for Steele to go immediately. Then they would have a frank rich white racist reactionary loon in charge, especially if the South Carlonia (I hope I have that right) runner up gets it. It would be honesty in advertising.
I think part of it is an unconscious fear that tossing out Steele will provoke a backlash in the conservative black punditry. You can’t underestimate the important role the Shelby Steele/Thomas Sowell contingent play in propping up conservative self-esteem and self-delusion on matters of race.
Re : Trading Places. Eddie Murphy as Head Trader. Conversation between Mortimer brothers in bathroom : do you really think we would want a “negro” as head of our accounts? Heavens no.
That was simple racism. This is simple tokenism, Unle Tomism, House n****er, since the uppity muslim Kenyan got elected. They may be thinking that strategy has run it’s course.
It is kind of important for the country that they do have this pissing contest. For better or worse, we have a two-party system, and if one of these parties is nothing more than a white supremacist, authoritarian cult, than so be it. Just as the Baptist denomination was formally divided between northern and southern factions on the eve of the Civil War, perhaps the same fate should befall the Republican party.
The Washington Monthly article cites Steele as saying
Yeah, that’s the kind of offer you don’t ever want to make.
“they would have a frank rich white racist reactionary loon in charge”
Nasty and thuggish, I forgot nasty and thuggish. Sorry
No one else wants the job.
They can’t seriously be afraid of charges of racism by the three black pundits in the country. Or anyone else. The Republican party has shown that they are largely indifferent to accusations of racism, and there’s no way they can imagine they are going to sweep back up the “security moms” and the “suburban white women” with Steele as opposed to some more conventional white guy. I agree with John–or ws it doug?–that they are frightened of the next guy who has to pass the totally crazy teabag litmus test. They really can’t afford Steele at this point, and they know that. So they must be holding back because they fear what will come when they have to go outside the standard circuit to get some new kind of outsider who will satisfy the base.
Bill E Pilgrim
Brutish and short would be good too.
@jl: That would be Katon Dawson you are referring to, and yes, he does represent the real face of the Republican party. Better to see their real face: it is one we have all seen before.
I don’t think they’re worried about racism if they fire them, but the reverse.
They’re hoping that by keeping him, and having him screw up so much, they create a subliminal message to the country that all black politicians are screw-ups.
I’m black, male, southern, say things that I don’t believe a lot of the time, love money, and am perfectly capable of making an assclown of myself in public; can I haz chairmanship of RNC?
If the phrase 11-dimensional chess ever applied to anything, it is that.
Hillary is female – Palin is female.
Obama is black – Steele is black.
Pitiful. All the RNC has managed to do with their “me too” and “copy the Dems” moves is super-size their crazy.
Oh this would be delicious if it played out this way. I think the Democrats might actually improve their position in 2010 despite all their missteps if the GOP is run by some sort of teabagging birther loon. Maybe Orly Taitz could run for the job.
As for Katon Dawson, was he the one who sent out the “Barack the Magic Negro” cds to the RNC voters? Or was that some other nitwit?
Well, if Steele times this right, they can name the new RNC head at the Teabagger Convention in February. I nominate Michelle Bachman. I am dead certain that would be a winning pick. Shh. Stop giggling, it will give us away. Honestly.
@aimai: I’m not sure if I totally buy this, since Dawson is teabagger tested, teabagger approved. He just lost in the last round of voting to the guy the Establishment wanted, which was Steele. I think personally Dawson is just waiting until Steele gets shitcanned so he can ride in and be the savior of the party. There is also the element of trying to present a united front even though your back end is shattered into pieces.
He’s there because he’s black, of course.
He’s an affirmative action hire, in the sense of what the right-wing perceive the program is- a patently unqualified individual who got the job solely because of race. Those Republicans know irony.
Steele was on C-Span Washington Journal this morning. What a fucking oaf.
The only reason he still has a job because of the optics of a “smoke filled room” full of white men firing the black fake leader of a party. They want him to quit and taking away his financial independence didn’t work in the fall, so they’re going to try and embarrass him out.
So what happens if Dawson swoops in and takes the job? What’s the effect at our end?
Would Dawson create problems because he’d be actually, relatively speaking, good at his job?
Would he create opportunities because although he may not be gaffe-prone, he is at least crazy?
Anything to say about the guy beyond what wikipedia would tell?
@mcc: Dawson’s lazy. I watched him work in South Carolina. He’s good for a quote with his drawl, but they don’t miss him in the SC GOP because he never worked hard.
I don’t buy the race angle for why Steele is employed. The GOP’s share of the black vote is already roughly equal to Dick Cheney’s approval rating among ACLU members, so it’s not like they have a lot to lose.
It’s probably more a combination of avoiding the “disarray at the GOP” news story and avoiding the nasty fight for choosing a replacement.
trouble with that thesis is that they actually picked Steele. The only things to recommend him are his skin color and his party affiliation. Some fat white guy with similar incoherence wasn’t picked (speaking as a coherent fat white guy).
Dumping him for the equivalent of Haley Barbour is not going to be good, as they say, optics.
It was stupid to pick him. Especially when you have a hyper coherent black president. But it is gonna be hard to fire him. Which is what Steele is saying.
Oh, and if you ever see Joe Klein again, give him my best.
@Chad S: Lazy? Perhaps. But I bet he’s a good golfer.
@dmsilev: Steele isn’t there to convince black people the GOP isn’t racist. He’s there to convince white people the GOP isn’t racist.
Or the alternative argument is that Steele really was the most qualified person they find.
He may have gotten elected because he was black, but I don’t think the reason he’s still around is because he’s black. I mean, I don’t hear any Republicans these days attempting to deflect racism by pointing to Steele.
My best guess is that the base just doesn’t care enough to sack him. Sure, they see him as a buffoon and want him to shut up, but I don’t think they see him as filling some incredibly vital role that someone with some degree of competence needs. Think sort of like how MoveOn was to liberals in ’02-’04.
So the GOP is damned if they keep Steele and damned if they don’t. I love it.
@jayackroyd: I wonder if the really big issue is that they don’t really have anyone to take his place outside of the Southerners who would do the job. In all the possible replacements I’ve seen there has been one common thread: they’re all from the former Confederacy.
Anonymous At Work
The only reasons Steele’s still there are:
1. It’d be messy as hell to get rid of him.
2. The people who would get rid of him & who would replace him would be old white men. You got rid of the young-ish (middle-aged) black man running your party and are now complaining about the young-ish black man running the country.
Yeah, those are exactly the sort of news cycles that Republicans want.
And here’s the real kicker:
3. If you let a vocal minority group of the GOP get rid of your Chairman now, what happens when the new Chairman isn’t a big enough teabagger for the teabagger crowd? Or a big enough Palin-ite for the Palin-ites? You’ve turned an orderly party structure into “rule by vocal minorities”.
@beltane: He’s a good old boy who’ll follow orders and sing from the hymn book. But the optics are still bad: dumping the first black chairman for a southerner with a deep SC accent.
joe from Lowell
I picture a weaselly little guy in a leather trench coat accosting people as they walk down the street. “Hey, hey, pal, you like black guys? You like black, guys, right? Right? Well, check this out!”
“Ok ok ok, you like women? You like women? Huh? You like women, right?”
Looks like Steele will be put in trouble over the book. And he is taking the standard Palin, or Rudy, or maybe better just say GOP approach: lying like an old rug about it.
Holy Time Travel, Batman!
David Kurtz | January 8, 2010, 4:01PM
Michael Steele, … now claims he wrote the book before he took the helm of the GOP last year…. Eric Kleefeld … read Steele’s book this week…. the book is almost entirely focused on events in 2009 that happened while Steele was chairman… refers to himself in the book as, um, RNC chairman…
Michael Steele is supposed to be the Republican Magical Negro, or the Republican Obama. Instead, what we got was the wanna-be black version of Sarah Palin.
It has always amazed me that the GOP thought they could so foolishly play the race card with that appointment, but it was apparent to anyone with vision and/or hearing that he was a buffoon.
It is a pity that there aren’t more minority commentators, or opinion writers. One of them would have called him (and the Republicans) out eons ago. It is an everlasting shame, that the few black commentators that do have some national exposure have never done so.
joe from Lowell
It’s called the Bank-Shot Pander.
Remember the 2000 and 2004 Republican conventions? They rounded up every black, Republican planning board member and county commissioner in America, and sat them on the stage.
They weren’t trying to appeal to black people; they were trying to rebrand themselves as the “Totally Not Racist Anymore” party. It was an effort to win center-right white suburbanites who agree with the GOP on economic issues, but don’t want to vote for Jesse Helms.
@Tonybrown74: I may need to research this, but I recall Ta-Neshi being all over the appointment of Steele like (forgive the simile here) white on rice. And as I remember it didn’t sit well with him at all.
kommrade reproductive vigor
1. He’s an African-American and the democrats have an African-American and it would be soooo unfair if the GOPers didn’t have one too.
2. If they toss him out Palin will want the gig and they’re not THAT stupid. I think. Well … Naaah!
3. If the next election cycle goes badly for the party guess who’ll take ALL of the blame, even if candidates are filmed screwing live boys and dead girls while crapping on a stack of Bibles?
@Yutsano: When I get home this evening, I will see if I can find the clip from Rachel Maddow where she was discussing his appointment with a professor of African American studies from Princeton (I think) about this very same theory.
I want to know exactly what it would take to push Steele’s book to the top of the Amazon and NYT charts. I mean if we really want to go all Operation Chaos I’m in for two books…and none of this discount shit.
They wouldn’t get rid of a guy who currently has a bestseller would they?
kommrade reproductive vigor
We are talking about the party that dusts off the “We’re the party of Lincoln, Lincoln freed your asses, vote for us, ingrates,” ad every election cycle.
And of course Steele did pull that cute trick where he bused a bunch of homeless minorities down to Maryland and placed them at polling stations in predominantly African-American neighborhoods to hand out sample ballots that made it appear Steele was endorsed by African-American democrats. I bet they really admired that (even if it just pissed everyone the hell off and didn’t work.)
But if I were a cynical man I’d say Steele is also around (at least through the next election cycle) because he’ll be great cover when they intitiate Phase II of their minority voter relations campaign the right before election day. You know, robo-calls claiming cops are waiting at polls to arrest people with outstanding warrants, letters giving the wrong date for election day. The usual.
major props to the first reader who can name Steele’s twelve steps
First, admit you have a problem…
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
Steele still has his position because the Republicans are unwilling to admit that the only reason why he was selected as Chairman was to counter Obama as an African-American.
steele’s problem is that he’s a serial panderer. he tells whomever he’s talking to at the moment whatever it is he thinks they want to hear.
now this would not be a problem if the only people he talked to were hardcore wingnuts. but he’s supposed to be trying to “expand the base”. so when he panders to outsiders like dl hughley and like his female gq interviewer and like the hip-hop crowd, each time the wingnuts go, well, nuts.
it’s his insincerity, lack of credibility or power on one hand and his insecure, infantile and insanely jealous base on the other hand that make his chairmanship a joke.
at this point steele’s just raking in some dough to line his parachute for the jump.
I thought we had banished the term “optics.” I’ve seen it used three times in this thread already.
He doesn’t skull fuck kittens. Everyone knows Michael Steele skull fucks puppies.
I think that’s it. The GOP is a cargo cult of stupid. They don’t seem to understand that people like HRC and BHO based on policies or issues. They think it’s about identity politics, so therefore winning elections must be as easy as aping Democrats.
It’s pathetic. It’s like watching a septuagenarian put a hat on sideways and rap to his grandkids about the dangers of drugs.
The Teabaggers may yet drive Steele out: his book and book tour, and his blatant ‘shut up’ challenge is just inviting his ouster. Not to mention all the reports floating out there how the RNC is underfunded and overspending. From what I’m reading about how mismanaged the chairmanship is, even *I* want to see him gone for the good of the Republican Party, and I’m not a huge fan right now of the GOP. And while I admit I’m terrified of who could replace Steele… part of me wants the Teabaggers to get what they want, ’cause when they do the rest of the nation runs that much faster over to the other guys…
Nobody who lived in Maryland at any time from 2002 to 2006 can be surprised to watch Michael Steele crash and burn. I just hope he stays around through the midterms–that would make Dems’ jobs a hell of a lot easier.
Everybody reading this thread should donate a couple of bucks to Ben Cardin for keeping Steele out of the Senate and bequeathing him to the RNC.
But, but, but what if the kitten was white….and male?
Coulter is a white female -Hamsher is a white female
I am not sure the GOP has a monopoly.
I assume Steele will get knocked out of the Chairmanship some time this year. But the party really is in disarray. I just don’t think anyone currently has enough of the establishment in line to muster the support to do it right now. But I am sure negotiations are going on behind closed doors and something will develop within the next couple of weeks. I expect the name they settle on will be Dawson.
I can’t wait to see who gets the job next. Limbaugh? Eric Rudolph is still alive, I think; maybe they can pardon him so he can take it. What about Darlene McBride?
I desperately hope it’s the worst thug in the world they find, racist, paranoid, angry and violent, since I think that could really boil the Republican Party down to its purest and most loathesome base, and end it as a major political party.
We have a 2 party system here, for good or bad. People talk about starting a third party or trying to make the Greens or somebody a major third party, but the only third party that ever got off the ground was the Republican Party in the 1850’s, and that was because the Whigs curled up and died. That’s the only way a third party can make it in American politics: by becoming one of the big two parties when one of the existing big two folds. Even the progressives couldn’t pull off making it as a major party and turning this country into a 3 party country, even after they came in second in the presidential race in 1912 and held a sitting Republican president to 23% of the popular vote and 8 electoral votes.
I hope that if the Republicans dwindled to libertarianesque irrelevance or even died altogether, then another party could rise up to take its place as the “normal” conservative party, kind of like what the Republicans were for most of the time between 1880 and 1950 or so. Sure, they were hidebound and wrong about almost everything; but they weren’t violent or racist or calling for military coups against elected presidents. I’d like to see the party stick around as a gathereing place for the violent, paranoid racists, but one from which everybod else flees. They could elect senators and congressmen from a few states like Mississippi or somewhere, but if they become a true confederate sympathy party, even Idaho and Utah would give up sooner or later, I think, or at least I hope.
And whether we like it or not, a lot of Americans are conservative, in the hidebound and wrong about everything but not dangerous way, and they need a party, too. Maybe the Whigs could rise again, who knows? But it won’t happen unless the Republicans die. They seem to be well on their way, and I wish them all the. luck in the world in their task.
Steele is still in because the GOP is desperate to show it’s not solely the party of grumpy, racist old white guys.
But since no sane, competent black or latino is going to identify as Republican, they are stuck with either mediocrities like Clarence Thomas or freaks like Alan Keyes or Steele.
I don’t want to nitpick but I believe that technically Clarence Thomas qualifies as a freak, too.
the dude should never have quit the Bangles