Posts Tagged ‘Michael Steele’
June 6th, 2011 at 11:28 pm
Raising (or is it Lowering?) the Bar for Public Shame
Posted by Print

Monday’s news cycle has been very good to two men who don’t receive a lot of sunshine in their lives these days.

The first is former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was in a New York City courtroom this morning to plead not guilty to the charge that he sexually assaulted a Big Apple hotel maid. While his circumstances are still unenviable, the media spotlight abandoned the French financier in favor of the equally prurient Anthony Weiner, the Democratic New York congressman who admitted at a press conference earlier today to committing every gross act you already suspected he committed. The irony must be galling to Weiner, who, had he followed Strauss-Kahn’s lead and pursued a career in French politics, would doubtless be up for a cabinet position after his recent revelations.

The second is Michael Steele, the former RNC chairman whose two-year tenure was marked by a parade of rhetorical gaffes and accusations of gross mismanagement. Steele, however, looks like a man with the message discipline of a Soviet apparatchik in comparison to the new DNC chairwoman, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

As our own Quin Hillyer has repeatedly (and persuasively) argued, Wasserman Schultz is a public official who elevates inanity to an art form. Prior to today, her most egregious exercise in vapidity had been her characterization of Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare:

[Republicans] would take the people who are younger than 55 years old today and tell them, ‘You know what? You’re on your own. Go and find private health insurance in the health care insurance market. We’re going to throw you to the wolves, and allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for pre-existing conditions.  ‘We’re going to give you X amount of dollars and you figure it out.’

Asinine and, as is now well-documented, totally wrong. But if Wasserman Schultz seemed to have found a floor for exhibitionist stupidity with that remark, she has now gone subterranean. Asked this weekend about the possibility of stricter state voting laws, this was the controlled implosion that ensued:

“Now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally — and very transparently — block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than Republican candidates,” she told host Roland Martin on “Washington Watch” this weekend [emphasis hers]. “And it’s nothing short of that blatant.”

Some remarks speak for themselves. But just a few notes for the gentlewoman (I suppose) from Florida:

  1. The word “literally” only has one meaning. This isn’t it. No matter what Joe Biden has told you.
  2. If Republicans actually were enthusiastic about Jim Crow laws, they’d have to take tutorial sessions from Democrats — who actually authored them.
  3. On behalf of all conservatives everywhere … please do more media availability.
January 14th, 2011 at 7:20 pm
RNC Picks Priebus for Chair; Let’s Hope It’s a Quiet Ride

Today, members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) chose Wisconsin GOP leader Reince Priebus to replace Michael Steele as chairman.  After a two-year tenure filled with allegations of mismanagement Steele needed to go.  With Priebus in charge, it would be an improvement if this is the last most people hear about the RNC chairman until the 2012 general election.

November 15th, 2010 at 12:38 pm
DeMint Positioning Himself as a Conservative Kingmaker

There may be no politician more adept at turning Tea Party popularity into actionable results than Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).  Yesterday, the conservative icon took the unusual step of publicly withdrawing his support of his party’s fundraising head, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.  There are good reasons to do so, but by publicizing his displeasure DeMint is serving notice on the rest of the GOP that he is ready to push for a more robust conservative presence throughout the party’s apparatus.

With his Senate Conservatives Fund DeMint went head-to-head and beat several GOP primary candidates supported by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, led by fellow Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).  With freshman senators like Florida’s Marco Rubio, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, and Utah’s Mike Lee owing much to DeMint’s patronage, expect to see the junior senator from South Carolina take on a much bigger role in deciding his party’s next presidential nominee.  If DeMint manages to replace Steele with a RNC Chairman of his choosing, he will be better positioned than any conservative in the party to make a serious run for the nomination.

H/T: Roll Call

February 16th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
A Movement of Principles

During a presidency characterized by vapid rhetoric, it is inspiring to consider the ongoing discussion among movement conservatives to define themselves with statements of substance.  Glenn Beck outlined the 9 principles and 12 values animating the Tea Party set.  Newt Gingrich is calling for a new Contract with America.  Members of the Religious Right are nearing a million signatures for the Manhattan Declaration.  RNC Chairman Michael Steele is promoting a 10 point Republican checklist.  And on the eve of this week’s CPAC Convention, several prominent conservative leaders will sign and publish the Mount Vernon Statement.

All of this is good.  Each document shows that the Right is driven by ideas about the human person, society, and government.  All of these statements attempt to bring together an understanding of our nation’s founding principles with an application of them to the current era.  In its own way, each affirms the conservative belief that first principles need not be held hostage to recurring problems masquerading as new crises.  That there is disagreement, even bitterness, is good because from it comes a more definite understanding of a coherent political philosophy.  So, the next time you read about the “conservative crack-up,” read one of these documents and delight in the knowledge only one of the two major movements in this country has the courage – and the ability – to argue about first principles.

January 8th, 2010 at 6:09 pm
The GOP Power Vacuum

Who says the Republican Party is a staid, top-down organization that values order over creativity? With the announcement of his book on how to regain majority status, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has something for everyone in the GOP to be shocked about. For congressional leaders it’s that Steele didn’t consult them before publishing it. And for conservative activists the most surprising thing about Steele’s book is that it indicates that at least one person in the party’s establishment has actually committed a plan to paper.

So why is Steele now claiming that he “wrote the book before he became chairman?” Granted, most chairmen keep a low profile while raising huge sums of money in order to let the politicians grab all the headlines. But come on. It’s not like the current congressional leadership has shown a knack for implementing winning campaign strategies the last two cycles. In fact, so far the most consequential decision made by the National Republican Senatorial Committee was not to spend money in contested Republican primaries because of the backlash from conservative activists and Tea Party members.

Maybe Steele shouldn’t be so public about pushing one specific plan for winning elections. Maybe he should sit back, collect checks, and let minority leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Boehner (R-OH) find a path back to power.

Then again, maybe not.

August 24th, 2009 at 4:19 pm
RNC Releases Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights

In an op-ed published in The Washington Post today, RNC Chairman Michael Steele highlighted details of a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights.”    

Protecting Our Seniors
GOP Principles for Health Care

By Michael S. Steele
Monday, August 24, 2009

 Americans are engaged in a critical debate over reforming our health-care system. While Republicans believe that reforms are necessary, President Obama’s plan for a government-run health-care system is the wrong prescription. The Democrats’ plan will hurt American families, small businesses and health-care providers by raising care costs, increasing the deficit, and not allowing patients to keep a doctor or insurance plan of their choice. Furthermore, under the Democrats’ plan, senior citizens will pay a steeper price and will have their treatment options reduced or rationed.

Republicans want reform that should, first, do no harm, especially to our seniors. That is why Republicans support a Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights, which we are introducing today, to ensure that our greatest generation will receive access to quality health care.

Read the full article here.

Read the plan’s six principles here.