Okay, I admit it. I've been a little over optimistic. Not so much naive, but way too hopeful.
After watching Michael Steele at the State of Black America on Saturday, and Rush Limbaugh at CPAC on the Saturday night C-SPAN re-broadcast, I was hopeful that Steele as the head of the GOP, would provide his party with a sane, rational role as the loyal opposition, to the Democratic Party and Barack Obama.
No, I'm not disenchanted with the President. I believe the country will be better in the long run.
But after Limbaugh's rant on Saturday, he said the following of CBS Sunday Morning,“I'm not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don't want to be. I would be embarrassed to say that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it's in. If I were chairman of the Republican Party, given the state that it's in, I would quit. I might get out the hari-kari knife because I would have presided over a failure that is embarrassing to the Republicans and conservatives who have supported it and invested in it all these years.”
Saturday night, Steele had the chance to declare that he was the leader of the Republican Party and that Rush Limbaugh spoke for a faction that was no longer viable. On Sunday night he tried...
Steele quickly back peddled: “My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”
[Rush Limbaugh is] “a very valuable conservative voice for our party.” “He brings a very important message to the American people to wake up and pay attention to what the administration is doing," Steele said. "Number two, there are those out there who want to look at what he’s saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That’s what I was trying to say. It didn’t come out that way. … He does what he does best, which is provoke: He provokes thought, he provokes the left. And they’re clearly the ones who are most excited about him.” Asked if he planned to apologize, Steele said: “I wasn’t trying to offend anybody. So, yeah, if he’s offended, I’d say: Look, I’m not in the business of hurting people’s feelings here. … My job is to try to bring us all together.”
And for his trouble at an attempt to bring intra-party unity, the Party Chair got this:
I have absolutely no intention of making Michael Steele's leadership a preoccupation (especially now). But I'm that type of voter that abhors uncontested elections. I believe that citizens deserve a choice. I believe that all candidates should earn the votes of the electorate.
We all win when policies and messages are crafted to challenge the ideals and the imaginations of voters. The Republicans lost in November because their policies left out the majority of the country in their benefits. And while it is certainly not true of every Republican voter or politician, Republican leadership was too often viewed as divisive, mean and insensitive. A culture of greed, materialism and excess helped drive the economy into a ditch so deep, that extreme corrective spending by the Obama administration is no absolute guarantee to bring us out. And even now, they are being viewed more as obstructionists than a loyal opposition.
They have the chance to do something other than yell the same message louder.
The entertainer of the faction that brought about that loss disagrees. The newly elected leader of the party can't seem to find his voice and declare a new day.
It's pretty unfortunate....