By Larry Elder
“Do you feel that, as an African-American, you have a slimmer margin for error than another chairman would?”
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was asked this question on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The RNC reimbursed a staffer — since fired — $2,000 for a trip to a Hollywood club featuring topless dancers, simulated sex and S&M scenes. So the Democrats/lib-media broke out the good china.
Steele said: “The honest answer is ‘yes.’ It just is. Barack Obama has a slimmer margin. A lot of folks do. It’s a different role for me to play and others to play, and that’s just the reality of it.”
Good grief. So he and Obama, as fellow blacks, ride in the same boat on troubled racist waters? More people than not voted for Obama because of his race. And given the ever-concerned-about-being-perceived-as-racist GOP, Steele’s race was also a plus — enabling the party to say, “Hey, we’re racially inclusive, too.”
Steele could have said: “Yes, there is a slimmer margin of error — but not because of racism. It comes from the double standard applied to Republicans. I’ll give you just one example. Republican Mark Foley resigned from Congress because of sexually explicit Internet messages to an underage intern. It was such a big media-driven scandal that it helped Democrats regain control of Congress. His Democratic successor, a married man, put his mistress on his congressional payroll. When he fired her, she threatened to sue, and he paid her a six-figure settlement. Not big news.”
He could have said: “According to a Web site by Republican David Frum, the DNC has spent lavishly on parties, travel, hotels and limos — including $6,000 at a D.C. club with stripper poles and go-go dancers. But I guess Democrats and strippers don’t make news like Republicans and strippers.”
He could have said: “For crying out loud, it’s 2010. This is America, where more than anywhere else — regardless of race, ethnicity or gender — you are rewarded or punished based on your performance. Losers whine and make excuses. Winners don’t.”
He could have said: “Gee, when Republicans preach hard work, accountability and strong family values, they call us scolds. When we let our hair down and show that we’re receptive to alternative lifestyles, they call us hypocrites. Can’t win. Seriously, Democrats and their media friends would like nothing more than to divert attention from what’s really going on — the fierce opposition to this administration’s massive expansion of government. Nothing less than the future of the country is at stake, and we’re going to take this country back.”
He could have said: “Black Republicans pose a special threat because black Republicans disarm the left wing’s weapons of racial grievance and the victicrat mentality. Black Republicans are a scary bunch. They don’t follow the script by blaming everything on race, as if nothing’s changed. Like a gay who supports traditional marriage, a Latino who wants the borders secured first, a woman who is pro-life, or a poor person who doesn’t want to soak the rich — we threaten groupthink and identity politics.”
He had a teachable moment — and he blew it. This says a lot about why Steele worries so many. A March National Journal poll of about 100 named “Republican insiders” found that 71 percent considered Steele a “liability.”
Already under fire for incurring expenses thought excessive for travel and lodging, Steele caught flak for the money spent redecorating his office and for the time spent promoting his book.
A major complaint involves Steele’s acceptance of money to give speeches. While this apparently does not violate committee rules, former RNC chairmen disapprove.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., who ran the RNC under President Ronald Reagan, said, “Holy mackerel, I never heard of a chairman of either party ever taking money for speeches. The job of a national chairman is to give speeches. That’s what the national party pays him for.”
Jim Nicholson, RNC chairman from 1997 to 2000, said, “(The position) demands so much of your time that you can work 24/7 and not get everything done, so taking time out to speak for the benefit of one’s own bank account is not appropriate.”
Rich Bond, 1992-93 RNC chair, said, “It just doesn’t look right using RNC resources and trading on the title of chairman to make outside money.”
Steele blames his difficulties on the “African-American … slimmer margin for error” — the same hazard that Obama deals with. Honestly. From the traditional media to the punditry class to academia to the monologues of late-night comics, never has any president enjoyed a more groveling, fawning, obsequious, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil, see-no-evil quasi-deification.
How long before the Democrats use Steele’s own words to attack Republicans, tea partiers and others for refusing to accept that a black man has been elected president?
Steele faces Republican trouble from Republican unhappiness about his Republican leadership. This has nothing to do with race. By raising it, he diminishes himself, his party and his country.