Free Markets, Free People

Michael Steele

Michael Steele – shut up and raise money

As I’ve mentioned in past criticism of Michael Steele, his job isn’t to go around making controversial statements, his job is to quietly raise money for the RNC.

Apparently, the money raising isn’t going that well, but the controversial statements – abundant.

Steele’s latest:

In his comments caught on camera at a fundraiser in Connecticut, Steele said Afghanistan was “a war of Obama’s choosing” and “not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.” He also questioned Obama’s strategy. “If he’s such a student of history,” Steele said, “has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right, because everyone who has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.”

He also called the relief of Gen. McChrystal “comical”. 

I’m not sure what Steele is thinking when he says Afghanistan is a “war of Obama’s choosing”.  We’ve been on the ground in that country since 2001.  Nor do I understand what is meant by “not something the US had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in”.  Again, we’ve been in country since 2001 and we’ve been prosecuting a war there.  Perhaps not to the extent that some would prefer, but to claim it isn’t something “actively prosecuted” is nonsense.  Pure, utter nonsense.

Now I’m pretty sure what he meant by a “war of Obama’s choosing” is Obama thought Afghanistan was a much more important war than Iraq.  But that’s not how it came out, did it?  Instead it make Steele look dumber than a box of rocks.

Lastly, the history lesson – it implies you don’t try because history teaches us those who have done so, have failed.  Well, yeah, but their aim wasn’t nation building, it was conquest.  Speaking of students of history, you’d think Steele might see that as a significant difference.

He’s right, there are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.  Dozens.   But, in the end, do they support the endstate goal of a country that can self-sufficiently govern itself, protect itself and not allow terrorist organizations a foothold there?

For the vast majority of them – no.

It becomes evident that even the tone-deaf Michael Steele has figured he stepped on it big time when a statement like this is issued on his behalf:

Steele later issued a statement saying he supports the president’s strategy in Afghanistan. “The stakes are too high for us to accept anything less but success in Afghanistan,” he said.

Of course the DNC didn’t waste anytime in cashing in on the bonanza of stupid Steele had provided:

“The American people will be interested to hear that the leader of the Republican Party thinks recent events related to the war are ‘comical’ and that he is betting against our troops and rooting for failure in Afghanistan,” the DNC communications director, Brad Woodhouse, said in a statement. “It’s simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement. Michael Steele would do well to remember that we are not in Afghanistan by our own choosing, that we were attacked and that his words have consequences.”

Unfortunately the GOP can’t argue with a single word or thought within the statement.  In fact, they’d have issued exactly the same sort of statement had it been the chairman of the DNC saying such nonsense.

William Kristol and Liz Cheney are among a chorus of Republicans calling for Steele to resign after the remarks.  Perhaps it is time for the GOP and RNC to hire a less controversial chair whose orientation is more on raising much needed funds  and less on making dumb statements that embarrass the party and have a tendency to hurt fund raising efforts.

~McQ

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Incompetence is color-blind

I am so sick of this.

Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he won’t resign despite calls for him to step down amid reports of the group’s excessive spending, adding that he and other African-American leaders such as President Obama have a slimmer margin of error because of their race.

You know, I thought (hoped?) Michael Steele was a promising pick for the GOP’s National Committee Chair. But since he’s been in charge, in a position in which his primary job is to quietly raise money for the party, he’s been anything but quiet or effective. He’s been outspoken and gaffe prone. And indications are (bondage club expenses? Clothing purchases by staffers written off as “meals” and ‘tips”?) his administration hasn’t been the greatest either.

In anyone else it’s a sign of incompetence. Michael Steele chooses to make it a matter of race.

“My view on politics is much more grassroots oriented, it’s not old boy network oriented, so I tend to, you know, come at it a little bit stronger, a little bit more street-wise, if you will. That’s rubbed some feathers the wrong way,” Steele told “GMA’s” George Stephanopoulos.

Yeah, see, that’s not the point, Mr. Steele – you’re a party fund raiser. Your job isn’t to sound off and rub feathers the wrong way. Who is the chair of the DNC and why don’t we hear him sounding off as you do?

And, btw, perhaps it isn’t just the fact that Steele is, at times, intemperate in his speech (he blurts before he thinks and then spends days backing off his blurts) but is ruining the reputation of the organization just at the time it needs strong leadership focused on fund raising for the upcoming midterm elections. Instead the GOP gets this:

Steele is under fire by his own party members for what some people consider lavish spending — $17,000 for private jet travel, $13,000 for limousines and car services and $9,000 for a trip to the Beverly Hills hotel. But the most controversial revelation was that RNC staffers spent nearly $2,000 at Voyeur West Hollywood, a sex-themed nightclub in Los Angeles. The employee who authorized the expense was fired, but then the RNC shot itself in the foot again later, sending a fundraising letter that mistakenly directed donors to call a phone-sex number.

Steele said the spending issue is being blown up “larger than it needs to be.”

“The reality of it is, when I first heard about this behavior going on, I was very angry, and we dealt with it. We got to the bottom of it,” Steele said. “We have been putting great controls in place for the last few months, as a matter of fact, on some of our financing.”

Leaders set the tone. If a leader is austere and requires the organization to be austere in its spending, then that’s normally what is done. If the example is otherwise, staffers usually reflect that as well. The fact that he claims he’s been surprised by this says he’s not monitored what is going on in his own organization.  Organizations do what leaders monitor. Most who’ve ever been in charge of any type of organization would deem the present situation to be an indication of incompetence.

And, as I said in the title, incompetence is color-blind. Steele was entrusted with a job and he’s failed to live up to the expectations of that job. That has nothing to do with skin color or “margins of error”.

~McQ

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