Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 20, 2009

LIKE A STEELE TRAP.... It's hardly a secret that New York Gov. David Paterson (D) does not look like a strong candidate for re-election. Just this week, a poll showed 70% of New Yorkers hope that Paterson, who took office after Eliot Spitzer's (D) resignation, does not seek another term.

With that in mind, it's hardly a surprise that the White House hopes that Paterson decides not to run next year. What is a surprise is that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele apparently wants voters to think President Obama doesn't like black people.

Michael Steele said it was "curious" on why the White House would ask New York Gov. David Paterson (D) not to run for reelection in 2010.

"I found that to be stunning, that the White House would send word to one of only two black governors in the country not to run for reelection," Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), said on CBS's Face The Nation.

Steele added, "It raises a curious point for me. I think Gov. Paterson's numbers are about the same as [New Jersey] Gov. [Jon] Corzine's. The president is with Gov. Corzine."

A few thoughts here. First, Corzine and Paterson are not exactly in the same boat, and the comparison is silly. Corzine is running this year; polls show him trailing but closing the gap; and there wasn't a stronger candidate last year, waiting in the wings. Paterson is up next year; polls show him with almost comically low approval ratings; and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) is strongly favored by voters, both among Democrats and among voters in general.

Second, for Steele, who spends a fair amount of time complaining about others playing the "race card," to suggest on national television that President Obama is somehow racist against an African-American governor might be one of the all-time dumbest things the RNC chairman has ever said. And with his track record, that's no small feat.

It is, to borrow Steele's word, "stunning."

Steve Benen 1:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Comments

come on steve, you gotta give the man o steele bonus points for creativity....'cause that's the way i wear MY hat...

Posted by: dj spellchecka on September 20, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Considering Obama is bi-racial, does this make him a bi-racist? On another note CNN is firing back at Fox. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/19/cnn-ad-hits-back-at-fox-n_n_292158.html

Posted by: Dave on September 20, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Dave (@13:50) beat me to it. Obviously, Obama is so talented, he can hate both the whites and the blacks, in equal measure.

Posted by: exlibra on September 20, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's mom is white and viewers of Foxnews know that has not prevented Obama from having a deep seated hatred of white people. If you buy that claim, it would also make sense that having a black father would not prevent Obama from hating black people too.

Posted by: Chuck on September 20, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

President Obama's Islamo-fascist socialist racism is spiraling out of control. Thank goodness we have the Republican Party to stand up for people of color. ;)

Posted by: Chris S. on September 20, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Steele is a visionary on the cutting edge of political leadership. I don't doubt his statement about that anymore. It's here and in living color. Like some bad performance art movement this is truly avant gard.

Of course he was hired to play the race card, or at least hired to take potshots at a black President and not be accused of being racist.

On the other hand, what the hell is Tim Kaine doing these days? Not on my teevee anyway, that's for sure. I miss Dean.

Posted by: about time on September 20, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

"On the other hand, what the hell is Tim Kaine doing these days? Not on my teevee anyway, that's for sure. I miss Dean."

Why should he be? Seems to me that the job of the party chair is a) organization, b) fundraising, and c) being the spokesman for the party WHEN HIS PARTY IS OUT OF OFFICE.

But right now the Democratic Party already has a spokesman - his name is Barack Obama. Between Obama and Kaine, which one do you want in front of the cameras selling the party platform?

Posted by: JoyceH on September 20, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how Steele could make almost the exact same comment even in a reversed situation...

Say Obama came out in support of Paterson: Steele would certainly say "he's stunned" Obama is annointing the black candidate even though his numbers are terrible, his constituents don't want him, and he's done a terrible job..."I wonder what it is about Paterson Obama favors?" Steele would wonder aloud...

Posted by: Mr Furious on September 20, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I think it only works as some kind of satire of lefty claims of racism. That seems more likely than Steele actually thinking that Obama wants to run off black politicians. Making fun of the whole idea of *racism* resonates well with the Limbaugh listenership.

Posted by: flubber on September 20, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Commenting from the POV of a fellow AA, what Steal(e) doesn't get is that Obama tends to align himself with who he thinks is the best candidate for the job (not that he's always right.) Steal(e) has problems understanding this because it took 7 rounds of voting before he was chosen as the new head of the RNC. He knows he wasn't considered to be the best candidate for the job.

Steal(e) is further perpetuating the myth that AAs support AA politicians because they are also AA, and they are not capable of voting for a politician on where he/she stands on the issues.
Steal(e) also has an ulterior motive in this. He's not doing it to support AAs since he's never done that. He's doing it to encourage Paterson to stay in the race, hoping it will cause problems that could be used to divide the NY Democratic Party.

Contrary to what Steal(e) believes, the majority of AAs know a shyster when we see one. Steal(e) is a real-deal shyster. He'll do anything to get ahead, including kissing behinds and using his tongue to lap up the remnants of the feces left in the crevice(s).

Posted by: majii on September 20, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

TPM: "No Idea How To Title This One"

Josh Marshall:

Michael Steele accuses Barack Obama of pushing David Paterson to drop out of the New York governor's race because he's black.

Let me try Josh: Boss Limbaugh yanks Uncle Tom's chain.

(Note to Boss Limbaugh: I bet you can't make him sing a "Barack the magic negro" duet with you...)

Posted by: koreyel on September 20, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

What, Steele didn't say "Fo' Shizzle" during this interview ?

The man is clearly in danger of losing his street cred that he took so long to build up.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 20, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Thinking Americans would be wise to observe that this is exactly how Steele's party would govern if they were again given the opportunity - with innuendo, cataclysmic ignorance and no interest whatever in the plight of everyday people. Ordinary Americans are only sucked up to an average of every four years, when the Goopers need their vote. That's why Bush said it would be a lot easier if his administration were a dictatorship. It would: he could have dispensed with the hypocrisy of pretending to care once every four years.

Posted by: Mark on September 20, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Every time I think Steele has jumped the shark he gets back on those water skiis to circle back around again.

What a complete and utter tool.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on September 20, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think Obama is okay with black people, he just doesn't like handicapped people.

Posted by: dude on September 20, 2009 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

But right now the Democratic Party already has a spokesman - his name is Barack Obama. Between Obama and Kaine, which one do you want in front of the cameras selling the party platform?
Posted by: JoyceH

I'd prefer Dean to Kaine, and I'd prefer an all-hands-on-deck strategy instead of the President constantly defending Congress's various proposals that aren't directly his to begin with. Good lord, even Jesus had 12 disciples to help spread the message.

Get a clue, Joyce. If the left doesn't start organizing like the right, doesn't start marching on DC, raising holy hell, and getting reps out selling this thing, Barack Obama can be on tv all day long and it won't matter. The DC establishment (left and right) is already calling the public option D.O.A. This whole thing is beginning to look like a clusterfuck and it's all because of this"the Democratic Party already has a spokesman - his name is Barack Obama" mentality. It just isn't enough to work to get "your guy" elected and then step back and expect him to magically implement policy without further effort. Republicans understand this well, while Democrats fail. If this reform effort falls short I'll hang it around your neck and the neck of everyone here (including my own). If we're not keeping public pressure on people like Nelson and Bayh, we're not doing our job. If we're not marching on DC in numbers to beat TEA, we're not doing enough. If we're not treating this like a campaign, this will fail.

Posted by: about time on September 20, 2009 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

To about time@5.25p, I agree that the Dems have had a hard time spreading the message. We should have blanketed the airwaves with Democratic senators and congressmen, cabinet officers, etc, to say, and say yet again, about the work this administration has taken on to clean up after the mess of the last eight years.

List names of Bush officials who have screwed up, starting with Bush/Cheney themeselves. Talk about the problems of the past and what has been accomplished in the last 10 months. But the Republicans have always been better on message than we are. It is so frustrating the Obama seems to be our only messenger....

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on September 20, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Completely off topic:

Are bomb making manuals illegal to possess? By what law, if you know? If illegal, are there other examples of censored books and manuals?

Posted by: anonymous on September 20, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Steele's logic is impeccable. Therefore, the GOP trashing of, say Joe Biden, shows their deep-seated hatred of white people...

Posted by: forsure forsure on September 20, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

There was actually a point in this "interview" (if you call what Schieffer does an interview) after Steele made the remark about "one of two black governors..." that he did a little eye roll as if his words finally got back to his pea brain...MY GOD he is a stupid man! Still, the perfect voice of Repugs though!

Posted by: Dancer on September 20, 2009 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

I think that, on the strength of it, the situation seems a bit unreal. He's gotten a raw deal.
(The reasons are several, most of them federal.)

Posted by: sleepy_commentator on September 20, 2009 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree with nearly all of the takes that people have had here, including Steve Benen's. This is not confusion or stupidity on Steele's part -- because no one is that confused or that stupid.

I would say it is several overlapping things at once. First, that it's reflexive, unthinking opposition -- Obama does it, therefore it's bad -- but they're perfectly capable of reading the poll numbers and making the same unremarkable conclusions that the White House has: it would be better for the Democrats if they had another candidate in there. Second, it's a continuation of the "bitch slap" politics that the Republicans have successfully used in other campaigns. Like Lyndon Johnson and the pig fucker, they hope to get Obama or a surrogate to talk about how much they like the hapless NY Governor.

It's all part of the full court press they're using to try to destroy Obama's reputation. Previous levels of morality and decency haven't stopped them thus far: just being logical isn't even a speed bump. Steele will not get into any trouble for these statements.

Posted by: Travis on September 20, 2009 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Steele is the Zaphod Beeblebrox of the Republican Party. His purpose isn't to wield power but to draw attention away from it, through his clownish antics.

Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on September 20, 2009 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

@Bernard: Nailed it. Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Posted by: sleepy_commentator on September 20, 2009 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

I was gonna say they are like spaghetti...just throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks but ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX...yeah...it'll never be out of my head...

Posted by: SYSPROG on September 20, 2009 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Uncle Mike

Travis:

I would say it is several overlapping things at once. First, that it's reflexive, unthinking opposition.
Er no.

There is nothing reflexive or unthinking about the choice of Steele. Do you really think the republican party, whose demographic is overwhelmingly white, picked Steele on a lark? Do you really think they would have picked Steele if Biden was president?

Please. Let's not be naive.They wanted a black face. And they wanted a black face that they could control to say shit just like this. It is all premeditated so that they can play the race card over and over again, and point to their Uncle Tom simultaneously as the bright beacon of republican diversification.

Steele is a pure bred Uncle Tom that knows no shame. But he is a source of embarrassment for a ton of people. I said it upthread and I will say it again:

I challenge Boss Limbaugh to bring Uncle Mike on the show and do Barack the magic negro in duet. And then Boss Limbaugh, blow some cigar smoke in his face just to show your ownership.


Posted by: koreyel on September 20, 2009 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Koreyei - you've misread me. Steele's choice was heavily influenced by his being African American. The GOP leadership isn't all crazy, and they're hoping to stop the bleeding with the Hispanic electorate they've been trying to woo for about a decade now. It won't work for all the reasons you cite.

The "reflexive opposition" is the GOP's stance towards Obama. They are choosing to oppose 100% of what he's in favor of, even if it means they won't vote for amendments they originally demanded, even if it's bad for the country, sometimes even if it's bad for their own electoral prospects. They desperately want the magic that happened in 1994 to come true again, and a series of ferocious attacks that gave them the majority in congress again.

Posted by: Travis on September 21, 2009 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

"I found that to be stunning, that the White House would send word to one of only two black governors in the country not to run for reelection," Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), said on CBS's Face The Nation.

What an absurd little man. And this is the Republican leadership. What small, petty people.

Posted by: DelCapslock on September 21, 2009 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

Mr Furious - You nailed it . Steel is just there to enable negative comments about Obama without fear of repercussions (See a black man said it so it's OK) The party of NO

Posted by: John R on September 21, 2009 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't this why we have a primary. Let the voter's decide not the politicians.

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