Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 15, 2010

MICHAEL STEELE, TIME TRAVELER.... Last week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele insisted that he wrote his new book "before I became chairman" last January. That seemed like an odd claim, given that much of the book includes descriptions of major events that happened throughout 2009.

Yesterday, the time traveling chairman was at it again.

In June 2009, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) announced at a press conference that in the previous year he had "violated the vows" of his marriage by carrying on an affair with one of his campaign staffers, who was married to one of his Senate staffers. It was later revealed that Ensign had his parents pay the couple $96,000 and arranged for his former legislative assistant, Doug Hampton, "to join a political consulting firm and lined up several donors as his lobbying clients." Ensign and his staff then "repeatedly intervened on the companies' behalf with federal agencies, often after urging from Mr. Hampton."

In an interview with RNC Chairman Michael Steele taped this week for "Face to Face With Jon Ralston," Ralston asked Steele if he would be "outraged" if "a Democratic senator had an affair with a staffer, had his parents pay her off, fired both her and her husband who worked for him and then tried to get the husband jobs." First, Steele claimed he didn't know who Ralston was talking about. But when Ralston said it was Ensign, Steele said it didn't have an "opinion" on it because he "wasn't chairman of the party at the time all that took place."

Ralston said, "What are you talking about? It took place last year." To which Steele responded, "I wasn't chairman of the party."

Here's my follow-up: if it wasn't him, who does Steele think was the RNC chair last summer?

Steve Benen 11:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

Telling you, he's a Time Lord!

I think the RNC hopes he does this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnFAJOKF074

Posted by: Wannabe Speechwriter on January 15, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

He had the nerve to say: "What are you talking about?" That's some journalism there! Is this Face to Face a TV show? Radio? When is it on? I'd like to check it out.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on January 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

The MSM really does like to play gotcha journalism with conservatives, doesn't it?

Posted by: Al on January 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK
if it wasn't [he], who does Steele think was the RNC chair last summer?
Maybe it was the "sinister force" who Alexander Haig speculated might have caused the 18.5-minute gap in the Watergate tape. Posted by: navamske on January 15, 2010 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

am always reminded of that phrase:
"Gee what a fucking idiot"

Posted by: john R on January 15, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

2007 measurements article production 2005 sources

Posted by: lynnetfral on January 15, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

You fell for it. He successfully dodged the question. This was a small "how can he say that?!" diversion.

Posted by: Rathskeller on January 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

It's such a comedy delight, one hardly knows where to start. He can hyperventilate about Reid but can't say a peep about Ensign. No matter when he started as RNC chair, he could give an opinion.

And he was elected on...1/30/09.

Hilarious.

I hope he stays forever.

Posted by: Miss Otis on January 15, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Steele wasn't chairman during the unauthorized boning in question. However, everyone with a brain knows that's not what the question referred to.

Posted by: Grumpy on January 15, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Your good morning aphorism

A country is in deep trouble when its various leaders willfully lie in front of cameras.

Posted by: koreyel on January 15, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

What Steele is doing is the same thing Bush/Cheney/Rove did for 8 years, change the facts, rewrite history, repeat, repeat, repeat - he just does it really badly and unless you're drinking the Kool Ade, you're not able to hear the truth in the lies.

Posted by: bcinaz on January 15, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Steele said it didn't have an "opinion" on it because he "wasn't chairman of the party at the time all that took place."

Because as we all know you have to be chairman of the party to have an opinion on it...

Posted by: Stefan on January 15, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps you are misoverestimating the intelligence and malevolence of steele. 1. he wasn't chairman in 2008; he hasn't quite adjusted to it being 2010, so when he heard the question he quickly thought I can duck it because it happened last year (2008) before I was chairman and had to have an opinion.
He thinks like Stefan (not)"Because as we all know you have to be chairman of the party to have an opinion on it..."

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on January 15, 2010 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Steele said he "wasn't chairman of the party at the time all that took place." Which is correct. The ensign stuff took place from 2005 to 2008.

Ralston got it wrong when he replied "What are you talking about? It took place last year.".

It did not take place last year. This is just crap journalism.

Your "follow" is nonsense too since it did not take place last year.

This whole post is just Fox-style red meat misinformation.

Repeat after me 100 times: "Reporters are NOT the center of the universe. The reporting of an event is not the same as the event itself."

Posted by: Observer on January 15, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

'Steele said he "wasn't chairman of the party at the time all that took place." Which is correct. The ensign stuff took place from 2005 to 2008.' - Observer

Yet Steele did have an opinion of Reid's faux pas, which also happened in 2008. He is such a cad.

Posted by: Marko on January 15, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK
Repeat after me 100 times: "Reporters are NOT the center of the universe. The reporting of an event is not the same as the event itself."

The reporting of an event is not the same as the event, it is a separate, and often politically more significant, event of its own.

And, very commonly, it is the event that causes people not directly involved in original event develop an opinion of that original event.

Having an opinion about an event is usually triggered by learning about the event.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 15, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

@ Observer

Nice try at false equivalency, but Grumpy beat you to the punch @11:53

Posted by: oh my on January 15, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK
Because as we all know you have to be chairman of the party to have an opinion on it...

Thanks, Stefan. I was wondering why I never had an opinion on anything, and now I know. Now if I could just figure out how I feel about that fact.

Posted by: noncarborundum on January 15, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

did Ralston follow up with: that's irrelevant. I asked your opinion? sure hope so.

Posted by: daphne on January 15, 2010 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Observer, the description was "at the time all that took place." "All that" (the "issue") includes Ensign admitting it, not just when he did it. It's like, when a trial takes place, or the academy awards are announced, not just the original events.

Posted by: neil b on January 15, 2010 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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