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Tilting at Windmills

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June 23, 2010

STEELE URGES 'TRUST' OF WALL STREET.... We talked yesterday about Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's appearance on CNBC, where he argued in support of George W. Bush's job-creation efforts -- apparently unaware of how spectacularly those policies failed.

But as it turns out, Steele had another interesting insight to share during the same interview.

RNC chair Michael Steele defended Wall Street as the creators of wealth in a combative interview today while urging the Obama admin not to "demonize" and "demagogue" against a system that plunged the economy into recession.

In a stop on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Steele attacked government spending and the admin, all while urging more trust in Wall Street.

"Don't trust the federal government to get it done. We're here on Wall Street. We are on Main Street. Trust those people who built the economy in the past. The federal government has never created one job that is sustainable long term."

"Good luck telling the American people to trust Wall Street to create jobs," shot back host Erin Burnett.

Good luck, indeed. I haven't the foggiest idea why Steele says things like this. Steele may not remember 2008, but it was an unregulated Wall Street that brought the global economic system to its knees. Americans bailed the financial industry out, and then the industry hired legions of lobbyists to work with Republicans to kill efforts to bring some safeguards and accountability to the system.

Michael Steele wants us to "trust those people"? Does he not realize that the public is generally not fond of Wall Street right now?

There's also, of course, the larger matter of where Republicans' loyalties lie. When it comes to the BP oil spill disaster, Republicans side with the oil industry. When it comes to the economy, Republicans side with Wall Street. When it comes to health care, Republicans side with insurance companies. When it comes to energy policy, Republicans side with polluters.

I've seen the polls, and I know which way the partisan winds seem to be blowing, but this has to be the strangest election-year message I've ever heard.

Postscript: Just as I finished typing this, I see an item from Sam Stein noting that Steele is slamming the Obama White House today for not "cracking down on Wall Street" enough. This comes less than a day after Steele slammed the Obama White House for being too tough on Wall Street.

Our political system would be so much more effective with a serious, credible opposition party. What's become of Republicans is genuinely sad.

Steve Benen 9:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Our political system would be so much more effective with a serious, credible opposition party. What's become of Republicans is genuinely sad.

That fact that the bearers of this message appear to have a significant chance of regaining control of the House is frightening. I suppose it's possible that once people start paying attention in the fall the incoherence will begin to have an impact, but it's working FOR them so far.

Posted by: drkrick on June 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK
Steele is slamming the Obama White House today for not "cracking down on Wall Street" enough. This comes less than a day after Steele slammed the Obama White House for being too tough on Wall Street.

That was yesterday. You need to quit dwelling on yesterday's news. Sheesh. You liberals.

[snark off]

Posted by: a different phil on June 23, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Trust Wall Street!" That Michael Steele, ever the performance artist. The gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 23, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

The White House or BP - which of the two would Steele put his trust in? His answer says volumes about his views of our society, and I do not like it one bit!

Arrogance and privileged naivety are at the core of Republican values - that's why they are so quick to judge difference and to hate otherness! How ironic for Mr. Steele! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on June 23, 2010 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

What's become of Republicans is genuinely sad.

It is sad, but it is even more sad that they keep getting elected.

Posted by: qwerty on June 23, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Steele isn't going to be consistent about Wall Street-- consistency is for people who are interested in policy. But Steele is interested in getting rich people to contribute to the Republican Party (Wall Street's not so bad!) and he's interested in winning elections (Wall Street is full of evil criminals who live in New York!).

Posted by: MattF on June 23, 2010 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

"The federal government has never created one job that is sustainable long term."

True dat. Remember the big hoopla when NASA announced the creation of a measly 7 new jobs? Well, there ain't much call for pilots who can fly Mercury capsules anymore. Nice going, government.

Posted by: Grumpy on June 23, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

...he's the pied-piper for stupid people.

Posted by: andyvillager on June 23, 2010 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Also Steve, Steele seems to have his Fantasy World History all confused too. In the same interview he claims George Bush created "a lot of jobs." In reality, Bush's job creation was 0.28%. The worst ever. And far less than Hannity's claim that Bush created 10 million new jobs.

Posted by: Chris- The Fold on June 23, 2010 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Trust in Wall Street has proven to be a dangerous thing. Obviously he is aiming at a certain group of people but come on - talk about tone deaf.

Posted by: ET on June 23, 2010 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

What's sad is that pundits/experts are saying that they will slay the Dems this November and the Dems are cowering.

Posted by: Alli on June 23, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Michael who?

Posted by: Monty on June 23, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Reply to qwerty's 10:02 AM post: And the principal reason why that happens is because contrary to what rightwingers WANT us to believe, REPUBLICANS CONTROL THE MEDIA, starting with Rupert "Herr Goebbels" Murdoch. His News Corporation empire is POSITIVELY ENORMOUS -- IT REACHES ALMOST 75% OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION! Here are the other four RIGHTWING REPUBLICANS who control what Americans see, read and hear daily:

Jeff Bewkes (Chairman & CEO of Time Warner)
Bob Iger (Chairman & CEO of Disney)
Sumner Redstone (chairman & majority stockholder of CBS Corporation and Viacom)
Jeff Immelt (Chairman & CEO of General Electric)

Posted by: Rich S. on June 23, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Steele is fronting a popular trick posed by Rightist defenders of the casino class: lump all "investment" type behavior together. This leads to frauds like lower capital gains taxes. But speculation, trading, financial manipulation etc. do not build jobs like start-up capital or pragmatic business lending does. The Right wants to pretend there is no fundamental distinction between the two types of financial activity.

Posted by: Neil B 23 on June 23, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

I do not understand why the GOP can get away with calling Dems the party of bank bailouts on the campaign trail AND court these very same institutions - and sell the idea that stricter regulations for wall street is bad.

I get the fact they dont like regulation because it some how is un-American to have rules and regulation some how puts jobs at risk, but did all GOPers run for government these days just to undermine it? Use Federal funds to support a free falling economy and NOT want to work on correcting flaws in the system that allowed a free fall in the first place?

Posted by: Mick on June 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, Steve ... don't you remember? It was Fannie Mae and ACORN that crashed the economy!

Posted by: karen marie on June 23, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

I keep expecting Michael Steele to say something like, “I’m not really a politician - but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night”. Except the people in those commercials are usually scary smart, and Steele is the polar opposite.

Seriously, he’s like some guy who just wandered in off the street, and is determined to see how long he can keep up the pretence of following what’s going on. There have been dozens of comedy flicks with the same plot. The people I’d expect to see jacking him up are the Republicans, because that’s who he’s making look foolish. The only real alternative explanation is that they keep him around just for his politically agreeable skin tone.

Ummm…..guys? There’s more to it than that.

Posted by: Mark on June 23, 2010 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

calvin remembers when consorting with known prostitutes was seen as being rather unseemly.

Posted by: calvinthecat on June 23, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

i'd be laughing if i thought this kinda behavior was gonna cause republicans to lose seats this fall...but i know better. the disconnect between the white working class men who vote gop and the leadership's corporate fluffing is breathtaking...
heckuva con, mikey!

Posted by: dj spellchecka on June 23, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

How ignorant does one have to be to vote for a modern-day Republican? Yes, it's a rhetorical question, but maybe someone can surprise me and quantify it.

Posted by: cb on June 23, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Great article... that he gave the opposite speeches proves again, they are just attacking anything and everything... without saying anything of substance at all. I'd prefer the Greens against The Democrats. With the present oil disaster just barely beginning to register, the Greens could have a chance?

Posted by: John Scott Ridgway on June 23, 2010 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "Our political system would be so much more effective with a serious, credible opposition party."

That's exactly why I support the Green Party.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 23, 2010 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure Republicans would like little contradictions to be dismissed as "that's just Michael Steele, he is an idiot."

Unfortunately for them, he is the person who was chosen to lead the most important national organization in the Republican party. Also, his incoherence on policy issues is entirely typical of the party as a whole as seen in the debates on health care, jobs bills, the gulf oil disaster and just about every other issue.

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 23, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. SecularAnimist, the Green Party is not and never has been a "serious, credible opposition party".

At a minimum, to claim that title, they need to win at least a few elections to national offices, or maybe win actual control of just one state legislature.

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 23, 2010 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

tanstaafl,

I suspect your goals are what Secular Animist is hoping to accomplish with his support. You must start somewhere. The winner-take-all system here in America makes the two goals you propose nearly impossible and not just for the Green party.


As for Steele, is he suggesting we dump all those temps we have on the payroll with the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines? Are these jobs unsustainable? I've heard some lib'ruls say so, but I've never heard a Republican suggest that our military was so fragile and undesirable.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on June 23, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

The people of Wall Street are creators of wealth. They are also takers of wealth. However, they are not sharers of wealth.

Posted by: chrenson on June 24, 2010 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

Making up that Bush created jobs? Check
Making up that we should trust Wall Street when he simply is supporting firms that pay him? Check
Stupidity all around? Check

Posted by: Aious on June 24, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK
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