Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 2, 2010

STEELE'S INTERPRETER TRIES TO CLARIFY.... We talked earlier about RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and his bizarre criticism of the U.S. policy in Afghanistan, which puts him at odds with his own party. It's only fair, then, that I note that RNC spokesperson Doug Heye has issued a statement trying to explain what Steele was trying to say.

The Chairman clearly supports our troops but believes that success of the war effort in Afghanistan requires the ongoing support of the American people.

The responsibility for building and maintaining that strategy falls squarely on the shoulders of the President. Like so many Americans, Chairman Steele wants to hear an explanation from President Obama on what his strategy is for winning the war in Afghanistan. The Petraeus hearings were an opportunity -- a missed opportunity -- to do that. Instead, all we hear from the President is criticism of his predecessor for doing exactly the same thing.

At the same time, Congress must stop playing politics with the war and provide the funding our troops need to win and come home.

Listening to Steele, and then reading Heye, it's hard not to notice that one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. (And given Republicans voting against funding the troops, Heye's conclusion seems rather ironic.)

Perhaps we're going about this the wrong way. Here are some questions for Heye to consider:

* Steele said the war in Afghanistan is "of Obama's choosing." In light of reality, and the fact that the war began nearly nine years ago, what does that mean?

* Steele said the war in Afghanistan "was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." Given the events since 2001, what does that mean?

* Steele said he considers it a mistake to "engage in a land war in Afghanistan." Does that mean he supports withdrawal? When did he reach this conclusion? Why has Steele previously suggested the exact opposite? Does he believe all of the members of his party who believe the opposite are misguided?

* Steele said there are "ways to engage in Afghanistan without committing U.S. troops." Can the RNC name some of the alternatives Republicans would support?

For what it's worth, the beleaguered, humiliated RNC chairman seems to have created yet another controversy for himself with his comments. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, an extremely influential voice in Republican Party politics, published an item online less than an hour ago, calling on Steele to resign. Kristol said the party leader's remarks are "more than an embarrassment"; they're "an affront, both to the honor of the Republican party and to the commitment of the soldiers fighting to accomplish the mission they've been asked to take on by our elected leaders."

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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Since when did the Republican party have any "honor" to forfeit?

Posted by: jsacto on July 2, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Since when did the Republican party have any "honor" to forfeit?

Since Lincoln. But Nixon, Atwater, and the rest already forfeited all of it. It hasn't had any since then.

Posted by: DH Walker on July 2, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

...."an affront to the honor of the GOP?" Uh Bill....last time anyone checked, the GOP has no honor....none, zilch, nada.

It's off the chart if you are talking about lies and hypocrisy....but honor.....milk shot out my nose!

Posted by: dweb on July 2, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Steele's interpreter?"

I think that job description is best covered by the guy at the back of the circus parade with the shovel.

Posted by: dweb on July 2, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

In light of reality, and the fact that the war began nearly nine years ago, what does that mean?

It means we were trying hard to ignore Afghanistan from 2003-2008 until Obama chose to remind us.

Can the RNC name some of the alternatives Republicans would support?

I'm not the RNC, but I imagine the main alternative would be airstrikes. Kill the bad guys (and, sure, civilians) from above without risking a single red-blooded American.

Posted by: Grumpy on July 2, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Oh? KRISTOL asked him to resign? JHC! That's REALLY rich...lollollollol...

Posted by: SYSPROG on July 2, 2010 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK
Bill Kristol: "... an affront, both to the honor of the Republican party ..."

Now, there's an oxymoron for you, couched as criticism by a guy who own perpetually shoddy work product strongly suggests that he, too, doesn't embarrass very easily.

Posted by: Out & About in The Castro. on July 2, 2010 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Nothin' to see here... STEELE IS DOIN' HIS JOB!

Posted by: steve on July 2, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Steele is clearly over his head as RNC Chairman, and was obviously only selected to make the lily-white Republican party look a little more "diverse." They guy is a national embarrassment, but as such, how is he different from most contemporary Republicans?
Ned
http://chumpsandlosers.blogspot.com

Posted by: Ned Pepper on July 2, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Steele said he considers it a mistake to "engage in a land war in Afghanistan." Does that mean he supports withdrawal?

Try not to make yourself look any more ridiculous than you have to. Any military tactician can see the Chairman was advocating a naval action.

Posted by: Mark on July 2, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I'm just confused. Steele says the Afghan War was one of choice and a mistake -- well, yes, I agree. It was a mistake to declare a land war in Asia? Yes, very true. I suppose Steele's sin is saying something that Very Reasonable Democrats won't even say right now. Otherwise, why do we need to stay?

Posted by: Tom Allen on July 2, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Rule #53 in the Spokesperson for Wackos Handbook: when confronted with a controversy created by your Wacko's sheer idiocy, be sure your response completely ignores anything your Wacko said, attacks your opponent for things your opponent did not do or say, and does both in a tone of righteous indignation and absolute justice.

Posted by: erp65 on July 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

If being an embarrassment to the Republicans is grounds for resignation, why hasn't Kristol resigned?

And ditto for McConnell, King, Bachman, Boehner, Vitter, Graham, Sanford, Chambliss, Cantor, DeMint, and so on and so forth?

Darn, how have I worked myself into a position where I have to give Palin credit for doing something right? :)

Posted by: N.Wells on July 2, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I think I kind of understand what he's getting at. He wants to say that Obama switched tactics to make Afghanistan more of a "land war," which Steele is distinguishing from the Bush approach (without spelling out how that was different... fewer troops, lighter footprint? more air less ground?). That way he could say that _this_ phase of the war in Afghanistan is being conducted by Obama's "choice," and that has gone awry.

On the other hand, his spokesman didn't say anything like that. But that's what my defense would have been.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on July 2, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

What Michael Steele can't say explicitly is that some Blacks have access to black magic powers, like voodoo.

Obama clearly sold his soul to the Devil to become President. I mean, a Black man becoming President of the United States?

Obama made this deal and the Devil caused the 9/11 attacks. And this forced the United States to invade Afghanistan.

Steele knows about this deal with the Devil because he sold his soul to the Devil to become chairman of the Republican Party.

The Devil explained the only way to make a Black man chairman of the Republican Party was to wait until another Black man sold his soul to become the Democratic President.

Steele asked if he could have sold his soul to become POTUS and the Devil responded, "Nigga, puh-leaze." And ever since Steele has been mad at the Devil.

But there is a bright side. The value of Black souls is up. Robert Johnson merely became a great bluesman for selling his soul.

Anyways, this clearly explains that Afghanistan is Obama's war.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on July 2, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Off the hook, baby!

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on July 2, 2010 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't the real news item in Steele's remarks this part: "[Afghanisatn] was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in"?

Steele goes on to accuse Obama of using Afghanistan as a pretext for withdrawing troops from Iraq. But isn't he also admitting that Bush declined to prosecute the war against al-Quaeda actively -- as Sen. McCain put it, to "muddle through" in Afghanistan -- because the war in Iraq was more important to him?

And isn't that an admission that the orthodox Republican position of the last 7 years has been to AVOID fighting against the people who were actually responsible for 9/11?

Posted by: rh on July 2, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Merely a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding layout.

Posted by: Annette on January 6, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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