Putting Michael Steele in perspective

Larry Elder writing at the Washington Examiner brings out an aspect of the Michael (“Republicans hold me to a tougher standard because I’m black”) Steele story that I had missed before. It’s not just that Steele said that he’s criticized more for his mistakes than he would be if he were white. It’s that he equated himself in that regard with Obama. Steele said that Obama has a “slimmer margin for error” because of his race. In reality, of course, Obama is the most covered-up-for president in historical memory, who is covered-up-for precisely because of his nonwhiteness. But Steele is living in a universe where he thinks that Obama, solely because of his nonwhiteness, is being criticized MORE than he otherwise would be.

Furthermore, it means that Steele is siding with Obama against Republicans, because, after all, WHO are the people who are being unfairly critical of Obama because of his race? The party of which Steele is the chairman. The mind boggles.

Naturally, it didn’t occur to anyone in the GOP national committee to ask Steele, before they elected him as their chairman: “If and when you are criticized for your job as chairman, as naturally can be expected, since all chairmen get criticized at least somewhat, will you attribute the criticism to racism?”

Based on the Steele experience, it must henceforth be assumed—let’s call it a rebuttable presumption—that any black in a leadership position over a largely white organization will blame criticism of himself on the racism of the organization he is leading. Therefore any black candidate for such a leadership position must be asked: “If and when you receive criticism for your job performance, will you attribute the criticism to white racism against you as a black?” And the candidate, in order to get the job, will have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of those hiring him that he will not blame criticism of himself on their racism.

At least, that’s the way it would be in a sane society, where white people are not despicable weenies afraid of their own shadow.

Here is Elder’s column.

RNC Chairman: Obama and I are in the same racial boat
Larry Elder
Examiner Columnist
April 9, 2010

“Do you feel that, as an African-American, you have a slimmer margin for error than another chairman would?”

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was asked this question on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The RNC reimbursed a staffer—since fired—$2,000 for a trip to a Hollywood club featuring topless dancers, simulated sex and S&M scenes. So the Democrats/lib-media broke out the good china.

Steele said: “The honest answer is ‘yes.’ It just is. Barack Obama has a slimmer margin. A lot of folks do. It’s a different role for me to play and others to play, and that’s just the reality of it.”

Good grief. So he and Obama, as fellow blacks, ride in the same boat on troubled racist waters? More people than not voted for Obama because of his race. And given the ever-concerned-about-being-perceived-as-racist GOP, Steele’s race was also a plus—enabling the party to say, “Hey, we’re racially inclusive, too.”

Steele could have said: “Yes, there is a slimmer margin of error—but not because of racism. It comes from the double standard applied to Republicans. I’ll give you just one example. Republican Mark Foley resigned from Congress because of sexually explicit Internet messages to an underage intern. It was such a big media-driven scandal that it helped Democrats regain control of Congress. His Democratic successor, a married man, put his mistress on his congressional payroll. When he fired her, she threatened to sue, and he paid her a six-figure settlement. Not big news.”

He could have said: “According to a Web site by Republican David Frum, the DNC has spent lavishly on parties, travel, hotels and limos—including $6,000 at a D.C. club with stripper poles and go-go dancers. But I guess Democrats and strippers don’t make news like Republicans and strippers.”

He could have said: “For crying out loud, it’s 2010. This is America, where more than anywhere else—regardless of race, ethnicity or gender—you are rewarded or punished based on your performance. Losers whine and make excuses. Winners don’t.”

He could have said: “Gee, when Republicans preach hard work, accountability and strong family values, they call us scolds. When we let our hair down and show that we’re receptive to alternative lifestyles, they call us hypocrites. Can’t win. Seriously, Democrats and their media friends would like nothing more than to divert attention from what’s really going on—the fierce opposition to this administration’s massive expansion of government. Nothing less than the future of the country is at stake, and we’re going to take this country back.”

He could have said: “Black Republicans pose a special threat because black Republicans disarm the left wing’s weapons of racial grievance and the victicrat mentality. Black Republicans are a scary bunch. They don’t follow the script by blaming everything on race, as if nothing’s changed. Like a gay who supports traditional marriage, a Latino who wants the borders secured first, a woman who is pro-life, or a poor person who doesn’t want to soak the rich—we threaten groupthink and identity politics.”

He had a teachable moment—and he blew it. This says a lot about why Steele worries so many. A March National Journal poll of about 100 named “Republican insiders” found that 71 percent considered Steele a “liability.”

Already under fire for incurring expenses thought excessive for travel and lodging, Steele caught flak for the money spent redecorating his office and for the time spent promoting his book.

A major complaint involves Steele’s acceptance of money to give speeches. While this apparently does not violate committee rules, former RNC chairmen disapprove.

Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., who ran the RNC under President Ronald Reagan, said, “Holy mackerel, I never heard of a chairman of either party ever taking money for speeches. The job of a national chairman is to give speeches. That’s what the national party pays him for.”

Jim Nicholson, RNC chairman from 1997 to 2000, said, “(The position) demands so much of your time that you can work 24/7 and not get everything done, so taking time out to speak for the benefit of one’s own bank account is not appropriate.”

Rich Bond, 1992-93 RNC chair, said, “It just doesn’t look right using RNC resources and trading on the title of chairman to make outside money.”

Steele blames his difficulties on the “African-American … slimmer margin for error”—the same hazard that Obama deals with. Honestly. From the traditional media to the punditry class to academia to the monologues of late-night comics, never has any president enjoyed a more groveling, fawning, obsequious, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil, see-no-evil quasi-deification.

How long before the Democrats use Steele’s own words to attack Republicans, tea partiers and others for refusing to accept that a black man has been elected president?

Steele faces Republican trouble from Republican unhappiness about his Republican leadership. This has nothing to do with race. By raising it, he diminishes himself, his party and his country.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 09, 2010 11:49 AM | Send

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