Monday, March 2, 2009

C.Y.I.N. Case Study - Steele Vs Limbaugh.

Well, that didn't take long, did it?

You and I both knew it would only be a matter of time before the GOP's real leaders handed poor Michael Steele his a$$ on a platter. This weekend, Steele appeared on CNN's DL Hughley Breaks The News, a show I didn't even realize had made it beyond the Obama election. Anyways, DL sorta walked Steele right into this one, and Mike, perhaps having a barbershop k-nowledge moment, took the bait.

To be honest, I don't really see anything wrong with what Steele said. He was asked a basic question, he gave an honest answer. We all know Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, etc. are little more than well paid non-union actors, but hearing it from the GOP's H.N.I.C. gives it a bit more levity I suppose.

And just as quick as you can say "Drop Squad", the GOP's H.W.I.C. just delivered the smackdown.
Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh fired back at Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Monday, suggesting on his radio show the GOP leader appears to be supporting President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"Why do you claim to lead the Republican Party when you seem obsessed with seeing to it President Obama succeeds?" Limbaugh addressed Steele.

"I frankly am stunned that the chairman of the Republican National Committee endorses such an agenda. I have to conclude that he does because he attacks me for wanting it to fail," said Limbaugh.

Late last week, Steele told CNN's D.L. Hughley that Limbaugh is an "entertainer" whose comments are "ugly."

Also on his radio program Monday, Limbaugh said Steele is being used by the "liberal media."

"Michael Steele has been around long enough to know that the liberal media will use him by twisting what I say or what others say," he said. "He took the bait, he bit down hard on the bait, he launched an attack on me, even though the premise of what was said to him was false."

“The Republican National Committee and Michael Steele need a little leadership … we’re going to have to drag them kicking and screaming back to our core,” Limbaugh said. “They are caught up in so much fear because of where they live and work in Washington, DC,” he said.

Responding to Steele’s argument that he is the “de facto” head of the GOP, Limbaugh warned: “Michael Steele — you are head of the RNC — you are not head of the Republican Party.” Limbaugh went on to say Steele would have to become President for that to happen. He also noted: “… I’m not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don’t want to be.”

“Steele is playing with fire,” said one longtime Republican adviser close to House Republicans and both Bush families. Of concern is that Steele, the party’s first black chairman, will be attacked by Limbaugh and other talk show hosts, further splitting the party…

Republicans are concerned that a feud between the national party and conservative talk radio would upset donors, who would stop giving to the party. “One possible outcome is that giving by the base, sickly for the last few years, could get even worse,” said a key GOP donor. Steele’s supporters, however, say that he is not trying to pick a fight with conservative radio and is just trying to counter Democratic charges that Limbaugh—who has engaged in a verbal war with President Obama—is the de facto boss of the party. He is also trying to put the word out there that the GOP is open to other viewpoints.
Here's the audio of Rush putting Steele back in his place.

So, in less than a month on the gig, Steele's already pissed off party leadership. The very same folks who said they admired him as a true Conservative, and proof that "not all blacks are bad, just Obama" are now calling him a RINO, and in some cases, asking him to step down as party Chair. No, seriously. Laura Ingraham called him out, the conservative blogs are turning on him, and I'm sure even our resident GOP Stan is about to introduce Mr. Steele to the bottom of the bus. This was all very predictable, and its also sorta sad.

On a somewhat related note, I wonder if this is what Obama had in mind when he threw Limbaugh's name out there a month or so ago upon his first meeting with GOP leaders as Prez. By publicly (it was a private meeting, but you know Boehner and Co. were Twittering 10 mins later) calling out such a pariah as Limbaugh, Barry made the GOP react. They could draw a line in the sand and face Limbaugh wrath, or they could stick with him and dead any illusion of inclusion and progress they're aiming for in 2012. Classic jack move, Barry. Divide and conquer.

I wish Steele the best. He's a bright guy who actually seems true in his convictions and genuinely determined the expand the scope of his faltering party. But something tells me he's about to get the JC Watts Treatment real soon, and it won't be pretty. I told ya'll this would end badly. And it shall.

They always love you, so long as you stay in your lane.

Update: Steele predictably backpedals like Troy Polamalu. Rush called and said, "Kiss my panky rang, beey*tch!" So much for that whole H.N.I.C. thing. Grow a pair, Mike, seriously. Bad look.

Question: Did Steele have any choice but to stand up to Rush? Has he likely blown any chance he had to making real progress within his party?

Limbaugh fires back at Steele [CNN]

Steele to Rush: My Bad, Homie! I'm sorry [Politico]

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