The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


In Case You Missed It

Steele assumes 'the Heisman position'

Updated 1:09 p.m.
By Perry Bacon Jr. and Garance Franke-Ruta
The chairman of the Republican National Committee took a victory lap Wednesday morning.

"Assume the Heisman position. Yeah baby. That's my moment," said Michael Steele on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," crowing over GOP gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey.

As for a Democrat winning New York's 23rd district in a special-election contest -- the first such win by a Democrat there since 1872 -- Steele said, "We'll be back in that game next year. We'll take the seat back. I'm not worried about that."

Later, at news conference at party headquarters, he declared the wins a rebuke to the "incredibly arrogant government in Washington."

"As recently as a couple of months ago, Republicans were being written off," he said. "Many of you were writing our epitaphs."

Steele said he did not consider the election outcomes a personal rebuke of President Obama, but rather a response to the policies Democrats have been pushing through Congress. (Polls show Obama remaining popular in both Virginia and New Jersey.)

Steele also blamed a "botched process" for the loss in New York, where county chairmen tapped moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava. Republicans in the district and nationally insisted she was not conservative enough and backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, who went on to lose to Democrat Bill Owens after Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed Owens.

Steele dismissed the comments of conservative activists, including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who said Hoffman's rise was a victory for the party's emerging Tea Party conservative movement, even though Democrats won the seat.

"I don't see a victory in losing seats," Steele said.

Posted at 12:15 PM ET on Nov 4, 2009  | Category:  In Case You Missed It
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I don't know who's worse, Michael Steele or Sarah Palin....I mean seriously, next he's going to be tap dancing, doing soft shoe and putting black face on his already black face.

He must be all-the-riot at RNC parties....just like a court jester. Hey, if he likes it, I love it! Do you Mike....

Posted by: massmedia77


These comments are flat out racist and of the worst kind. I would report them, but it is good for the young to see real racism as it exists today under the veil of Liberalism. You disagree with Michael Steele, fine. He is a man. You have just reduced him to a black boy who is off the Democratic plantation and, therefore, fair game for any bit of prejudice and bigotry you want to throw his way. Can't you take on his ideas or are your ideas so weak that you must resort to denigrating him in a manner most vile? Pathetic.

Posted by: kctaz | November 5, 2009 3:02 PM

Steele makes me feel good all over. He got two states with serious finicial problems and his governors are going to HAVE to consider tax incresaes or watch their states go into major service cutbacks and education problems. Both have to deal with at least one house in the legislature being under democratic control, so they are going to HAVE to work with the other party, thereby ruining their purist bonifides.

McConnell benefitted from Deeds keeping a very popular president at arms length through most of the campaign, and Christie got the benefit of lots of really public politiccal arrests. Of course, Christie himself is still under a cloud. Should he have to step down it gets particularly amusing.

And Steele thinks Hoffman's loss in New York is easily dismissable.

With political acumen of this caliber I just quake in my boots when I think of Steele masterminding the Congressional Campaigns next year.

The next twelve months ought to be quite amusing, from this Dem's point of view. Christians throwing themselves to the lions on a regular basis, and the return on Danton and Robespierre and their madame guillotine. As Republicans regularly shorten each other, verbally of course, by a head now and then Politics ought to be fun the way GOP intended.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 4, 2009 11:35 PM

Keep on sleeping on that side, mijo.

Posted by: gwcox2 | November 4, 2009 7:49 PM

The Republican Party is tone deaf. They do not listen and only shout the same distortions of the truth that they heard from their leader whose job is in talk radio talk radio.

Bring up a subject here where they have not been told the "answer" and they are either silent or combative with name calling and such.

A civil discussion would be as foreign as a conversation in French.

Posted by: Gator-ron | November 4, 2009 6:02 PM

i would say that this is EXACTLY what republicans need, to display diverse leadership. for those that say steele did nothing, read that:

Posted by: willsrw | November 4, 2009 5:51 PM

opearson your comment is ridiculous. i don't think you understand politics.

Posted by: willsrw | November 4, 2009 5:47 PM

congrat to the republicans who won in Virginia and New Jersey,, rnc chairmen should worry about his job the election that counted was the one in New York 23d and the democrasts should be worry about 2010 they need to get thier act together jobs, healthcare the banks wall street the people are speaking out due to the republicans are already in the wilderness and they want the democrasts to know they need to get the looks of someone like joe liberman out of power and take away his chairmanship people aren't playing they want change and they are going to get it it not the old way any more we voted for change and if you aren't for us you are against us, [palin, glen beck rush limbaugh, the tea party people arent sway anyone the people are tired rep. boehner, cantor and some more should be worry about thier seats you will not sat in washington d.c. and line your pockects with special interest money you are here to serve the people of this country and if you don't want to or afraid to you don't need to be in office so all you that are in the congress and Mr. president get your act together it take the [WHITE HOUSE ALONG WITH CONGRESS TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO GET PEOPLE BACK ON JOBS AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE REFORM THE HONEYMOON IS OVER WE THE PEOPLE ARE TIRED SO PEOPLE CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND WOMEN AND LET THEM KNOW AS WELL AS THE PRESIDENT KNOW WE WANT THING OR THE CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN EVERYTHING WON'T BE DONE OVERNITE BUT JOBS, HEALTHCARE, CALLING IN THE LOAN TO THE BANKS ON THE MONEY THEY GOT TO HELP THEM OUT NEED TO BE PAID BACK BECAUSE THEY SURE AREN'T HELP THE PEOPLE, THEY ARE KILLING PEOPLE WITH THE $35.00 FEES GETTING BONUS FOR SETTING ON THIERS BUTTS WHEN IT WAS THEM WHO GOT THE BANKS IN THE TROUBLE WHO DOES THE PEOPLE HAVE TO HELP THEM AM VERY ANGRY AND WE THE PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BE THE ONE SUFFERING.

Posted by: nyokadavis | November 4, 2009 5:39 PM

Steele, it kind of early to celebrate because it is basically a draw.
Winning the governor's race means nothing(Congress's action is not decided by the governor races) because Corzine was faring poorly long before this election came around. Christie on the other hand, more of a problem or two, campaign promises that smack to the reality of handling the budget/tax issues and possible court indictments for his work in the Bush DOJ.
VA- not much to know here because the losing candidate did poorly and that allowed winner to squeak by.

You will have to contend with the conservatives in other races coming next year and they won't take it lying down either.

Posted by: beeker25 | November 4, 2009 5:23 PM

Michael Steele is a complete joke. Unprofessional and completely lacking in political acumen. The Democrats shot themselves in the foot when Deeds they elected Deeds in the democratic primary. Poor choice...poor result.

Posted by: ib1greatdoc | November 4, 2009 5:15 PM

Much ado about nothing. The GOP lost in NY's 23rd Congressional district. This was after Palin and the RNC cast aside the local GOP leaders' choice and backed their own neocon candidate. Does that say something about the people's support of the dying GOP? The seat had been held by the GOP since Ulysses S Grant. Was this win a rebuke to "incredibly arrogant government in Washington?" The were two Congressional races yesterday and the results were:

Democrats - 2

GOP - 0

What was Steele and the GNC's hoopla about?

Posted by: AugustWest1 | November 4, 2009 5:03 PM

I don't know who's worse, Michael Steele or Sarah Palin....I mean seriously, next he's going to be tap dancing, doing soft shoe and putting black face on his already black face.

He must be all-the-riot at RNC parties....just like a court jester. Hey, if he likes it, I love it! Do you Mike....

Posted by: massmedia77 | November 4, 2009 4:57 PM

Exactly what did Steele do? This guy is little more than a figure head, and winning two governorships while lose two House seats is hardly worthy of a "victory lap".

Steele is just lucky to have a job that overpays him for his modest talents.

Posted by: AxelDC | November 4, 2009 4:55 PM

Michael "Carlton" Steele... the face of black republicanism..... an absolute cartoon character...

Posted by: seakeys | November 4, 2009 4:49 PM

Two governorships going Republican can hardly be called a great victory. Apparently both Democratic candidates had serious issues not related to their political beliefs and they rightly lost the election. I think it particulartly interesting that the much ballyhooed election in upper New York State where Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and other far right wing-nuts went to get their far right candidate elected....failed. An overwhelmingly Republican district voted for their first Democrat since 1870 ! Wow. Now that's news worthy!

Posted by: logcabin1836 | November 4, 2009 4:44 PM

Michael Steele so wants to believe he has influence and power. He doesn't realize he is just the blackface make-up the white republicans are hiding behind as if they're in a minstrel show. It's like they want Black America to believe they are progressing in race relations and we should fall for that garbage. We're not that easily fooled.

Posted by: gitouttahere | November 4, 2009 4:43 PM

Hey Mike - you kind of remind me of the Iraqi General who insisted they were beating and whipping the Americans, all the while US tanks and infantry were approaching right behind him.

Except I think that General had more credibility than you. At least he didn't do a Heisman pose, all the while losing ANOTHER H of R seat to the Dems.

You and the Iragi general, Mike.

Posted by: ScottChallenger | November 4, 2009 4:41 PM

Go on Mike. I'm so proud of you. You got to be smarter than you appear to be. The Heisman position seems(to me) to be a bit more upright than the one you appear to have assumed. History aint on your side Mr Steele. Make hay while the sun shines. When your dirty work is finished your masters and mistresses have sucessors in line, white ones that suit the image of the Party that they tell you is the Party of Lincoln. President Lincoln, as you may know, was involved in the decision to go to war over the abolition of slavery. He fought those who wanted to continue the slave industry and as you may know, defeated them. You may have heard of the Civil War. The Party that you are said to lead is post reconstruction...KKK, Jim Crow, segregation and all those things that your Party supports. I may be missing the other colored person that your party may have in leadership besides yourself. I know thaT there are none in Congress. Good luck, my brother. There aint no way but up for you.

Posted by: Draesop | November 4, 2009 4:40 PM

Victory lap? It was a stalemate. The GOP got two governor's mansions, but the Dems picked up one seat by accident and went even further left in another (CA-10). CA-10 is the race we should be analyzing, since it was red 12 years ago and voted heavily for Ahnold more recently. It could have gone red again, but it didn't.

Posted by: dkp01 | November 4, 2009 4:37 PM

God Bless Mike Steele, the village idiot of American Politics.

Striking the "Heisman pose" is kind of like the University of Florida screaming "We're Number One!" after an opening season win against Towson State.

Posted by: SwellLevel5 | November 4, 2009 4:36 PM

This imbecile was a such a masterstroke for the Pubs to choose as their party Chair. He makes Howard Dean look like Churchill. Go DEMS!

Posted by: elkofan | November 4, 2009 4:35 PM

Steele will do nothing but bring the Republicans lower then they are now, he's a complete idiot. Yes Virginia has a Republican Govenor and poor New Jersey will have to have a special election because Christie is under investigation for crimes committed during his work with the Bush Administration. Christie's close work with Karl Rove has caught up with him. Now Steele forgot two Congress seats were won by Democrats and even one Republican dropped out and supported a Democrat.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | November 4, 2009 4:24 PM

Wow, this guy, Michael Steele is really an imbecile. Victory lap for two gubernatorial wins? I am glad he is so ridiculous out of touch that he thinks the wins yesterday mean something. This is typical of the modern republican party. The voter turnout in Virginia was abysmal. Corzine had low favorability ratings, of course he was going to lose. So now, Michael Steele is assuming th Heisman position for two weak, pathetic wins. Please.

Creigh Deeds, the loser in Virginia could not have campaign any poorer. His campaign should be used as the model for HOW NOT TO WIN an election, and Steele is excited. Man, the republican party is really at a low if they are celebrating this.

Posted by: ajackson3 | November 4, 2009 4:24 PM

Assuming the state of the electorate based on republicans winning VA and NJ is kind of equivalent to the democrats assuming the state of the electorate based on them winning Massachusetts or Maryland in any given election. When a republicans win Mass or MD then they can strike the Heisman pose Mr Steel. When Erlich won MD thats when republicans were on top. Winning VA is basically par for the course because the reason VA started voting democrat is because of their discontent with the Bush administration more than anything else. VA votes republican all the time, even during part of Clintons tenure as presiden. It did not carry over nationally. Like I said when you win the democratic states then you are actually making ground. Right now the GOP is merely making up for what it lost the last three years. If I can use golf terms to sum up the GOP victories I would say you were plus par before the tuesday elections, now you are a little closer to even, yet far from under par or the top of the leader board. You have work to do to get there.

Posted by: ged0386 | November 4, 2009 4:12 PM

"incredibly arrogant government in Washington."

biggest dumbass statement of the day, but coming from a republigoon, it is par for the course...i guess he would prefer to go back to the halcyon days of industry writing the laws of the land and republigoon representatives do nothing...then, they could really crash and burn this country

Posted by: dac04 | November 4, 2009 3:54 PM

I wish he would assume the position and I had a handy phone pole.

Posted by: EdSantaFe | November 4, 2009 3:51 PM

Oh, please, please, please Chairman Steele, please take credit for this mediocre off year election... see you when it counts, buddy.

Posted by: ccs4756 | November 4, 2009 3:40 PM

Dear Mr. Steele, since you had nothing to do with these victories, don't you dare take credit. You sir are a joke to the Republican Party and need to step down so we can get a real leader up there who will not stray from what we are all about.

Posted by: opearson | November 4, 2009 3:24 PM

Please Steele , please not the stereo typical black jock thug celebration .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | November 4, 2009 3:19 PM

This is like Jerry Brown gloating over the success of Prop 13 after moonbeam fought it all the way .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | November 4, 2009 3:14 PM

Steele is such a jerk.... crowing about the governorships but disregarding the loss... the HUGE LOSS.... in upstate New York.

Posted by: EdSantaFe | November 4, 2009 3:14 PM

Yo Steele, don't you remember that you are not allowed to disagree with Palin!

Posted by: olddogsarebest | November 4, 2009 3:07 PM

In SE DC a black man assuming the position means one of two things.

1) He's on the down low
2) He's about to spend the weekend with his cousins Ray Ray and Fat Daddy in GenPop.

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | November 4, 2009 3:06 PM

steele should just assume the position. BFD. Every race in modern history in these two states the party that took the WH loses the gov mansion. Means nothing, and certainly not anything relating to natinal politics. VA was about a nitwit Dem and a republicon who lied through his teeth. NJ is about property taxes. And just wait until christy tries to do what he is proposing. You see, he left out the other half of his agenda. He wants to lower taxes, but in order to do so he woulhave to gut the school system in NJ, defund highway and environmental protection and a host of other things that will have the citizens at his throat in no time. The realit of governing is far different than a campaign. And in NJ those things will not sit well. And he will have a wholly Democratic leg to contend with. Guessing they won't be much inclined to take his lead....

Posted by: John1263 | November 4, 2009 3:02 PM

The only position Steele should be assuming is that of a center, since he is regularly cornholed by his GOP superiors.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 4, 2009 2:52 PM

Uh, Mike?
Botched process? What would you call it when two guys, each of whom has a chance of winning a general election, take each other out during the primary so that a guy who has already lost statewide gets the nomination? That's what happened in Virginia.
Have you noticed that most Americans seem to want health care reform and a public option? If they get it this year, the administration gets the credit and win or lose, those who stood in the way will be punished at the ballot box in 2010. If the economy continues its slow improvement and we see jobs produced instead of abolished, the administration gets the credit, and whether there's improvement or not, those who favored doing nothing get punished at the ballot box in 2010.

Posted by: jlhare1 | November 4, 2009 2:51 PM

Don't assume that position yet. 2010 is a year off - plenty more time for third-party, right-wing conservatives to mess up more races like the 23rd district.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | November 4, 2009 2:46 PM

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