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The Real Steele

Maryland Democratic Party insiders are fuming about a photo that's been running on Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele's website that shows Steele and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer grasping arms during a light moment at an event in Bowie.

The flap over the photo, first reported in The Washington Times, has escalated because Steele has kept it up on his site despite a request from Hoyer to have it removed. Steele's folks evidently like the image, in as far as it advances the notion that Steele moves comfortably in both Democratic and Republican circles. Steele's site also shows him photographed with one of his possible general election opponents, Kweisi Mfume.

Now the Dems are fighting back: They've launched a web site that shows Steele posing with someone who does not appear on the Republican senate candidate's web site: President Bush.

By  |  July 10, 2006; 11:11 AM ET
 
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Comments

More whining from the Dems. Anyone who has followed Steele's career knows he's a moderate Republican who works well with both Democrats and Republicans. He's not an ideological flame-thrower. This fact makes him ideal for a Maryland Republican candidate for the Senate. This has Democrats scared, especially since it looks like Mfume -- a noted liberal ideologue -- may win their nomination.

Posted by: MK | July 10, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Steele tries to talk like a moderate Republican, but if elected he'll vote with the Bush administration and the national GOP most of the time and Democrats will ensure that voters know that.

The argument about who's in what photo is pretty silly, but it speaks volumes that Steele feels compelled to distance himself from the president, just like Democrats tried to ignore Bill Clinton when he was unpopular. The "Bill who?" or "George W. What?" tactic didn't work then and probably won't work here.

Posted by: MHK919 | July 10, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the picture with Hoyer is a big deal. Steele is not going to fool anyone with that. He is most certainly not a moderate Republican. He's an opportunistic right winger. I didn't have of an opinion of the guy until I saw his two appearences on Bill Maher's show. He's a broken record of tired Republican talking points. I would be shocked (let me emphasize, SHOCKED) if this man has an opinion that was not spoon fed to him by the GOP. I'm looking forward to his defeat.

Posted by: Mr. K | July 10, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Hey, you know if you're a politician and pose for pics with folks you have to expect they may surface down the road. I don't think the Dems can really cry foul over Steele's use of the pics, but I also gotta give props to them for making the most of it. Brilliant!

- Russ Louch
http://www.louch.org/politicalyak

Posted by: Russ Louch | July 10, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Its just low class of the Steele Campaign to have Hoyer's pic up on his site after Hoyer asked them to take it down. Steele is just trying to get the appearence of a Hoyer endorsement, but it won't work. Steele can't beat Mfume or Cardin head to head, no matter how much more money he has and we'll see just how bad a campaigner this empty shirt of a pol, Steele is.

Posted by: RCD | July 10, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The photo of Steele with Bush hurts him more than the photo of Steele with Hoyer helps him.

Who really knows who the heck Hoyer is, anyway?

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 10, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Another interesting phenomenon is the fact that most Republicans in Montgomery County running for office choice not to put the word "Republican" in any of their literature.

Brochure after brochure and yard sign after yard sign features their names and the offices they seek but no party affiliation. Some go as far as using "independent", "an independent voice", and other hedging phrases to run from the word Republican.

Either you think that it is possible to get elected in Montgomery County or you don't, but don't hide from your affiliation.

Posted by: MoCo Dem | July 10, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I just went to go look at the Steele website, and, like the rest of the Republicans in Maryland Steele also appears to be running from his part affiliation - no mention of the word Republican anywhere on the front page.

In fact, the whole front page is blue (I wonder what that association means?)

Posted by: MoCo Dem | July 10, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, please. Steele tries to talk like a moderate Republican, but if elected he'll vote with the Bush administration and the national GOP most of the time and Democrats will ensure that voters know that."

That depends on what you mean by "most of the time". If by that you mean a majority of the time, you're probably right. But should Steele get elected he'll be among the 5 most liberal Republicans in the Senate, at least measured by how he votes. Anyone with a bit of political sense knows it. Even the Democrats who are desperately trying to convince everyone he's a flaming right-winger.

And Mr. Hoyer is no position to expect courtesies from Mr. Steele, given his racist insult of the 2002 campaign: "The problem with token candidates like Mr. Steele is that the voters see them for what they are." You were more right than you knew, Steny. The voters saw right through the second K in KKT. At least we put our "token" at the bottom of our ticket.

Posted by: Brandon | July 10, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"That depends on what you mean by "most of the time". If by that you mean a majority of the time, you're probably right. But should Steele get elected he'll be among the 5 most liberal Republicans in the Senate, at least measured by how he votes. Anyone with a bit of political sense knows it. Even the Democrats who are desperately trying to convince everyone he's a flaming right-winger."

How would Mr. Steele vote? Mr. Steele refuses to outline his position on a host of important issues he would be required to vote on as Senator. In fact, besides affirmative action (says he supports), the death penalty (claims to oppose), gay marriage (claims to oppose), and abortion (claims to oppose), I have no idea where Mr. Steele stands. Please send me a link showing where Mr. Steele stands on issues like the War in Iraq, social security privatization, the Bush tax cuts, Bush's federal court nominees, consumer protection, the environment, embryonic stem cell research (he's flip-flopped). Given that Steele campaigned for Mr. Bush across the nation in 2004 and has received the majority of his campaign contributions from conservative and right-wing conservative donors, I doubt that you can use the word "liberal" to describe him. He claims to be a conservative Republican before the Washington insiders who are running his campaign and on FOX News but pretends to be a moderate/liberal before Black audiences in Prince George's county.

Mr. Steele may very well be one of the more moderate Republican Senators. That's not saying much when one consider how conservative MOST Republican Senators are. He owes much of his political career to conservative Republicans and will side with them MOST of the time. As a Marlyand voter, I am not willing to vote for someone who will cast a vote against the interests of MOST Marylanders MOST of the time.

Posted by: Prince Georges Dem | July 10, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"How would Mr. Steele vote? Mr. Steele refuses to outline his position on a host of important issues he would be required to vote on as Senator. In fact, besides affirmative action (says he supports), the death penalty (claims to oppose), gay marriage (claims to oppose), and abortion (claims to oppose), I have no idea where Mr. Steele stands. Please send me a link showing where Mr. Steele stands on issues like the War in Iraq, social security privatization, the Bush tax cuts, Bush's federal court nominees, consumer protection, the environment, embryonic stem cell research (he's flip-flopped). Given that Steele campaigned for Mr. Bush across the nation in 2004 and has received the majority of his campaign contributions from conservative and right-wing conservative donors, I doubt that you can use the word "liberal" to describe him. He claims to be a conservative Republican before the Washington insiders who are running his campaign and on FOX News but pretends to be a moderate/liberal before Black audiences in Prince George's county.

Mr. Steele may very well be one of the more moderate Republican Senators. That's not saying much when one consider how conservative MOST Republican Senators are. He owes much of his political career to conservative Republicans and will side with them MOST of the time. As a Marlyand voter, I am not willing to vote for someone who will cast a vote against the interests of MOST Marylanders MOST of the time."

Like you I don't know where he stands and how he would vote on those and other issues. I'm reasonably confident most of that will emerge before the election. But I do know that in order to to win and retain his seat, he will have to campaign and vote, on the whole, as a moderate. I know that without knowing or caring what he says or who contributes to his campaign. I know that because he's running in Maryland, and Maryland will not elect a candidate as conservative as you and other Democrats seem to fear he is. If Steele and his advisors are rational, he cannot possibly be as conservative as the left is making him out to be.

Posted by: Brandon | July 10, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The mo co dem posted above might ask my friend, Ike Leggett, the former Democratic Party chair and present Democratic county executive contender why Ike has started to refer to himself as being "independent," at political meetings where he speaks. I think that if Ike and Mike want to call themselves "Independent," they should collect the signatures and run that way.

Posted by: Robin Ficker, Independent for County Executive | July 10, 2006 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Mosk,

You have a glaring error in your article today. You claim in the last sentence of your article that both the Hoyer photo and Mfume photo were removed from the top of the Steele website. In fact, the Mfume photo is still in rotation on the Steele website as of the time I am writing this comment.

Posted by: Dave | July 11, 2006 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I believe certain Democrats just hate the concept of a black Republican and this comment page is an example of how that hatred transfers directly to Michael Steele.

Posted by: Rufus | July 11, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Rufus wrote: "I believe certain Democrats just hate the concept of a black Republican... that hatred transfers directly to Michael Steele."

Huh?!? Maybe I'm just naive but I haven't read anything I would construe as hate for either African-American Republicans or Steele. Why do you have to bring the discussion down to that level, Rufus?

This is part of the problem in today's political climate. Discussion, debate and compromise seem to be out the window because a vocal few (enabled by a largely apathetic general public) prefer to escalate the rhetoric, sling mud, etc.

- Russ Louch
http://www.louch.org/politicalyak

Posted by: Russ Louch | July 11, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Rufus: rhymes with dufus.

Rightwingers like Rufus (and Steele) need to stop playing the race card.

BTW, many Republicans seem to hate the idea of a black Republican too. Check out the whopping vote totals Alan Keyes amassed when he ran for president, and everyone in the GOP lauded him as a "real conservative" and a "tremendous orator."

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 11, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Leftwingers like Loundon Voter need to practice what they preach but that would require the courage of their convictions.

Posted by: Rufus | July 11, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I see Steele following the GOP line if elected. That is the same crew that has let Bush and Chaney run wild without any over site. I can't let that happen any longer. I will vote Dem. We need a change and 2008 is too far away.

FYI: There are several 2008 GOP presidential candidates that I could vote for and at least one Dem who I will not vote for.

Posted by: Creech | July 11, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Wait wait, whats that... Right the D's and R's in the Senate Race arguing about pure BS rather then talking about ANY IMPORTANT ISSUE...

This is why 20% of Marylanders have left your parties... This story does not even deserve web news coverage, does it?... It has nothing to do with actual politics, policy or anything.

Posted by: Alex Zeese | July 11, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This flap over the photos is all just democratic hogwash. The dems are just going nuts that after 30 years they will no longer hold both of the senate seats. Democrat voter registrations are not increasing in MD, as republican and independant ones are. Democrats are losing their iron grip on Maryland that they have had for far to long. It is time we put an end to this, which is why I support Steele.

Posted by: Prince George's Rep | July 11, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats are making a mistake by bringing this up. All they are doing is raising Steele's profile. Steele is getting news coverage and increased name recognition. This wouldn't be so bad for the Dems if the issue they were raising was significant. Since all it involves is some website photos, the end result will be that more people will hear of Steele. Cardin and Mfume are the two forgotten men of this race and the Dems would rather spend time attacking Steele than helping them.

Posted by: MK | July 11, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Dufus I mean Rufus: the courage of my convictions would not allow me to vote for a rightwing Republican, be he black, white, green, or purple.

Interesting how rightwing Republicans thought differently when the candidate whose views were closest to theirs was a black man.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 11, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"BTW, many Republicans seem to hate the idea of a black Republican too. Check out the whopping vote totals Alan Keyes amassed when he ran for president, and everyone in the GOP lauded him as a "real conservative" and a "tremendous orator."

"Interesting how rightwing Republicans thought differently when the candidate whose views were closest to theirs was a black man."

I could say the same about left-wing Democrats and Al Sharpton in 2004, but I won't, because it's simply stupid to insinuate that these candidates did poorly because of their race. They did poorly because they were poor candidates.

Black Republican Herman Cain, a political neophyte running against two white incumbent Congressmen, polled 26% in a Senate primary in 2004, enough for second place. A GEORGIA Senate primary. He got 35,000 more votes than one of the Congressmen.

Maryland Democrats didn't get around to nominating a black statewide candidate until they were embarassed by a party full of racists doing it first. And in September Maryland Democrats are going to pass over an established, qualified black candidate and nominate another white guy for the US Senate.

If you're going repeat the slur that conservatives are a bunch of racists, do it intelligently and look after your own backyard first.

Posted by: Brandon | July 11, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Why wait for the Democrats? Here's a picture of Steele gushing as Cheney speaks. It leaves no doubt of his admiration for the VEEP...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/images/20040426-8_v8822-03-515h.html

Posted by: Independent Steve | July 12, 2006 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Why'd the WaPo say 'Maryland Democrats' put up that website with Steele and Bush when it was clearly Cardin's campaign? The Cardin campaign's dirty tricks will be amusing to watch. This one starts what I imagine will be a growing trend of desperation in the fight against Lt. Governor Michael Steele.

Posted by: Bryan | July 12, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Interesting how rightwing Republicans thought differently when the candidate whose views were closest to theirs was a black man."

It seems that the "rightwing Republicans" are moving solidly behind a politically moderate Republican with solid personal character.

I have to laugh when the leftist losers attempt to slander Michael Steele by calling him a "right-winger" when he clearly is not.

Unless you folks are willing to admit you'd apply that slander to any traditionally minded Roman Catholic, thereby admitting to your embracing a "religious test" for political office in Maryland.

Pity that we couldn't have a man of Michael's character sitting in the Governor's Mansion right now!

Posted by: Rufus | July 13, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Matt Mosk, are you going to print a retraction about your false story regarding Michael Steele and his "racist" supporters?

I'm sure youve seen The Washington Times editorial about the sloppy reporting on this story (http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20060712-083809-6719r.htm):

There was a lot wrong with the Post story, beginning with the fact that Mr. Brown [the man behind the "Willie Horton ad and a man whom Mr. Mosk falsely claimed threw a Steele fundraiser] did not throw the June 22 fundraiser for Mr. Steele. In fact, he wasn't even there. The fundraiser was held at the home of David Bossie, the president of Citizens United, in Ashton, Md. Mr. Brown is chairman of the board at Citizens United, but had nothing to do with the fundraiser.

Posted by: MK | July 13, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

MK beat me to it.

What a ridiculous shame Mosk. You're a career reporter and you didn't even CALL????

You get paid to do a job, do it then.

This is just like when you once printed information you obtained via Chris Van Hollen's campaign that was false and from a kid (yes a kid) they sent to spy on Floyd (who knows why).

I'm looking for the Post's retraction with a correction, not some clarification gentle scolding, but demanding some real accuracy.

You of all people know better Mosk.

Posted by: Bryan | July 13, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

MK,
I trimmed the last paragraph off your posting because of rules about how much we can reprint of an article from another publication. You're welcome to post again.

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | July 13, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Not a problem, Phyllis. I didn't mean to violate the rules.

Is the ombudsman looking into this? If the Time's facts are correct, it seems like Matt Mosk was seriously negligent.

Posted by: MK | July 13, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Mr Bossie made his concerns known to us. After reviewing his letter, which reflects what's in the Times editorial, we found nothing that would require a retraction or correction.

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | July 13, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I tracked down Mr. Bossie's letter and read it over. It seems that Mr. Brown is chairman of the parent organization of the PAC that threw the Steele fundraiser. I've served on Boards of Directors before, and in no way would I categorize the organization as belonging to the Board Chair as Matt Mosk did. I think it was highly misleading to say that "Floyd Brown's Citizens United Political Victory Fund." Brown doesn't own the group and Brown wasn't even there. Also, it seems a bit irresponsible to not even contact the person who hosted the fundraiser and seek his comment on this issue.

Having dealt with reporters, I know that they often get little facts wrong due to time constraints and simply not knowing an issue in-depth. That's not ideal, but it's pervasive and it's not too big of a deal. However, when you put the above problems together with Mr. Mosk's other comments, this certainly does come across like a hit piece.

For example, he mentioned that William Bennett "was criticized for suggesting that aborting black babies would help reduce crime." Of course, he neglected to mention that William Bennett only mentioned that in order to explicitly repudiate that position.

Mr. Mosk's failure to actually find out the facts about the fundraiser, and his willingness to skew facts about some of the other people mentioned in the piece, sure calls his credibility into question.

Some clarification about Mr. Brown's role in the fundraiser certainly seems to be in order, since Mr. Mosk's piece left the impression that a notorious racist was throwing a fundraiser for Steele, which is completely at odds with the facts.

Posted by: MK | July 13, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

So MK was able to document clear bias from a left-wing reporter? Shocked, I am shocked!

Posted by: Rufus | July 18, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

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