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Scared of Steele

On his program "Washington Watch," Roland Martin asked Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Sunday what were the two issues that "speak to black voters that Republicans have a shot at." Steele replied, "Education and the economy. Education and jobs. Education and small business." Not bad. The accident-prone party chairman was doing well.

Martin then points out that he has long criticized the GOP because "white Republicans have been scared of black folks." Uh oh. This is a loaded statement. Surely, the first African American chairman (after six ballots) of the overwhelmingly white and increasingly Southern party will use some of those Heisman moves he displayed last week to sidestep Martin's assertion and reach for unity.

So, how does Steele defend his party's honor?

"And what if, eh, [cross talk with Martin] No, you're absolutely right," Steele said. "I mean I've been in the room and they've been scared of me. And I'm like 'I'm on your side.' You know, so I can imagine going out there and talking to someone like you...."

You know what, if I were a Republican and in a room with Steele, I'd be afraid, too. Afraid of what he'll say next to embarrass the party and highlight its vacuum of ideas and leadership. Steele is all about keeping it real when he really should just keep his mouth shut.

By Jonathan Capehart  | November 10, 2009; 6:23 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Michael Steele Republican National Committee Chairman

Sarah Palin Vice Presidential Nominee

There hasn't been a new episode of The Twilight Zone made in decades, but it sure would be fun to listen to Rod Serling explain these two characters who just don't add up!

Posted by: gradya3 | November 10, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

People can be such dunces. The Republican party, in its hour of disguised distress, disarray, and irrelevance has put a black face (I didn't intend the pun, but there it is) on its shame. It's okay for the party to reorganize behind the presence of a man who will be discarded when he's served his purpose. Mark my words and see if it doesn't come true. In the Republican world, no one takes a black man seriously. How else can they slight Pres. Obama day after day, diss him, and encourage others to do the same? But you'll pretend you see none of the action "behind the curtain", as L. Frank Baum said. Can you not understand the strain the African American population must rise from day in and day out? Or do you just not give a d**m?

Posted by: Jazzman7 | November 10, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

""Education and the economy. Education and jobs. Education and small business." "

And how doth the knave propose to connect the republican party, Blacks, and those items, anyway? As in just what the F has the republican Party EVER done to get jobs for any black man who wasn't a scallawag. Just when has a republican voted for a bill that increased the quality of education in schools where Blacks predominate? What s SMALL business friendly actions have the republicans ever taken, this the Party on record as being ALWAYS against minority business d friendly legislation. (Color Blindness and all that.) (Republican Color Blindness, if you are colored they can't see you.)

And he said that with a straight face, and I would have bet that you can't inject that much Botox without causing permanent brain damage.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 10, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Afraid, I don't know. But he definitely has made for some entertaining copy recently.
He's like Sarah Palin, only more interesting.

Posted by: martymar123 | November 11, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

In response to jazzman7...well written and straight to the point. I almost forgot to look at the situation with Steele in that way. you are absolutely RIGHT!Your quote from L. Frank Baum was on the money. The Republican Party fights day in and day out to stay as the "ole boys club".

Posted by: catlitterpolitics1 | November 11, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm guessing a little, but when Steele talks about the whites in a room being "scared" of a black man he's probably thinking about the mine field whites encounter when discussing sensitive political or social subjects with blacks. One verbal misstep and you're thinking: Uh-oh I hope that isn't interpreted as racist or intended to provoke.

As most know, it is difficult to say anything candid and on the critical side about the performance or remarks of minority politicians, spokesmen and so forth or the actions of minority groups without fear of the r word coming up. It shouldn't be that way, and I know Steele wouldn't want it to.

Posted by: Roytex | November 11, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Roytex, but black people are just not that sensitive so white people do not have to walk on egg shells around us. We've been conditioned to overlook so many things and look at the big picture.

As an African-American woman, I have seen/heard so many instances of overt racism in my life. So many that I do disregard the subtle ones. If you are unable to express yourself or speak candidly around blacks, then you need to look at yourself do not blame minorities for that.

As for Chairman Steele, he just seems unable to walk the line between his racist party and his own feelings as a black man. His foot in mouth disease clearly comes from selling his soul to the republican party. But don't worry about him, soon the republican party will tire of this experiment with wooing minorities and will kick him out of his Chairmanship and the republican party.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | November 11, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"And what if, eh, [cross talk with Martin] No, you're absolutely right," Steele said. "I mean I've been in the room and they've been scared of me. And I'm like 'I'm on your side.' You know, so I can imagine going out there and talking to someone like you...."
What did Steele mean by the last sentence...."talking to someone like you"? Did he mean a "real" Black? Is "someone like you" the opposite of "housen*gger like me"? Does he think he's seen as "different" from Martin? Help me understand this Oreo!

Posted by: mrobertson011 | November 11, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

This section of the website is called "Post Partisan"? And Capeheart is posting in it?

Capeheart? Post Partisan?

For that matter the Wash Post has a section they call "Post Partisan"?

Liberals are and endless source of irony and amusement.

Posted by: manbearpig4 | November 11, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

WmWilliams, Actually I don't blame minorities for the extremes of political correctness that plague the national dialogue between minorities and whites. I blame liberals. Allow me to add, however, that I have no doubt about the reality of the overt racism you say you have experienced.

I don't know about Steele's future in the Republican party. I do disagree with you that a black conservative is a sell-out. I think that's a notion that many black liberals should outgrow.

Posted by: Roytex | November 11, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh no, Jonathan, we don't want him to keep his mouth closed. For left-wing, thumb-sucking, bleeding heart carnivores like me that jackleg Baptist minister to the Republicans is red meat. And he just keeps getting redder and redder. No, dear Jonathan, Mr. Steele is a gift to the Left, a gift that just keeps on giving. Long may his lips flap.

Posted by: genefoxjr | November 11, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Roytex, while I agree that a black conservative is not necessarily a sell-out, I have to contend that the faces and voices of the movement are.

When figures such as Elder, Williams, et al. seemingly ignore the fact that not every poor black person is lazy, or on welfare, or uneducated, or criminal, or any of the other million tenets the conservative movement paints in association with the words "poor", "low-income", etc, it leaves the impression that they are completely out of touch with black people in general, or are speaking as such to appear more palatable to a white audience.

This incidence with Steele seemed to me like he wanted to toe the party line, but it still conflicted with him as a black man. And it left him screwed on both sides.

Posted by: SManuel615 | November 12, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Roytex, I'm not sure why you blame liberals for the political correctness. I blame conservatives for lack there of. Clearly, the country would be better off had conservatives like yourself come out to admonish the people at the rallies with the curious george dolls and the racists posters. It took John McCain way to long to stand up to this nonsense and Sarah Palin never did which is why she is the conservative darling now.

Also, I never said that black conservatives were sell outs. If that is what they believe, then more power to them. What I said was that Michael Steele is a sell out. Clearly, he is conflicted by what he is supposed to say as Chairman of the RNC and what he actually believes which is why he continually contradicts himself.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | November 12, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

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