Michael Steele's 'error'
"Do you feel that, as an African-American, you have a slimmer margin for error than another chairman would?" That was the blunt question emailed from Myron to ABC's George Stephanopolous for Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. And the embattled GOP leader's answer was equally blunt. "The honest answer is, 'yes.'" When asked why that is, Steele said, "It just is. Barack Obama has a slimmer margin."
Steele then rambled a bit through his answer, which, well, didn't hold water. "It's more because you're not someone that they know. I'm not a Washington insider, even though I grew up here in D.C.," he said. "My view on politics is much more grassroots oriented. It's not old boy network oriented. And so I tend to, you know, come at it a little bit stronger, a little bit more streetwise, if you will. That's rubbed some feathers the wrong way." I'm still not seeing the race angle here.
Look, I know what Steele is getting at. All black children of certain ambition can go back into their childhood or young adulthood and recount the lesson imparted by a parent or mentor. You have to work harder and be more prepared than your white counterparts to compete. Why is that? To quote Steele, "It just is." But at a certain point people have to take responsibility for their actions and how those actions impact perceptions -- real and perceived -- about them.
Steele doesn't seem to realize that part of the reason he has a slimmer margin for error is because he keeps making errors. He's raised lots of money, but he's spending it like there's no tomorrow. And as The Post's Philip Rucker and Amy Gardner noted yesterday, Steele has done a few things that have folks rolling their eyes, from bringing along a photographer to document his visits to local volunteers to showing up at his first meeting with GOP congressional leaders with six aides who piled out of two SUVs.
When asked about Steele's race assertion by reporters this morning, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "I think Michael Steele's problem isn't the race card; it's the credit card." Couldn't have said it better myself.
| April 5, 2010; 12:07 PM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: jonathan capehart
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