I have a slightly different take on Michael Steele’s recent comments than does Nick. To be sure, I share the spirit of the words that that our Colorado colleague believes the RNC chair should have spoken. And I do think Steele could better serve the party by running against Barbara Mikulski for the United States Senate.
That said, Steele does have a point, a point which, if you read his remarks in context, is nearly identical to one that Clarence Thomas made to the Heritage Foundation back in 1987, thought far less artfully expressed.
Allahpundit, who has looked at Steele’s remarks in context, offers:
All Steele’s saying, when you translate this from Steele-ese to effective PR-speak, is that the GOP needs to repair relations with minority voters before it can expect them to give conservatism a chance. It’s not that the party has nothing to offer, it’s that the strategic choices it’s made — and do note, he’s not the first RNC chair to disown the southern strategy — have poisoned perceptions of its policies. Acknowledge that forthrightly and you win points for honesty, which you can use as a foundation to build trust. All of which is well and good, but the “you don’t have a reason” line is naturally being beamed out by big media and used as an opportunity to revisit some of Steele’s less charming bon mots over the past year. Which raises the question: Why is he still even speaking in public? If he can’t contain the gaffes, fine; just turn off the mic and fundraise.
Dan Riehl offers a similar sentiment:
By focusing on only one line from remarks RNC Chair Michael Steele made to a group, one has to wonder if some folks don’t have issues with blacks they actually do need to resolve. Slamming Steele for these remarks is not helpful to the GOP because Steele is correct. He isn’t calling for the GOP to change it’s positions, as many white so called RINOs regularly do. He’s speaking to the GOP’s inability to pierce barriers built up by the Left in his own effort to do that very thing. And for that, he should be criticized? I don’t get it. I really don’t.
Emphasis added. The chairman would have better served his party had he phrased his comments differently, saying that we need to do a better idea of “selling” Republican ideas to minority communities–which is what Thomas said. Steele still doesn’t get how the media will spin anything he says, twisting it to put the GOP in the worst possible light.