He wasn’t my first pick, but I thought that his election was going to be a good thing for the GOP.  I thought that conservatives shouldn’t throw him under the bus after recent comments about Rush and the RNC.

Now I just wish he’d shut up.  Seriously.  (My kids would be freaking out if they read that.)  It seems like every time he opens his mouth he inserts his foot into it.  For example his comments during an interview with GQ on abortion.

GQ: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Steele: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
GQ: You do?
Steele: Yeah. Absolutely.

On homosexuality:

GQ: Do you think homosexuality is a choice?
Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.” It’s like saying, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.”

He’s backpedaled in a statement that Politico reported on.

I am pro-life, always have been, always will be.

I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a “choice” before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed. I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue.

But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.

Mike Huckabee was very concerned by these remarks and had a conversation with him today.

Michael affirms his pro-life commitment, including support for the party platform of a Constitutional amendment to protect life and his conviction that life begins at conception.   The point he sought to make was that words like “choice” and “individual decisions” have been co-opted by the left, when in fact his mother made a choice as an individual—the CHOICE to give birth to him as an unmarried college student.  It would have been easy for her to have made a choice to end his life, but she chose life.

Chairman Steele for the good of the party please focus on mobilizing the grassroots and fundraising.  Stay out of the limelight for awhile.  Remember that you assured the members of the RNC of your social conservative credentials.  Because right now if the RNC decides to throw you under the bus I really can’t blame them.

Update –  Some additional thoughts:

Noah brought up Steele’s comments about states’ rights, and that is a tension within the Republican Party.  He linked to this post that defended Steele:

He is specifically identifying the states’ right to choose, not an individual. So sit down and calm yourself, Mike Huckabee. This is the federalist case against abortion, and the appropriate case to make.  States’ rights is a far more compelling case than ‘it’s God’s child’. The GOP would to stand for the rights of the state to decide these matters. The voters, not the courts, should have the final say.

The problem with that – it’s in disagreement with the party platform.

The voters through their representatives have had their say in individual states, but have been overturned by Federal courts.  For example, Nebraska’s partial birth abortion ban, ergo it requires a Federal remedy.  Also, as Amanda points out in the comments – it is an issue akin to slavery, which should not be determined by individual states.

Essentially what would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned would be that it would go to the states.  Who is to say that Federal courts wouldn’t get involved again?

What we need from this Chairman is a strategy and implementation of that strategy.  He needs to provide a vision forward for the party.  Instead of downplaying values that some in the GOP may not agree with – he needs to highlight that in which they may.  Ultimately as a representative of the RNC he needs to lift up the platform, not circumvent it.

The chairman’s position is to be political strategy, not policy.  He would do well to remember that, skip out on the interviews, and instead focus on working with local and state parties.

2nd Update:

Chuck Hurley who heads the Iowa Family Policy Center had this to say about Steele’s remarks:

“While there’s probably a mix of hope and optimism that a fresh face and somebody of African-American descent will be a good thing, there is some lingering hesitation among Christian and social conservatives because of his past associations with pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups. I hope that as Chairman, Mr. Steele will expend at least as much energy reaching out to those of us who are in agreement with his party’s platform as he has to those who do not. Right now, it’s kind of a wait-and-see attitude with most people.”

3rd Update (3/13/09): The Republican National Conservative Caucus says there are 10 reasons why Steele is like to survive this.  Five reasons are here, and another five here.

Chris Cizilla quoted Ken Blackwell (who endorsed him when he pulled out):

“Chairman Steele needs to reread the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and the 2008 GOP Platform.  He then needs to get to work or get out of the way.”

Not sure I agree with Cizilla in point #3 – “If Not Steele, Who?”  We don’t need a rock star, we need a leader who will embody conservative principles.  One who will realize it isn’t the content, but it was our message and not embodying those principles that got us into trouble.

CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris shared, and I agree that:

Steele undoubtedly has learned a few lessons over the past couple of weeks – most importantly, that he needs to be much less candid with his opinions. He’s not a pundit anymore, he’s the chairman of a political party. He’s learning that any off-the-cuff remarks will be scrutinized by his masses much more thoroughly than they would be if he was just chatting away on Fox News.

4th Update (3/14/09): This story is boring for independents, well at least this one.

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