By Carole on Jul 3, 2010
With just four months before the mid-term elections, there are few foreseeable mistakes that could derail the expected Republican resurgence. RNC Chairman Michael Steele is one of them. Proving that yet again - Mr. Steele's latest captured-on-video comments about the war in Afghanistan.
At a Connecticut fundraiser on Thursday, Chairman Steele said the Afghan war was one “of Obama's choosing" and "is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." Speaking of the president he added, "If he's such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that's the one thing you don't do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?" (source)
These comments predictably sparked immediate "gotcha" quotes from Democrats (DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said it was "simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement."), but Mr. Steele also drew fire from the right.
Conservative and editor of The Weekly Standard Bill Kristol published a letter to Mr. Steele which read in part, "There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they’re certainly entitled to make their case. But one of them shouldn't be the chairman of the Republican Party." (source)
Late Friday Mr. Steele issued a statement in an attempt to control the damage and stop the calls for his resignation saying, “As we have learned throughout history, winning a war in Afghanistan is a difficult task. We must also remember that after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, it is also a necessary one. That is why I supported the decision to increase our troop force and, like the entire United States Senate, I support General Petraeus’ confirmation. The stakes are too high for us to accept anything but success in Afghanistan." (source)
Such an about face will not be enough to undo the damage he has done to his tenure as RNC chairman but, contrary to the liberal media's talking points, there is time to prevent this latest Steele mistake from damaging the party's chances in November.
While cable news, the Internet and a president who just can't stop making partisan speeches have created a virtual year-round campaign season, most voters don't really start paying attention until Labor Day and even many so-called political junkies take a break in the summertime. That makes this the perfect time for a change in leadership at the RNC from a man who can't seem to get out of his own way to someone who can raise the money, promote the brand and usher in that Republican resurgence.
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