The Trouble With Michael Steele

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, March 14, 2009

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele took office declaring he would show the country that his party cared about minorities. As a shining example of that which he claimed, Steele cited himself, the GOP's first African American chieftain.

Since then, Steele, always ready with a charm offensive, has spent a considerable amount of time revising and extending his remarks because he can't help pandering to an audience.

For example, in an interview with GQ magazine's Lisa DePaulo released this week, Steele couldn't help playing the dandy.

"I love to party," he told her. "I love hanging out with women, sometimes more than men. You know, sit back and let your hair down type thing?"

"I love the Oscars," he said. "I'm looking for who's got what dress on, you know? . . . I'm looking at what they're doing with the hair."

On Michelle Obama's inaugural dress: "I wasn't feelin' that. Didn't like the cut. . . . All the little puff things on it -- what was that all about? She could have done a Valentino."

He agreed that women have a right to choose abortion: "I think that's an individual choice."

After hearing growls from anti-abortion forces next day, Steele backtracked, embracing a constitutional amendment that would kill Roe v. Wade.

It started earlier.

Flush with his RNC victory, Steele dashed off to Tavis Smiley's annual State of the Black Union event in Los Angeles.

Occupying a cherished center-stage seat, Steele, without prompting, held up himself as one of two black men at the pinnacle of American political power in 2009 -- the other being President Barack Obama.

He won audience approval for saying his party has been "afraid to really embrace civil rights" and applause for having denounced the New York Post political cartoon with the dead chimp.

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