Michael Steele on the election

By Dana Milbank
Thursday, November 5, 2009

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was doing a victory lap on the morning shows Wednesday after the GOP gubernatorial candidates won in New Jersey and Virginia.

"Look at the stories we're talking about today," he told CBS's Harry Smith, "and I think it's about a transcendent party."

Presumably, the chairman meant that his party is ascendant, meaning on the rise, and not transcendent, meaning beyond the limits of comprehension. For while the Republicans can claim ascendancy after Tuesday's results, it's Steele himself who deserves the transcendent label: The things that pop out of his mouth are frequently beyond the comprehension of mortals.

On election night, CNN's Campbell Brown was interviewing Steele about the GOP's "Sarah Palin and some of the other big names."

Steele interrupted. "That would include me," he said.

"Yourself included," Brown assured him.

On Wednesday morning, Steele was trying, oh so hard, not to sound as if he were gloating. "Oh, no, man, we're not crowing, we're just smiling," he told Smith. But asking Steele not to crow is like telling a rooster to admire the sunrise in silence. Within moments of Steele stepping to the lectern for his post-election news conference at Republican headquarters, the crow was flying.

"If you don't think last night was sweet, you need to go see a doctor!" he informed the assembled press corps.

"The Republican renaissance has begun!" (He already proclaimed a Republican renaissance six months ago, so this one must be the High Renaissance.)

"Republicans won from the courthouse to the statehouse!"

"Our folks are fired up!

"This is just the beginning!"

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