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Steele, but No Magnet

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's not yet clear how the one-armed-midget demographic is shaping up, but everybody else seems to be bailing on the GOP.

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Begging the forgiveness of one-armed midgets, I'm merely quoting Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. In a Washington Times interview shortly after being elected head of the GOP, Steele met Howard Dean's gays/guns/God challenge and raised him a jackpot of grief.

Steele was making the point that the GOP needed to "uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets." That was February. This is now:

As state party chairmen gather this week in Maryland, a new Gallup analysis shows that since 2001, fewer people in all but one demographic (those who attend church weekly) have been identifying themselves as Republican.

People moving away from the GOP include those who attend church nearly weekly or monthly, Midwesterners, Southerners, married people, moderates, college graduates, and nongraduates.

The findings confirm growing disenchantment with a party that is viewed as belonging primarily to older white men, despite the GOP's having selected a hip-hop-friendly African American to lead it.

Whatever the thinking is, it isn't working.

The party is roiling between the purgers (good riddance to anyone who thinks outside the pup tent) and the bingers (we love everybody!). Within those two groups are subsets: the sane people who are not afraid of paradox or advanced degrees, and the "Billy Bobs" who think it's terribly clever to pass a resolution insisting that the Democrats rename their organization the "Democrat Socialist Party."

And then there's Steele.

The running joke is that Republicans have "tragic" where Democrats have "magic." The emerging consensus is that Steele, though he means well, has the wrong personality for the job.

"He's goofy and light in heavy times," as one insider put it.

Many are suddenly nostalgic for "whatshisname" -- the guy who ran the party before Steele, whose name no one can quite remember. Oh, yeah, Mike Duncan. At least he kept the trains running on time, they say. To which criticism Steele says, "Stuff it."

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