Been Caught Steele-in'*

« July 2010 »


I have to say, RNC Chairman Michael Steele's latest "gaffe" is one of the most accidentally thought-provoking statements by a professional politician I've heard in years. As a result, the reaction to it is all over the map, with Democrats accusing him of being anti-troop, Republicans calling on him to resign, and Ron Paul leaping to the defense of a black man. It's pretty fucking wild.

So what, exactly, did Michael Steele say? Well, therein lies the confusion. Because Michael Steele said two things. One of which is patently insane, and one of which is utterly true, but something the conventional wisdom has declared insane since 2001. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in... It was the president who was trying to be cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan. Well, 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? All right, because everyone who has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan." - Steele, recorded at a private Connecticut fundraiser.

You see what he did there? The first part is the most blatant bullshit I've ever heard. The Afghanistan war is an almost archetypal example of a war the United States both actively prosecuted and wanted to engage in. I know, because nine years ago, I was one of a very small handful of people who didn't want to engage in it, and was willing to say so ten days after 9/11. And it was obvious right from the start where the numbers were, and how many Osama Yo Mama T-shirts they'd bought.

Now, Steele's underlying point - that the Democrats and Obama are very culpable for our still being in Afghanistan - that's totally true. And it's all thanks to, as I've said in the past, their purely political decision to paint Afghanistan as the good, smart, necessary war so that they could paint Iraq as the bad, stupid, pointless war while still seeming "patriotic". But they're both stupid wars. Have been since the start.

And that's the second part Steele says, the sane part that is considered unacceptable. To say that the war in Afghanistan was a stupid, stupid mistake. And that's the part that's getting him in trouble, in a twist that doesn't surprise me, but does make me laugh-cry.

"here 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." - Bill Kristol, Lord Of The Hawks.

"The chairman of the Republican party must be unwavering in his support for American victory in the war on terror -- a victory that cannot be accomplished if we do not prevail in Afghanistan." - America's national security consultant, the eminently qualified Liz Cheney.

"The likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham will be interested to hear that the Republican Party position is that we should walk away from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban without finishing the job... It's simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement. - The Democratic National Committee.

One of these things is way too much like the others, one of these things is depressingly the same. Also, it's stupid, and shows that Democrats frequently have no idea what they're doing. Being as relentless, mean, and unfair as you can when attacking Republicans is good, because it's what Republicans do at every opportunity. But you don't do it by mirroring or repeating their attacks. Their attacks are designed to reinforce the core beliefs they want people to think.

When the DNC attacks Steele with "not supporting the troops" rhetoric, it just reinforces warmonger ideals. Reinforced warmonger ideals make it tougher to GET THE FUCK OUT OF AFGHANISTAN. Getting the fuck out of Afghanistan is an excellent idea that will reduce the deficit, save American lives, and improve our standing in the Middle East. So why is the DNC trying to keep these things from happening just to pile on a guy who's a gift to Democrats at least every other month? Because they're the Democratic National Committee, and they suck.

Oh, by the way, remember how I mentioned Ron Paul? Here's what he said this morning, in between a bunch of stupid Ron Paul stuff: "The American people are sick and tired spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year, draining our economy and straining our military."

Man, that was a close call. I almost agreed with Ron Paul. Luckily, he did that politician thing of ascribing his own views on the Afghan war to the American people, who clearly aren't sick of any such thing. At least not the ones that Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, and the DNC want to appeal to.

*Punctuation is tricky.