Political operatives of all stripes are furious at RNC chair Michael Steele today for his anti-Afghanistan war comments. Now everyone must "spin" and "clarify" instead of taking a half-day! Republicans are calling for Steele's resignation, while Democrats are being stupid.
Apparently a number of Republican politicians and officials are planning to call for Steele's resignation as the day, which is almost over, goes on. The first major figure to do so has been terrible neocon lie-machine Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, who wrote a very mean letter disguised as a nice letter to Michael Steele:
You are, I know, a patriot. So I ask you to consider, over this July 4 weekend, doing an act of service for the country you love: Resign as chairman of the Republican party.
Your tenure has of course been marked by gaffes and embarrassments, but I for one have never paid much attention to them, and have never thought they would matter much to the success of the causes and principles we share. But now you have said, about the war in Afghanistan, speaking as RNC chairman at an RNC event, "Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama's choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." And, "if [Obama] is 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?"
Needless to say, the war in Afghanistan was not "a war of Obama's choosing." It has been prosecuted by the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama. Republicans have consistently supported the effort. Indeed, as the DNC Communications Director (of all people) has said, your statement "puts [you] at odds with about 100 percent of the Republican Party."
Yeah, what's that all about, though, with the DNC and Bill Kristol somehow being in agreement over war policy? This is very rare! It might have something to do with the DNC responding to Steele's comments with a disgusting, jingoistic, fearmongering press release straight out of the Republicans' political playbook:
RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE BETS AGAINST OUR TROOPS, ROOTS FOR FAILURE
"Here goes Michael Steele setting policy for the GOP again. 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. They'd also be interested to hear that the Chairman of the Republican Party thinks we have no business in Afghanistan notwithstanding the fact that we are there because we were attacked by terrorists on 9-11.
"And, the American people will be interested to hear that the leader of the Republican Party thinks recent events related to the war are 'comical' and that he is betting against our troops and rooting for failure in Afghanistan. It's simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement. Michael Steele would do well to remember that we are not in Afghanistan by our own choosing, that we were attacked and that his words have consequences."
Ugh: "Bets against our troops," "roots for failure," "without finishing the job," "walk away from the fight," "undermine the morale of our troops." It's the same ugly bullshit that most people generally got sick of hearing around 2004 but which still carries enough weight to ensure that we'll never stop funding any of our various decade-old wars or global bombing jaunts. Would it really have been so hard for the DNC to just leave the Republicans to their own circular firing squad motions today?
Besides, the DNC should keep in mind that most Democrats basically agree with Steele! Last night, for example, the House held a test vote on a measure binding the administration to its wishy-washy Afghanistan withdrawal timetable, supposedly set to begin next summer. It got 162 votes, all but nine of which were Democratic. That's a significant majority of the party that wants to end the Afghanistan war, like Michael Steele (who probably was confused and didn't know what he was saying, but still). The Republicans may have one outspoken leader disagreeing with the party line, but the Democrats have most of their party not agreeing with the party line — as set by the DNC and the White House. This is something the Democrats should work out!
Also, Michael Steele won't resign, c'mon. He does something stupid every other month, party leaders call for his resignation, he doesn't resign, the sun rises in the East and things return to normal. Only four or five people in America will remember this episode by Tuesday morning, after the holiday.
[Image via Getty]