It didn't take long for newly elected RNC Chairman Michael Steele to stoke the partisan flames.
Democrats are jumping all over a comment Steele made on Monday, in which he called the stimulus package "just a wish list from a lot of people who have been on the sidelines for years... to get a little bling, bling."
Said Democratic strategist Brad Woodhouse:
"We're in the worst recession ever. Suicides are up, unemployment is up, foreclosure are up, bankruptcies are up and Michael Steele thinks health care for the elderly, schools for our children and police on the streets is bling? Only someone who threw his campaign kitty around like a drunken sailor on make-work projects for his family while he was going down in flames at the polls would call assistance for the uninsured and food for the needy bling. Thank God the GOP elected Steele Chairman because with gaffes and an attitude like this he'll just lead the party into another drubbing at the polls."
For progressives who have watched as Republican critics of the stimulus tee off without much pushback, it is certainly encouraging to see Democrats push back against some of the more out-there critiques. For Steele, however, the dynamics are a bit more complex. The much-discussed Gallup Poll out on Monday shows that the public is far and away more sour on the role Republicans in Congress have played in the stimulus debate (58 percent disapprove of the GOP, compared to 42 percent who disapprove with congressional Democrats).
Describing the stimulus as nothing more than "bling-bling" when the bill seems likely to pass with the embrace of local communities may be the type of on-the-record quote the RNC regrets.
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