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The Year In Michael Steele Mania: Why The RNC Chairman Is 'The Gift That Keeps On Giving' (VIDEO)

Michael Steele Gaffes

First Posted: 07/08/10 04:22 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:00 PM ET

Let's talk about Michael Steele for a moment, shall we? Has anyone had more calls for their resignation in a shorter period of time in the history of America?

Actually, Tony Hayward probably outpaces him.

But still, when the GOP targets one of their own for the plank, it's not a John Ensign or a David Vitter. Rather, it's Michael Steele, who essentially exists in a strange, lame-duck holding pattern days after he made a bunch of comments about how the war in Afghanistan was "not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in."

For what it's worth, Steele responded to these calls today:

"Every time something happens, people say 'he should step down,' " Steele said in his first public comments since the controversy.


"The reality is that's not happening, so stop the noise on that. You don't need the distraction. We're focused on winning," he said at an appearance with the Colorado Republican Party. "I ain't going anywhere. I'm here, I'm here. Look, we have too much work to do."

In the wake of Steele's Afghanistan remarks, many observers seemed to feel that Steele was offering some sort of brave critique of the war. If I could, I'd like to disabuse you of this notion.

It's hard to do, because Steele did manage to actually string together these words -- "If [Obama's] such a student of history, has he not understood that that's the one thing you don't do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?" -- in precisely the sort of order that a cogent war-critic might. But this should be viewed as an extraordinary rhetorical accident, not as the product of any formal cognitive process.

Steele doesn't actually have any real internal desire to critique the war. What he does have going on, is a strong sense of mission -- to criticize President Barack Obama at all costs with whatever random idea crosses his mind. He's motivated, in part, by the genuine pursuit of the RNC's mission to extend the appeal of the GOP, but it gets crossed up with Steele's idiosyncratic belief that he is in some sort of specific, street-fight rivalry with Obama. And when duty and desire gets blended with Steele's own unique ability to say the worst possible thing at the worst possible time, you get all sorts of freaky comedic verbal pileups.

And on this one occasion, he managed something that vaguely made sense, for reasons that immediately put him at cross-purposes with his party. Vintage Michael Steele.

And now, things have gotten so bad for Michael Steele that people are starting to float Sarah Palin as a replacement -- which is the party-politics version of swapping out Axl Rose for Scott Weiland on the basis of relative reliability (though this actually did happen, in America, so who knows?). Chances are, Palin's appeal lies in the fact that you switch someone who won't quit with someone who excels in quitting.

Still, that's as clear a sign as any that your status has sunk to an all time low. Let's remember the downward trajectory together with this video, produced by HuffPost's own Ben Craw, with the always invaluable research assistance of Elyse Siegel.

WATCH:


Video produced by HuffPost's Ben Craw


[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]

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