Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Eric Williams Headshot

Annotated Steele

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

I caught a little of Michael Steele's speech on CNN today as he addressed the Republican National Committee State Chairmen, setting the party on its new course. When I had the chance to read through the full text, a few thoughts struck me. And before I get accused of being a kneejerk liberal, I don't doubt that one could go through a similar speech by Howard Dean or Rahm Emmanuel and find some choice phrases and problematic claims, but they didn't talk today. I'm mainly weary of public discourse which exists primarily to demean one's opponents without acknowledging one's own mistakes or daring to admit that maybe, just maybe, someone of the opposing party might have decent ideas, sincere beliefs or benevolent intent. Unfortunately, my only weapon to fight this blight upon the political landscape is the smart-assed aside. We should really establish a national hypocrisy police, but it'd end up being the biggest department in the government.

So, with that feeble disclaimer out of the way, on with the snark.

We all realize that the Democrats want us to be silent. They want to diminish our voice, and they even want to try to suggest that by being the loyal opposition we are in some way being less than patriotic. You've heard the suggestion that if we oppose the president's policies we are in some crazy way rooting against American success.

"I hope he fails" goes slightly beyond just opposing the president's policies, but okay. Has anyone actually said that members of the Republic party should be silent? Really? Give me some names, Mr. Steele. On the other hand, I seem to recall several years during which anyone who spoke out against President Bush was branded unpatriotic and un-American. Until now, of course, when Republicans won't even talk about the guy. "Dubya-who?"

The Democrats are in power. They wanted it and now we are going to make them own the results of their arrogance of power...

Karl Rove was seeking a permanent Republican majority, but I guess he didn't actually want it. He just didn't want Democrats to have it. Want to draw up the world's shortest list? Write up the list of people in Washington -- Democrats, Republicans, congressmen, people in the executive branch, lobbyists, journalists -- who aren't arrogant. It's even shorter than the "people in Hollywood who aren't assholes" list.

Candidate Obama talked about fiscal responsibility, about government living within its means. But President Obama is saddling our unborn grandchildren with mountains of debt.

I think this point is completely fair, especially since I know nothing about economics. But it does seem like massive spending was what eventually rescued us from The First Great Depression (thanks, Hitler and Tojo!), so I tend to believe the alleged experts who say that the government had to do something dramatic and massive to stop the economy from collapsing completely into Depression 2.0. To be fair, earlier in the speech, Steele acknowledged that the Republicans had "lost their way" when it came to spending. Not exactly taking any of the blame for our current economic conditions, but ignoring the inconvenient is part of his job description.

Let's look at the first 100 days of President Obama's "reign of error" in a factual manner, not in terms of his speeches, but in terms of his actions: Under President Obama the federal government is now in the banking business. Under President Obama the government now makes cars. Under President Obama our country has amassed debts that will take generations to repay. Under President Obama America is increasingly in debt to foreign countries, from China to the Middle East.

Pretty sure every single one of those things predates Obama's inauguration. The first bailouts definitely occurred under Bush, the debts from the wars weren't even on the books until now and I don't think we just began borrowing from overseas in late January. Nice try, though.

Our nation's unemployment rate has climbed to a 25 year high. The gross domestic product, the best indicator of our economic health, was down 6.1 percent in the last quarter.

Again, kinda think that was in the works already when Obama took over. "We've hit an iceberg! First mate, I'm putting you in charge now. You bastard, the ship is sinking!"

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama are planning an America where there are more people moving down the ladder of opportunity than moving up the ladder of opportunity. They are planning for an America that is more dependent, less industrious and less ambitious than our nation's ideals.

Yeah, damn that pessimistic Obama. If only he'd start talking about ideals. Bring back that upbeat Cheney guy!

We are going to take this president on with dignity. This will be a very sharp and marked contrast to the shabby and classless way that the Democrats and the far left spoke of President Bush.

That's encouraging and mature. I like that. Um... how about the rest of the Democratic party, Mr. Steele?

We've seen strategists writing memos and doing briefings urging that Republicans avoid confronting the President. Steer clear of any frontal assaults on his Administration, they warn. They suggest that instead we should go after Nancy Pelosi, whom nobody likes. Or Harry Reid, whom nobody knows. Or this Tim Geithner fellow, whom nobody believes. Or maybe even Barney Frank, whom nobody understands.


You know the thinking. In the same way that the Democrats target conservative talk show hosts and former vice presidents, we should also engage in some misdirection, just like they do.

The Democrats targeted Limbaugh and Cheney? Were Limbaugh and Cheney just sitting at home quietly, building model airplanes and not saying anything? "Leave Cheney alone!", Michael Steele cried before the yellow backdrop, mascara running down his teary cheeks. Freedom of speech is fine, but the Constitution doesn't say anything about freedom of rebuttal.

President Obama and his allies in Congress have now put their taxing eyes on soft drinks.

(I give the camera a stone-faced Jim Halpert "WTF?" look.)

For best sentence fragment to take unfairly out of context, I have to go with:

I may not know much...

But nothing in Steele's address topped:

This change comes in a tea bag!

And with that, Jon Stewart will giggle a little, scribble on his pages and say, "We'll be right back."