THE chairman of the Republican National Committee could use some Al Haig chutzpah and let the Mouth of the Party know in unquestionable terms exactly who s running the show.
Set aside, for a moment, that when President Reagan was shot back in 1981 and Vice President George H.W. Bush was in an Air Force plane over Texas that Secretary of State Haig was not in charge of the nation, since that duty belonged to the vice president, who was very much alive and well.
It was Mr. Haig s hubris that got people s attention and cause them to today recall his I m in control here statement with humor.
Instead of showing muscle, Chairman Michael Steele is not shaping up to the a man of steel. Not when Rush Limbaugh sent him scamping to apologize for telling the truth.
During an appearance on CNN s D.L. Hughley Breaks the News a week ago today, in response to the alleged Democratic effort to make Mr. Limbaugh leader of the GOP, Mr. Steele said I m the de facto leader of the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh s whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it is incendiary. Yes, it is ugly.
Mr. Steele was on target that is until Monday when his weekend dose of spinach must have worn off.
As if the talk show host couldn t wait to get back on the air Monday, Mr. Limbaugh said Mr. Steele seems to back Democrats and is obsessed with seeing to it President Obama succeeds. He added that he s shocked that the chairman endorses the Obama agenda, which the chairman apparently supports because he attacks me for wanting it to fail.
Rush s words. Not mine. A colleague calls the talk show host a bloated tick, since he sucks up hate and gets fat and rich off it. His multi-million dollar contract is proof.
So rather than be the man of steel and show the Mouth of the Party just who the GOP leader, Mr. Steele wimped out and said it wasn t his intention to take on Mr. Limbaugh. He didn t want his comments to aid Democrats for their irresponsible expansion of government, a duty which must only belong to the GOP and if he did so, I truly apologize.
So for what did he apologize? For having the audacity to take the reins of leadership that belong to him anyway? If Mr. Steele intends to expand the Republican base, he ll have to do a lot better than bow to one of the nation s key entertainers and best known conservative.
When Mr. Limbaugh began his talk show in 1989, he thought of himself more as an entertainer. In a quote from Howard Kurtz s 1996 book, Hot Air, Mr. Limbaugh is quoted as saying I m not out to save the country. I m out to get a large audience. I m an entertainer first and a conservative second. A few years later he considered himself less of an entertainer.
Even so, Mr. Steele diminished the authority of his powerful position when he said, I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.
Aha! There you have it, folks. Right from the mouth of the chairman himself acknowledging Rush s leadership. If not of the GOP, then what? Only conservatives? Talk radio?
Guess the GOP kitchen must be too hot for Michael Steele. He d better toughen up or get out of it.