Sunday, July 04, 2010

steele and afghanistan round-up

I have to admit that I like Michael Steele a bit more than I "should". It's not just the entertainment value of his gaffes but I actually think adding his voice to the mix is healthy for the Republican Party and, in the very long term, for the country as a whole. Don't get me wrong... he's Republican, so on average I'm going to not like his positions. But I also wholeheartedly agree with Earl Ofari Hutchinson's observation:
For now though the RNC still needs Steele for the very reason he was plucked for the lead role in the first place. In the wake of Obama's smash White House win, he was the best hope to prevent a battered, beaten, and demoralized GOP had from being shoved to the netherworld of national politics. The GOP is still widely sneered at and dismissed as an insular party of unreconstructed bigots, Deep South, rural and, non-college educated blue collar whites. Steele gives the party an image sheen that is anything but white, rural and Deep South.

I would even say I'm slightly optimistic that the growing prominence of Black (and also Indian-American) conservatives might help turn the image into a reality. In the healthiest case, the Republicans would dump their race-baiting, Southern-Strategy-playing xenophobic elements and morph into an honest pro-business libertarian party.

I would also mention that this episode shows how Ron/Rand Paul style libertarianism is not uniformly scary but is more of a mixed bag. Yeah, they have their reservations about the Civil Rights Act (which is not a trivial problem) but they are also more critical of the US various "adventures" in the Muslim world and elsewhere (which is also not a negligible thing).

Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Steele got it Right about Afghanistan, But for the Wrong Reason
Fareed Zakaria Criticizes 'Disproportionate' Afghanistan War On CNN
Ron Paul Praises Embattled RNC Chief Michael Steele For 'Leadership' On Afghanistan
Jon Fleischman Is Latest GOP Official To Criticize Afghan War
Steele Summoned to Limbaugh's (Extremely) White House
Steele's Resignation Would Be a Catastrophe for Obama
Rethink Afghanistan

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