I know that Michael Steele has made a variety of gaffes since he’s been Chairman of the Republican National Committee, but all that has never been particularly interesting to me. Most people in America have at best only the vaguest idea of who he is and what he does — which is as it should be, for a position that is very inside-the-beltway and inside-politics — and so the things that have annoyed the other political junkies have seemed of little consequence to me, presuming that Steele is basically doing his job. But the comments he has made regarding the war in Afghanistan are simply off the charts.
“This was a war of Obama’s choosing,” Steele said. “This is not something United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”
The war in Afghanistan began shortly after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, in the first year of President George W. Bush’s first term. Obama, at the time, was a state senator in Illinois.
“It was [Obama] who was trying to be cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan,” Steele said in his delivery, which was posted on YouTube. “Well, if he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in land war in Afghanistan? All right, because everyone who has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed.”
It’s a level of incoherence that is hard to explain or understand. It’s reminiscent, admittedly, of some of the putrid nonsense that certain Democrats spouted regarding the war in Iraq while George W. Bush was president, but it has no place coming out of the mouth of a Republican leader. Perhaps he’s really at the end of his tether and needs to take a break for the sake of his health. I wish him well. But he needs to take that break in any case, and resign from the chairmanship of the RNC.
Republicans in general need to be so much sharper than this. At a crucial time for the party, and much more importantly, for the country, there is far too much mediocrity on display by the Republicans. Issues are being handed to conservatives on a plate, but the point men of the GOP seem incapable of getting on top of them and defining the debate properly.