How Harry Reid Saved Michael Steele's Job
Harry Reid isn't gonna step down or resign. Sensible Republicans are backing off. Everyone who went all-in on the Harry Reid thing should probably feel a bit embarrassed. Besides Michael Steele, of course.
It sounds ridiculous to say that Steele's decision to call for Reid's head—and to threaten to "retire him in November" despite the fact that Steele is not running for Senator from Nevada or for Democratic Majority Leader—was in any sense a good idea. And it was probably just an impulsive bit of political grandstanding. The fact that Steele had to ignore the fact that he didn't call for Lott to resign in 2002, making his position on the matter not just hypocritical but actually incomprehensible (it was bad when Democrats forced Lott to resign for supposed racism so we demand Reid resign for supposed racism?), shows that not a lot of thought went into his statements. (As usual.)
But it worked, for Michael. He didn't win Reid's scalp, but he kept his job.
Last Friday, remember, Michael Steele canceled a TV appearance at the last minute due to an "emergency meeting" Most people thought his days as head of the party were numbered. But then, over the weekend, a gift from the political hack heavens: a pointless scandal for him to get outraged about! And so the Republicans decided to try the "Democrats are the real racists" line for at least a weekend.
But here is the problem with that tactic: the most prominent Democrat in the nation is a black guy. And there is only one prominent black Republican. And that one prominent black Republican is wacky RNC head Michael Steele. Jumping on the "Reid must retire" bandwagon basically meant jumping on the Michael Steele bandwagon. You're stuck with him now, guys. It was dumb enough bringing up the Lott thing yourselves, to remind people over and over again that a Republican party elder openly praised segregation less than a decade ago, but now you're gonna tell your black party leader to get lost after starting a National Discussion on Race?
(Remember, please, that the guy who almost won the chairmanship of the RNC at last year's election, the guy who is quietly making a play for the job again, is a white guy from South Carolina who got in trouble for belonging to a whites-only country club. He resigned just before the election. And then, when he lost the election, he re-joined.)