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Steele 'choice' gaffe sparks GOP revolt

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    Ben Smith Ben Smith – 2 hrs 39 mins ago

    Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s series of gaffes turned into something more serious Thursday, as leaders of a pillar of the GOP—the anti-abortion movement—shifted into open revolt over comments in an interview with the men’s magazine GQ.

    Steele called abortion an “individual choice” and opposed a constitutional ban on abortion in the Feb. 24 interview, which appeared online Wednesday night. He echoed the language of the abortion rights movement and appeared to contradict his own heated assertions during his campaign for chairman that he is a committed soldier in the anti-abortion movement.

    While he issued a statement Thursday affirming his opposition to abortion and his support for a constitutional amendment banning it, the damage appeared to be done as leading social conservatives publicly attacked the embattled chairman.

    “Comments attributed to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are very troubling, and despite his clarification today the party stands to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grass-roots politics,” former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) said in a posting on his blog. “For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it's a violation of the most basic of human rights — the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a conservative rival who ultimately backed Steele's bid for chairman, also lambasted him in a written statement.

    “Chairman Steele needs to reread the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and the 2008 GOP Platform,” said Blackwell. “He then needs to get to work or get out of the way.”

    The flap also added to worries generated by a series of earlier, less policy-oriented statements, ranging from insulting radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh to offering “slum love” to Indian-American Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.).

    “Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?” GQ’s Lisa DePaulo asked in the interview in his office.

    “Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice,” he said, according to GQ’s transcript, which he did not dispute.

    “You do?” he was asked.

    “Yeah. Absolutely,” he said.

    In his statement Thursday, issued through the RNC press office, Steele said, “I am pro-life, always have been, always will be.”

    “I tried to present why I am pro-life while recognizing that my mother had a ‘choice’ before deciding to put me up for adoption,” he said, explaining his comments. “But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment.”

    Huckabee said he spoke to Steele Thursday and appreciated the chairman’s “set[ting] the record straight.”

    But the explanation was too little, too late, for a series of other anti-abortion leaders.

    "I think it is very troubling for a public figure, of either party, particularly one who presents himself as pro-life, to describe the abortion issue as being a matter of 'individual choice.' That is language straight out of Planned Parenthood's messaging playbook," said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, who called the comments “disturbing and demoralizing."

    "Michael Steele has just walked away from the Reaganesque position of strong moral clarity on abortion to personify why the Republican Party continues to be in a 'free fall',” said another activist, Jenn Giroux, the executive director of the conservative group Women Influencing the Nation. “It is amazing that he cannot see and learn from the fact that Sarah Palin's position on abortion and her unapologetic defense of every conceived child drew crowds by the thousands on that issue alone.”

    Another anti-abortion activist and Illinois foe of President Barack Obama on the subject, Jill Stanek, was even blunter.

    "Michael Steele has just unmistakably proclaimed himself to be pro-choice," she said in an e-mail. "You thought he was 'embattled' last week over his Limbaugh comment? Ha. He has now stepped both feet into it."

    The remarks dipped into a deep and barely-concealed well of distrust for Steele among anti-abortion activists — sentiment that prompted him to assure the Washington Times last fall that he opposes abortion rights and favors a constitutional amendment, and left him defending his membership in the liberal Republican Leadership Council, an organization composed largely of Republicans who support abortion rights.

    “[Steele] assured me as chairman his views did not matter and that he would be upholding and promoting the party platform, which is very clear on these issues,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “It is very difficult to reconcile the GQ interview with the chairman's pledge."

    The president of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said she expected Steele to win back anti-abortion support by engaging in the public fight on “wedge issues” like Obama’s move to end the Mexico City Policy, which barred the use of federal dollars by foreign nonprofits that offered abortion counseling.

    “When you have an issue like that, you ought to be using it,” she said, adding that “that continues not to happen.”

    “I read and reread the GQ article trying to figure out what it meant,” she said.

    Another group taken by surprise by the GQ piece was gay Republicans. Steele drew fire from that quarter for an interview with a conservative radio host given the same day, Feb. 24, in which he responded to a question about civil unions with, “What are you, crazy? No.”

    He told GQ, “I think that there's a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can't simply say, oh, like, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being gay.' It's like saying,'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being black.’”

    “Chairman Steele’s comments regarding a federal marriage amendment reflect the traditional conservative belief in federalism,” Christopher Barron, a former political director for the gay GOP group the Log Cabin Republicans said in an e-mailed statement.

    CORRECTION: An aide to South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson said Dawson did not meet with Steele Thursday, as had been reported in an earlier version of this story.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090312/pl_politico/19956
  2. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I think this guy is on his way out.
  3. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    And not because of this one issue...
  4. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Yeah he has not gone a week without devouring his foot all the way to the hip.
  5. tyke1doe

    tyke1doe Well-Known Member

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    Steele could probably be forgiven for his comments on Limbaugh. But advocating a woman's right to choose ... he's a goner. :laugh1:
  6. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    He's done. He won't make it to next week. Shame, really. We all know he's pro-life, this is just a lame excuse for the ultra-conservatives to get revenge for Rush and try to bully their way and get one of their guys in as the head of the RNC. As I said before, why don't they just go ahead and make Rush the damn head of the RNC and get it over with.
  7. tyke1doe

    tyke1doe Well-Known Member

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    I think this will make the GOP look bad, especially if they oust their first black chairman.

    However, I can't say that I blame the GOP. The anti-abortion issue is considered a bedrock issue for the Republican Party, especially among social conservatives. And anyone who bucks the party on that,well, he aint gonna have much of a future in the party, at least not as a leader.
  8. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    I see... so he's not responsible for his own stupid dialogue? It's the conservatives? Really? He's said nothing stupid?

    He really must be a liberal then...
  9. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    Oh look..another unbiased thread by the thin skinned...sadly i agree.
    Steele found a way to marianate his foot and make it tasty.
  10. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    If you really thought this was about him putting his foot in his mouth, what kind of drugs are you on. This has EVERYTHING to do with

    1. Conservatives despise this guy
    2. Him going after a conservative idol
    3. This gives conservatives a "do-over" in selecting an RNC chair. They've got a second chance to get one of their guys in.

    The right-wing of the party thinks that they own the party (see attitudes of posters in here if you ever needed any proof of that) and won't stop until they get their way, unfortunately. And it won't matter how many moderate republicans they chase off or alienate. Those blinded by ideology don't care and don't think they need them. The only thing an ultra-conservative despises more than a liberal is a moderate republican. Unfortunately, as they will find out in short order, that plan will backfire completely. If they keep pissing the moderates off or running them out of the party altogether, and keep pissing off more undecideds with culture war issues like abortion or gay marriage we are going to see even more epic losses at the polls and they'll be standing around wondering what happened. Pssst....if you reduce the number of people that "like" you, you aren't going to win any popularity contests. And by that I mean ELECTIONS.

    If things keep going this way, its going to take a complete and total economic disaster by Obama for Republicans to make any gains. And even then, it might not be enough.
  11. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    The moderates have owned the party for the last eight years... where has that gotten us?

    Do you really think the confused, muddled up middle is the way to go?
  12. ShiningStar

    ShiningStar Well-Known Member

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    Cant they just oust a bad chairman? Does his color have to have anything to do with it?
  13. ScipioCowboy

    ScipioCowboy More than meets the eye. Zone Supporter

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    Actually, judging by the past election cycle, the majority of Americans would seem to share the conservative view on gay marriage, including President Obama.

    I would venture that pro-life Republicans vastly outnumber pro-choice Republicans; therefore, if anyone is going to fracture the Republican party, it will be those seeking to alter the party's stance on abortion.
  14. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    You Republican folks have such a teeny-tiny tent... there's really not much room inside of it, is there? Like a little pup tent.

    Say "hi" to the carrier pigeon for me.
  15. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    Says the guy that supports the party of racism... ;)
  16. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    The Republicans were so eager to appear colorblind when they picked their leader that they picked someone who was out of step with their party.
  17. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    I thought that might raise a hackle or two. And touche, BTW. :laugh2:
  18. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    If the GOP doesn't have the support of the "confused, muddled up middle", they'll never win another election...

    I always suspected you couldn't be pro-choice, and a Republican, now that suspicion is confirmed...
  19. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    When have I ever been Pro-Choice?

    And I'm not Republican either...

    Larry... after all of these years, why would you pigeonhole me?
  20. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Wow - I really thought SB was outing you there, trick. I was silently glued to the thread waiting on the other shoe.

    Frankly, I'm disappointed that it didn't fall. :D

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