Selwyn Duke
We need something stronger than Steele
RNC Chairman Michael Steele is inside the box and inside the beltway all the way
By Selwyn Duke
March 19, 2009

Most of us place politicians down at the level of used-car salesmen, personal injury lawyers and Hollywood actors. In fact, they're much like actors, only, their acting is generally a bit better. But we tend to miss the point about our leaders. The problem with politicians is that they're trying to please us.

Mind you, I don't mean they're trying to please those of us who read and render commentary. They don't have to worry about us fringe types — we don't really command many votes. We're like a pesky fly they can't quite swat (although they're trying to with measures such as the Fairness Doctrine). My point is that if they were trying to please God, they would be godly men. But as the great Alan Keyes has proven, that doesn't tend to win elections. So the successful ones try to please the masses, but this doesn't make them massive men. It makes them minor men.

A case in point is Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who recently proved his Lilliputian status in a now notorious GQ interview, one showing that the best way to get a politician to change positions is to change his audience. And the problem wasn't confined to just what has drawn him the most criticism: Abortion. But let's start with that. Here is the portion of the interview dealing with it:

    Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
    Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice.

    You do?
    Yeah. Absolutely.

That's pretty clear, right? Well, this is perhaps where Steele said to himself, "Oops! Did I really say that?" So, after opining that Roe v. Wade should be overturned for constitutional reasons, here is what transpired:

"Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?

The states should make that choice. That's what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide."

Is this what you call a "save"? Women have the choice to opt for abortion because they can vote along with the men in their states on the matter's legality? So now Steele can go to leftists and claim he has said that abortion is "absolutely" an "individual choice." He can talk to traditionalists and say that he has touted states' right to settle the issue. He's pro-choice. He's pro-life. He's pro-states' rights. He's pro-whatever you want him to be. He's for everything and against nothing.

Given how Steele has also stated that Republicans needed a hip-hop strategy, interviewer Lisa Depaulo also asked him about rap music. And after saying he enjoyed P. Diddy quite a bit, he said,

"I guess I'm sorta old-school that way. Remember, I came of age with the DJ and all this other stuff, so I'm also loving Grandmaster Flash, and that's not hip-hop, but... Um, you know, I like Chuck D. And I always thought Snoop Dogg was — he just reminded me of the fellas back home. So I've always thoroughly enjoyed him."

But then Steele said he also liked "Bing Crosby, Sinatra, [and] Dean Martin." Hey, you wouldn't want to offend any musically-inclined constituency. And reiterating his old-school passions, he continued, "I'm a big Pack Rat. I love the Pack Rats from the 1950s . . . ." Depaulo corrected him and pointed out that the proper name was the "Rat Pack." He's a great fan, though.

Now, since I guard my tongue, I'll characterize hip-hop simply by saying it's cultural trash. Of course, if I were a hip-hop aficionado, I'd use a different word (I also wouldn't know the term "aficionado"). I'll say additionally that an affinity for hip-hop indicates greatly corrupted judgment and taste, and I'd like leaders who operate on a slightly higher cultural plane. Then again, it's also possible that Steele doesn't really listen to the Pack Rats or the Rap Rodents and was just being a pandering possum. Perhaps it's like Hillary Clinton's statement when running for the Senate in New York, "I've always been a Yankees fan." No, Hillary (and Steele), actually, you've always been a ceiling fan — you specialize in spin.

As for the GOP's political fortunes, if your only concern is getting people in office with "R's" after their names, slouching commensurately with the culture certainly helps. But leave me out of it. My primary concern is spreading Truth, not spreading R's. For if a political movement is to do any good at all, it must represent and extol virtue. And, for such a movement to succeed, it has only one viable option: Address problems on a cultural level and raise people up morally so they'll be receptive to the message (this is why I've written so much about the culture). Trying to present a package of virtue in a wrapping of vice won't work.

Then Steele said, "And some call them [rappers] urban terrorists, which I think is an offensive term." Really? I find it offensive that he thinks validly labeling cultural terrorists is offensive. He went on to say,

"But you know, they miss the point of what hip-hop is. Hip-hop is about economic empowerment. You're talking about a generation of men from, you know, P. Diddy to Russell Simmons and the like who have created empire from their talent."

Uh, yes, so have the Mexican drug cartels. So have Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner (note that pornography is among the most lucrative of rackets). These are empires of sin, and it's no secret that vice sells better than virtue. But is this to be congratulated? Does it profit a nation to gain the world but to lose its soul, Mr. Steele?

Following up on this topic of "minority outreach," there was this exchange,

"Why do you think so few nonwhite Americans support the Republican Party right now? 'Cause we have offered them nothing! And the impression we've created is that we don't give a damn about them or we just outright don't like them."

Wrong. The leftist media have given minorities this impression of the party of Lincoln and abolitionism while casting the party of George Wallace in a positive light. Steele went on to say,

"I think the way we've talked about immigration, the way we've talked about some of the issues that are important to African-Americans, like affirmative action... I mean, you know, having an absolute holier-than-thou attitude about something that's important to a particular community doesn't engender confidence in your leadership by that community."

So what is the strategy? Are we supposed to say, "Look, we were wrong to be right, but here's why we're right"? Are we supposed to embrace open-border policy and affirmative action? Should we compromise our principles just a bit and offer them an affirmative fraction?

I'm also sick and tired of how conservatives have been cowed into being apologetic. Who has this "holier-than-thou attitude," Mr. Steele? All I see are pandering Republicans such as you.

But this is another example of entertaining corruption. Securing our borders is a matter of upholding the rule of law, maintaining cultural cohesiveness and public safety. And opposing affirmative action stems from a desire to be fair and to avoid facilitating irresponsibility and mediocrity. If people won't accept this, the remedy is not to lower the principles but elevate the people and make them worthy of the principles.

Steele also played the race card in the interview, saying,

"There are people in this country right now who would look at Barack Obama and still refer to him as 'boy.' Period."

Who would these people be, Mr. Steele? When was the last time you actually experienced such a thing? Now, if you mean that someone somewhere in this nation of 300 million people may be so inclined, perhaps, but insignificant fringes don't warrant mention. It has been estimated that we have about 100 active serial killers in the country, too, but it would be silly to speak of them as if they're a political and cultural force.

The interview touched on education as well, and Steele made this comment,

". . . there's a black kid who just left a public-school system in which he's using a ten-year-old book in a classroom that barely has lights, and he's getting a poor education."

Yes, he is getting a poor education, but it has nothing to do with lights or books. It's a function of a spirit of permissiveness, relativism and corruption that besets our whole culture, leaving schools and families bereft of Truth, love and discipline.

Steele is right about the problem of using a 10-year-old book, however. Students would be better off using 60-year-old books. Then they would be exposed to more Truth and less politically-correct social engineering.

If I were a standard commentator, I would now emphasize that Steele is a sub-standard politician. But the truth is that he is quite standard. He isn't evil; he isn't even Machiavellian. He's just an example of what political parties tend to produce: Men of our time. But what we need are men of the timeless. Only people who aren't slaves of their age, and thus can penetrate the veneer of lies obscuring the Truth today, can transform the culture.

And "culture" is the word. When I say "We Need Something Stronger than Steele," the "we" doesn't refer to Republicans, as salvation doesn't lie in the political realm. I don't even mean conservatives. I mean that we need spiritual and cultural revolutionaries.

As I've written before, unless we can take the cultural reins and stop the leftward drift, all is for naught, as the political just reflects the cultural. And the liberals understand this. They've altered the culture not through the Democrat Party as much as through academia, the media and entertainment.

But effecting such substantive change isn't easy, and it explains why the chairman of the Republican Party would talk like a 1980s Democrat. That is to say, politicians pander because it's easier to change positions than hearts.

© Selwyn Duke


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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