Message in a Bottle
If you want more evidence of the messaging difficulties facing the Republican Party, look no further than the pummeling RNC Chairman Michael Steele is now receiving for his comment in a new GQ magazine interview (some interesting reading) that abortion is an “individual choice.” In the same piece, Steele also expresses some fairly moderate views on gay rights, and even leaves the door open for individual states to address the issue of gay marriage. If you buy the argument I floated in yesterday’s post, then you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Steele is now furiously backpedaling on both the abortion and gay marriage comments.
Some will argue that Steele’s behavior is simply the latest indication that he is neither a skilled politician nor a particularly good spokesman for the Republican Party. But to my point yesterday, it is also evidence of the way in which the party’s increasingly religious conservative discourse tightly constrains the behavior of virtually all of its political elites. Steele’s remarks would probably play reasonably well in New Hampshire, but they are anathema to the party’s socially conservative activist base. As a result, this latest episode really makes me wonder how Steele can possibly achieve his goal of a bigger tent for the party. Of course, that is assuming he can hold onto the chairmanship.
Posted On: 03-13-2009 11:30:56 by Jim Splaine
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