In light of further evidence, Liz Mair, who was trying to give Michael Steele the benefit of the doubt, now concedes, “I really am questioning whether Steele knows what Steele thinks about abortion.” Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan notes that the GQ interview, in which Steele seems open to the idea of civil unions, closely coincided with the time he went on Mike Gallagher and suggested it would be “crazy” for Republicans to consider supporting civil unions. (Sullivan says that both interviews were conducted on the same day, but the GQ interview was conducted over a period in late February/early March, according to a magazine spokesman, and the Gallagher interview was on the 23rd). Either way, it doesn’t change the point that he seems to be catering his position to the audience.
But the important thing to keep in mind about this diversion is that it shouldn’t really matter at this point what Michael Steele’s personal views are — he’s there to represent the party and its platform, not himself. When Robert Gibbs gives a press briefing, he isn’t offering his own opinions, but conveying the thinking of the administration. That’s why I’m starting to wonder if all of the hoopla surrounding this year’s RNC chairman’s race has actually backfired. At the time, there was a lot of talk about how “open” the typically behind the scenes process had become. Candidates actively engaged blogs and there was even a debate among the candidates, in which they were asked for their views on a wide range of issues. But I wonder if, in the end, it turned the race into more of a personality contest. To the candidates, it became all about them. And Steele emerged the victor out of this process with the mindset of somebody who had just been elected to political office. In his post-election news conference, a haughty Steele even taunted Obama by asking, “How do you like me now?” So, it’s in some ways understandable that he thinks he’s the conquering hero and the RNC members actually want him to go around spouting his personal opinions on everything.