Michael Steele: His Quick Rise, His Quick Fall

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[The State of DisUnion]

Michael Steele came into leadership of the Republican Party owing to the unintentional “affirmative action” manifested as a result of Barack Obama’s ascendency to the US Presidency.

He was probably the only one who did not discern the circumstances of his Fortune!  Even political novices were aware his election, in later rounds to leadership of Republicans, was to place him as a “spook who sat by the Republican door.”

Equally, despite his new role, his influence was probably not intended to be very effective in the deepest echelons of the inner sanctum of Republicandom.  His job, stated or unstated, known or unknown to him, was to lead
the “pack attack” to derail the “Obama Express.” What other conceived purpose such a timely elevation could be attributable to, seemingly, than to set one Black man against the other! Unfortunately, trusting soul that he wanted to be, Steele
probably never took the time to fully assess his new found fortune and what “selling one’s soul to the devil” really entails, was a reality easily discernible to thinking individuals. The shades of one of Malcolm’s dictums apply. You guess which

Let’s face it, Barack Obama’ election victory was a result of tremendous faith in his beliefs and capabilities, extraordinary coordination, exemplary old-fashioned politicking and unending hard work that appealed to a broad mass of people,
particularly the young, who were yearning for change after Republicans had run the American economy and overall well-being into a ditch. Steel, not an overwhelming favorite of the caucus by any means, was chosen, seemingly, by default
from a mediocre field after several rounds of voting.  Some credit Steele’s victory to that old-fashioned American panacea, the compromise. Nevertheless, his election as Chairman of the Republican Party was hailed as another significant step
forward for Republicans and America.

Many hailed racial and social progress in America having a Black president and leader of the Democratic Party and another Black, Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican Party. Many heralded post-racial change in America. Then both men set out to work in their respective areas of

Barack Obama, as President of the United States set out to rescue, restructure and rebuilt his nation’s financial and health care systems, its housing industry and infrastructure, stem the tide of unemployment and hopefully create new jobs, and even repair the world’s perception of its image of America. Michael
Steele, as the new kid on the block, set about riding two tigers. First, caught in the euphoria of seeing a black man now leading the Republican Party and recognizing Blacks were at the core  of Obama’s support, the new chairman set out to “Engage the Black Community,” skepticism of some early observers notwithstanding. Second,
Steel found himself in the forefront of a movement, who, under cloud of American patriotism, were subscribing to more sinister intents.

Honestly, no one fully realized the chasm of the ditch the Republicans had “slid” the country into; and naturally Obama suffered some setbacks in his desired goals of moving his nation forward. Meanwhile, those who created the problems, masquerading as patriots cheered at the “President’s misfortunes” stemming from Republican “slash
and burn” positions of No as he valiantly fought as a real patriot.  

In his constitutional obligation as Chief Legislator, Obama encountered the most vitriolic obstructionist responses in tackling the tough issues now confronting the nation. Relationship responsibility is such that the captain is held accountable for everything that occurs on his ship, on his watch, and this is the standard so many held Obama to. Unfortunately, Steele’s Republican Party had taken a non-cooperative not even critical support attitude towards the new President,
earning the title “Party of No!” Every measure, every proposal, every law, practically every appointment the president proposed was met with a negative response. But, the nature of politics is such opposition is expected, even welcomed.

However, this time, the movement’s seeming intent had taken on a different tone. It was more caustic, sinister, albeit, some saw it as racist!

Tracing the opposition to Obama’s candidacy for president, it was easily apparent, the audacity of a Black man running for President of the United States of America was not well received by some elements, despite broad support across a wide spectrum. The racial, both under and over, tones were very apparent. To recall, as a candidate for president, Barack Obama was accused of being socialist; inexperienced; a Muslim; unpatriotic; “not like us;” “too black” and “not black enough;” a
non-citizen and therefore ineligible to hold the office. Republicans have an uncanny way of playing the race card. Some may even recall the sign, when he ran for mayor, “Rudy G. fights Racism,” but all was to no effect as Rudy Giuliani turned out to be the most polarizing Chief Executive in New York City’s history.

Alan Keyes, that perennial loser, led the charge even after the election, to challenge the President’s birth certificate’s authenticity. In keeping with one of Malcolm X’s assiduous insights, Alan Keyes probably said, “Bosses, I will bring that  Black man down from the high offices.” Perhaps he was recruited. Then again, one can believe Republicans know how to pick winners! They certainly know how to pick losers! Of course, Keyes lost again when the courts ruled Obama was a
citizen.  Old tigers never lose their stripes and CNN’s AC 360 recently interviewed a Texas state legislator, Leo Berman, who is “reinventing the Birthers’ wheel,”  challenging Obama’s citizenship. Together with a state legislator from Arizona, they are even proposing a new law to this effect designed to keep Barack Obama off their state’s Presidential Primary in 2012. We know Texas knows how to choose winners but how did this fellow manage to “slip in.” Arizona on the other hand, is
home state of the minister who prayed for Obama’s death and the Black protester with guns.

This assault and all such on Black Lawmakers by Republicans and their allies similarly fall within the purview of Michael Steele as their leader.  However, notwithstanding Steele being in charge, the “Republican coalition” seemed fueled by racial animosity as it attacked Obama and his policies under the guise of “tea party” shenanigans.  Civil protest is in keeping with the American way but overboard caricature of Obama, many have argued, “crossed the line.”

Not unlike a Rorsarch blot, many saw racial animosity in the behavior of opposition to Obama; unfortunately in alliance with Steele’s party’s grand scheme to “Stop Obama” and create his “Waterloo.” In the reaction to the French Revolution in the period 1791-1793, the Englishman Edmund Burke, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France, wrote, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to say nothing.” In the ensuing mayhem, Steele remained silent.  So too did the
higher echelon of Republican leadership.  

Despite overwhelming evidence Obama was a lawful citizen and eligible to be President, the “Birthers,” unintentional allies of the Republicans, kept up a steady drum roll that he held the office illegally. What is interesting, these nefarious individuals, who seems to have an extra-political agenda, are not only disrespecting Obama, the Presidency of the United States but also making the world wonder about American stupidity. Even more important, such behaviors intending to strike at
Obama actually demeans the practitioners who in turn are demeaning the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America and the world watches and wonders about those ringmasters whose circus activities are laughable.

We know of DeMint’s “Waterloo” and Sarah Palin’s “Let’s take back our America” and President Obama “is not like us.” Even Mitch McConnell publicly stated his goal is to make Obama a “one term President.” So much so, one English commentator on Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square offered “Mr. Michael Steele and Sarah Palin should be careful of what they pray for.”  He seemed to imply the “Tea party” “cart had gotten ahead of Steele’s horse;” its “tail was wagging his dog!” Nonetheless there has
been no condemnation of “Birthers” actions, no call to publically denounce them as being “un-American!” One has to wonder, are they Republican operatives, paid or otherwise? Meanwhile, Obama continued working to change America’s perception abroad, enacting health care reform, fixing the financial system, taking on Wall Street, stopping the unemployment slide and creating new jobs, offering scientific incentives for clean energy innovations as well as developing methodologies and strategies designed to improve and advance the educational standards of the nation.

Just as Obama faced an uphill task to repair American state of affairs, Steele had somewhat similar task for the nation had grown dissatisfied with the Republicans. His party had lost significantly at the 2008 polls with Democrats coming into control of both houses and the presidency.  About at his task of rebuilding the Republican Party, fund raising, encouraging and fielding new candidates while just saying No, Mr. Steele very early encountered criticisms that
he was more interested in self-aggrandizement, was accused of financial mismanagement and frequent verbal gaffes, as their cart began running ahead of his horse. Still, be bore down and with chaotic conditions becoming favorable for Democrats, Republicans won the mid-term 2010 elections in a landslide.

Fortuna like justice is blind. So, how come Obama is “doing so poorly” in the polls yet it’s been predicted no one will challenge him for the Democratic Nomination in the 2012 Presidential Election. Yet, Steel’s Republican Party has “Shellacked” the Democrats at the Mid-term election and still Steele, the Party leader, was challenged from all angles, even by some of his best friends and backers such as Saul Anuzis, Jim DeMint, Morton Blackwell, Reince Priebus? He was even criticized by Gentry Collins before he was driven from office in the election.  

Is it that Steele did not “attack and bite" Obama sufficiently or is it that the “Man of steel became the man of rust!”

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