I’m a supporter of affirmative action, but, unlike its critics, I’ve never believed that promoting diversity requires hiring someone obviously unqualified who cannot do the job or who cannot grow into the job. Those are affirmative action hires gone bad, and they should be dumped.
Michael Steele is an affirmative action hire gone bad. He was voted in as head of the Republican National Committee because the party wanted to increase its appeal among voters of color. With the first black president elected on the Democratic ticket, Republicans needed to show America that they, too, wanted to promote diversity (without having policies that actually appeal to people of color.)
But Steele bumps along from one controversy to another. The WSJ’s Kimberly Strassel says:
The freewheeling spending and lack of internal controls are, to many in the party, the latest evidence that Mr. Steele has yet to figure out his role. That confusion could mean the difference between a decent GOP midterm victory and a big one.
Mr. Steele won the RNC slot last year and immediately anointed himself GOP quarterback. Democrats had the bully pulpits of the White House and Congress; Mr. Steele chose himself to be the official voice of the opposition. He’s the go-to media guy to respond to every Democratic action. He’s tasked himself with publicly defining a new GOP, even publishing a book, “Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda.”
With this “shadow president” mentality (as one Republican bigwig described it) has come the private aircraft, and the swollen entourages and glitzy events now in the public eye. Mr. Steele’s response to attempts to rein him in has been to complain that staffers are undermining his effort to drag the party into the 21st century.
Actually, Steele has no interest in figuring out his role. He’s a self-aggrandizing loose cannon who likes being the out-front showboat. That’s his strong suit.
If the Republican Party weren’t so self-conscious about its lack of diversity, party leaders would have voted him out a long time ago. But the GOP has spent years criticizing affirmative action. It would be hard for the party to admit its recent affirmative action hire didn’t work out.