Michael Steele: Affirmative action hire gone bad

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.

pw0402

Associated Press

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.

216 comments Add your comment

Reality

April 2nd, 2010
10:09 am

I’m not a fan of Steele, but I do empathize with him. He is a black man stuck with a job trying to defeat efforts to improve America and defend the wealthy corporate agenda. He has to stand up and cheer on the right wing crap that is everything wrong with America.

No, I don’t envy him at all.

Chris Broe

April 2nd, 2010
10:11 am

” He’s a self-aggrandizing loose cannon who likes being the out-front showboat. That’s his strong suit.”

Great line.

“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”

Contradiction?

I'm here from the government and I'm here to help

April 2nd, 2010
10:15 am

You can lead a horse to water but you can not make it drink. Black Americans need to get off depending on the Government for everything. Nobody owes them nor any Whites, Browns or any other color a dime. A temporary hand up is fine but when it goes into the next generation, its’ gone way to far and too costly.

RG

April 2nd, 2010
10:19 am

CT – what evidence do you have to suggest that Steele was an affirmative action hire by the very people who morally oppose affirmative action?

Or, do you assume that the republican party is not diverse because it is not good for nonwhite people, ergo any black person associated with the republican party must be the result of some “lowering of standards”?

I guess you will say that Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, Colin Powell were all affirmative action hires?

ctucker

April 2nd, 2010
10:25 am

RG, I would not say that about Condi or Colin Powell. I never have. On the other hand, I think if either of them had performed as poorly as Steele, he/she would have been kicked out the door. But I think you remember the discussion in GOP circles after Obama’s victory. it’s pretty clear the GOP was desperate to show it has some diversity.

Tommy Maddox

April 2nd, 2010
10:26 am

Well, you can’t include Colin Powell since he became a republican in drag.

Mr. Nobody

April 2nd, 2010
10:28 am

Tucker writes:

“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.)”

…and you know this because??? Maybe he was just a qualified individual. Many can make the same claim about our puppet president put forth by the democratic party…just so everyone can see how culturally “diverse” we’ve become.

ctucker

April 2nd, 2010
10:31 am

MR. Nobody, You think Michael Steele is doing a terrific job?

Some people are stupid

April 2nd, 2010
10:32 am

Maybe he was just a qualified individual. Many can make the same claim about our puppet president put forth by the democratic party…just so everyone can see how culturally “diverse” we’ve become.

So all the people who voted for him did so just to show the world how diverse we are….doesnt make much sense to me

Chris Salzmann

April 2nd, 2010
10:33 am

Mr. Nobody April 2nd, 2010 10:28 am SAID: …and you know this because??? Maybe he was just a qualified individual. Many can make the same claim about our puppet president put forth by the democratic party…just so everyone can see how culturally “diverse” we’ve become.

CHRIS SAYS: The above is a reason why you are a Nobody. Lets see, Obama won the Democratic nomination and WON the presidential election by a big margin. What does Steele have going for him? Pick one thing………………………You sure you don’t belong to the Tea Party crowd? You sure sound like it.

Jethro

April 2nd, 2010
10:35 am

Funny, I never noticed the color of his skin. Really. I have noticed that the GOP keeps shooting itself in the foot. Steele is not the trigger man, but he’s doing a poor job at triage.

Byron Mathison Kerr

April 2nd, 2010
10:37 am

So finally the obvious truth can be told. Michael Steele was hired by the GOP in direct response to the election of President Barack Obama. But if they replaced him with another African-American, the tactic would be even more obvious. I suppose Steele’s demographic as a black man is still deemed to be more useful to the GOP image than the detraction of his embarrassing escapades. Why else would he still be around?

Dee keith

April 2nd, 2010
10:39 am

ctucker to paraphrase Michael Steele “You Be The Woman.” I was wondering when someone would have the courage to write an article about this, because that is exactly what he was, an Affirmative Action hire. I’m not surprised that conservative/ignorant in this forum are trying to distance themselves from this fact, by playing the traditional conservative apples and oranges card. Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, and Colin Powell all were experienced in the fields that they were chosen, and they happen to be black. Michael Steele was chosen, because repugs. felt they could use Michael Steele to attack the black guy in the WH, and not be accused of being racist, despite the fact he had no connection to the broad base of repug. donors.

Chris Salzmann

April 2nd, 2010
10:39 am

Some people are stupid April 2nd, 2010 10:32 am SAID: So all the people who voted for him did so just to show the world how diverse we are….doesnt make much sense to me

CHRIS SAYS: To the Right-Wing Tea Party crowd, Obama’s election victory was ONLY about color as is everything else in their lives. Maybe in 50 years when all these angry and bitter white folks become a minority, they’ll pick a corner of Alabama and secede.

Dee keith

April 2nd, 2010
10:43 am

Why would the GOP get rid of Steele now?, when they can use there miniscule gains in the nov. elections as the perfect excuse to oust him then.

JohnnyReb

April 2nd, 2010
10:47 am

I don’t agree with Ms Tucker’s statement as to why Steele got the position. And, the Republican Party is the best friend minorities will ever have if they will wake up and see the Republicans want to get minorities off the Government Plantation – a hand up instead of a hand out.

Steele, and any big-wigs in the RNC of similar thought should go because of the “big tent” theory. When republicans get away from their core principles they lose elections, lose their way in Congress, etc. We don’t need the Big Tent. Every person regardless of gender, race, etc. is welcome in the Republican Party if they believe in the values and will consistently carry out those values. We don’t need more Lindsey Grahams and his kind. If you need evidence of that, you only need to look to the Tea Party people. Many of them are disgruntled Republicans. And, no, they are not bad people. Dems have their lunnies also, just a very, very small number of the total.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 2nd, 2010
10:48 am

I disapprove of disparaging one as an “affirmative action hire.” The implicit meaning of the epithet is that the person is at best marginally qualified, and certainly not the best qualified person for the job. I suppose that can be a true epithet, but I dislike seeing it/hearing it. Increasingly we hear our President so disparaged. I don’t deny that I regularly mock him with the “Chauncey Gardener” label; my standards may be low, but I have standards.

To the point of the essay, Steele looked better then than he does now. Spends too much money on the wrong things. Time for him to move on.

MoreRightthanLeft

April 2nd, 2010
10:49 am

Obama is an affirmitive action gone bad…kidding…i dont dislike the man, only his policies… lighten up its Good Friday…

Peadawg

April 2nd, 2010
10:53 am

So in other words Cynthia, you’re for affirmative actions except when the Republicans use it. Gotcha!

Pulitzer Phan

April 2nd, 2010
10:55 am

“without having policies that actually appeal to people of color.”

There you go again – painting people of color with one brush. I have quite a few friends who are “people of color” who totally abhor what Obama and the Democrats have done. They also believe the liberals and their policies have done more to hurt and hold down “people of color” than any of the conservative positions.

Personally, I don’t think Steele has done a good job – not because he is black, but because of his decisions and lack of leadership. Race did probably have something to do with his selection. But let’s be real, if a white male had been chosen, I’m sure you would have written a scathing article on that too.

Peadawg

April 2nd, 2010
10:55 am

“Obama is an affirmitive action gone bad”

I was thinking the same thing.

Stone Thrower

April 2nd, 2010
10:56 am

“When you think of the vast majorities that they have in Congress and they had to bribe, backroom deals, corruption. That’s all because the Tea Party movement, the people, all these Tim McVeigh wannabes here.” From the fearless leader Sean Hannity. Long live the Tea Party!

JohnnyReb

April 2nd, 2010
10:56 am

For Chris Salzmann

Dear liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950s, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right so let’s just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

The Separation Agreement:

Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes

We don’t like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.

You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.

Since you hate guns and war, we’ll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O’ Donnell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them).

We’ll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies and illegal aliens. We’ll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO’s and rednecks.

We’ll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.

You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we’ll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we’ll help provide them security.

We’ll keep our Judeo- Christian values. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism and Shirley McClain.

You can also have the U.N. but we will no longer be paying the bill.

We’ll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.

You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors. We’ll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right.

We’ll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I’m sure you’ll be happy to substitute Imagine, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.

We’ll practice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot.

Since it often so offends you, we’ll keep our history, our name and our flag.

In the spirit of friendly parting, I’ll bet you ANWAR which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 2nd, 2010
11:03 am

Dear johnny @ 10:56, I wish I had written that. Clever.

MoreRightthanLeft

April 2nd, 2010
11:05 am

would hillary be an affirmative action or is she a white male too..lol

Dee keith

April 2nd, 2010
11:05 am

Affimative Action says a minority has to be qualified, not the most qualified. The problem with AA has always been an attempt on the part of the Christian white male power structure(Bill O’Reilly’s Words)to undermine it by intentionally hiring unqualified minorities in order to maintain power. The attack on AA lacks the credibility that it use to by the angry white male conservatives, because W spent 8yrs. hiring unqualified individuals to run this gov. into the ground, and none of them were minority.

JohnnyReb

April 2nd, 2010
11:05 am

It’s not mine. I should have credited the author, a Mr. John J. Wall.

arnold

April 2nd, 2010
11:08 am

I don’t want Steele gone. He is a help to the Democratic Party.

schrutebeets

April 2nd, 2010
11:11 am

Great post, JohnnyReb. Creative and sobering at the same time.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 2nd, 2010
11:13 am

Dear Dee @ 11:05, while we would agree that “affirmative action hire” never means “the most qualified,” the fact is the water-cooler whispering usually translates “hired although not really qualified.” I think I would be profoundly insulted to be an “affirmative action hire.” Of course, now 16 months into the ObamaEconomy, I suppose many are willing to be insulted to have any job at all.

Byron Mathison Kerr

April 2nd, 2010
11:14 am

Just the opposite of being an Affirmative Action hire, I feel strongly President Obama was elected despite of his race rather than because of his race. Speaking as an Anglo-American, I can relate to his life background and process of thought much more than other presidents, i.e., he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth and neither was I. As a working/middle class citizen with strong academic appreciation, I find it refreshing to finally have a president who is like me.

Davo

April 2nd, 2010
11:16 am

This should be a lesson to everyone….Don’t contribute money to the party; contribute money to the candidate.

ctucker

April 2nd, 2010
11:17 am

Dee keith, excellent points.

ctucker

April 2nd, 2010
11:17 am

Hillary Clinton is quite well-qualified for her job. And she’s not there because she’s a woman.

JohnnyReb

April 2nd, 2010
11:21 am

Davo – I couldn’t agree more. I’m a RNC member, but everytime they ask for money I email them aksing when they will drop the Big Tent crap? Political parties, like people, should not compromise their principles to gain approval or more votes. It has never worked, and will never work, at least not permanently. Those vote buying, deal making progressives in Congress will find that out come November.

Gtbuzz

April 2nd, 2010
11:22 am

First – JohnnyReb – That was Classic! I’ve cut and pasted that into an e-mail – its worth passing along.

But to Tucker’s point – I don’t like Michael Steele either – and I don’t think and anything – including hiring Barak Obama to be the RNC chairman would bring the black community in from the Democrat plantation.

Finally – if Steele is automatically an affirmative action hire because he is black – and we are making a list of bad affirmative action hires – then we should put Tucker at the top of the list

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 2nd, 2010
11:25 am

Dear CT @ 11:17, I will confess that I am impressed favorably with Ms. Clinton’s performance as SoS, despite my misgivings 16 months ago. She is not a refugee from Amateur Hour. If she is not quite John Boulton, she has embraced many of his views and much of his style, and she even has potential for continuing improvement. Frankly I think the biggest drag on her performance has been the kumbayah diktat by her boss. It is pretty clear where she has policy initiative, and where she does not.

Conservatives SUX

April 2nd, 2010
11:25 am

Johnny Reb-
And, the Republican Party is the best friend minorities will ever have if they will wake up and see the Republicans want to get minorities off the Government Plantation – a hand up instead of a hand out.

WOWWWWW!! Can’t believe you actually typed that. Let’s look at republican policies…hmm start with tax cuts…hmm who benefits more…oh yeah, the top tax brackets…hmm, deregulation, who seems to profit off of that….yeae, the top bracket again….less see who benefits of democratic policies….SS…oh yeah everyone, how bout medicare….oh everyone…how bout the civil rights act….minorities…i could swear republicans, or what later became part of the republican party was highly oppose to that…yeah, great help consevatives are

Babyboomer

April 2nd, 2010
11:27 am

I’m from the government. Your cloudy thinking is typical of all the double speaking that is so prevalent today. Affirmative action is not about what Black Americans think. It is about trying to right a wrong. Your thinking is analogous to robbing and killing some one, then telling the judge that you shouldn.t go to jail because you are sorry and will give some of the money back. There are some things that you can not un do and pay for. This mess happened over many generations – what (except double speaking) make you think that it is all vindicated in one.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 2nd, 2010
11:29 am

Deart babyboonmer @ 11:27, we would agree that affirmative action is born of vindictiveness, and has no relation to a pursuit of excellence.

Some people are stupid

April 2nd, 2010
11:29 am

Johnny Reb-
I’m a RNC member, but everytime they ask for money I email them aksing when they will drop the Big Tent crap? Political parties, like people, should not compromise their principles to gain approval or more votes.

But isn’t that a just as radical approach to being a liberal. If the countyr is center right, then to get elected, don’t you need people more towards the center.

schrutebeets

April 2nd, 2010
11:31 am

Why would any black person question the job performance of another black person in the context of affirmative action? Fair or not, affirmative action question-marks the legitimacy of every black person in every job (e.g., republican party chairman, president, columnist, etc.).

Some people are stupid

April 2nd, 2010
11:33 am

schrutebeets-
The reason you question is because the reason he is hired is obvious. How many black chairmen of the RNC has there been? At least the President is elected by the people, he actually had to beat out people in primaries to show he was qualified.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 2nd, 2010
11:36 am

Dear some people @ 11:33, you just made the argument for Steele – he had to beat out several people to be elected by the voting members of the RNC. Or you just disparaged your President as the equivalent of Steele.

Some people are stupid

April 2nd, 2010
11:46 am

Ragnar- you misread my argument, certain things get lost in typing.
Obama beat out several candidates, by popular votes(electorate) from people all over the country. Meaning while some people voted for him cause he was black, others voted based of his either what he promised in a campaign or his vision for the country. Steele on the other hand is chosen by a 168 person committee, who choses from 6 people. Now if I just got beat by a black guy in a national election and I am trying to get the black vote, what do I do. I know, make the black person the chairman. Same thing they tried to do to court the women with pickin Palin to try to wrap up the Hilary people. Which has a better chance of being corrupt, a nationwide vote, or a committee vote.

JohnnyReb

April 2nd, 2010
11:48 am

Some People – yes, we need the fence setters, but only if they embrace our beliefs. If a fence setter is really at heart a liberal/progressive, and at the moment simply unhappy with the left, he/she will not be happy in the conservative camp.

Babyboomer

April 2nd, 2010
11:48 am

Denneskjold. I guess by your logic (double speaking) all criminals that go to jail is all about vindictiveness. News flash- it is called justice. In a just society – pursuit of excellence naturally follows.

Dee keith

April 2nd, 2010
11:50 am

Minorities can argue that GWB was an AA president. He got into Yale University, because his dad was friends with the university president, so white men can’t have it both ways, you can’t argue AA is a handout to minorities, and then turn around and ignore a handout based on race/class. BTW W. went on to bragg about being a C average student while at Yale, as well as bragg about his wife being smarter than he is in front of a live television audience.

The Tar and Feathers Party

April 2nd, 2010
11:51 am

The Repugs are not very bright, they should have chosen Condi for the position, not some dandy in a three piece suit. When does Rush move to Costa Rica? Soon I trust, and he can take Boortz with him.

ctucker

April 2nd, 2010
11:53 am

schrutebeets, Affirmative action “marks the legitimacy of every black person in every job?” When my parents were young in the Jim Crow South, before affirmative action, they couldn’t get certain jobs because of legally-mandated racism.Wow, we can’t win, can we?