I love comical Republican politicians. My new favorite: Michael Steele!
In a recent speech
, he argues that legalizing gay marriage will hurt small businesses. (it's a good exercise to pause for a moment here and try to imagine what form this argument could possibly take.)
"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."
From this I concluded
a) He's really, hilariously stupid.
b) He's a total prick.
c) I am enormously looking forward to reading more about him.
So I come across this GQ interview
with glee. Mr. Steele begins with an anecdote I can only describe as a creation myth:
Let’s talk about your background. You have a fascinating background. You were adopted
Tell me how it happened.
Well, from what I’ve been told, it’s really kind of a touching story. My mother, when we finally talked about it—it wasn’t until I was much older that she shared with me the story of my arriving in our home. And she said that she was unable to conceive children, and decided, you know, with her husband, that they wanted to have a family. So she went to Catholic charities here, St. Ann’s infant home in Maryland. And she said it was funny, she was walking through the nursery and she got to this one crib, and there was this baby there, and the baby stood up and reached out and said, “Mom.” And that was me.
How old would you have been?
Oh, 7, 8 months old.
And you said, “Mom”?
And reached for her. When she walked by, I reached for her. And even the nuns were, like, floored by that moment. It was very powerful when she told me that. I was a sobbing wreck when she told me that story.
what does it mean
to tell such a story to GQ
But you also decide, after graduating Johns Hopkins, to go into the priesthood? What a decision.
It’s a huge decision. And of course my friends were like, “You’re going to be a what?” You know, because I had a small reputation at Hopkins, you know—
I loved to party—still do—and have a good time
Then he tells a bitchy story about Barack Obama:
Have you had any dealings with Barack Obama?
Nooo. I tried, I tried. When he first came to Washington, I was two years into my term. At that time, I was the only African-American lieutenant governor in the country. And when Obama became senator, my office called his office several—no, more than several—times, to invite…for the two of us to sit down and get to know each other. I was gonna welcome him to my hometown, Washington, D.C. I figured, you know, take him out and get to know each other. And his office told my staff they didn’t see any need for the two of us to meet. So I’m like, “Oh-kay. All right. I don’t know what that’s all about, but that’s fine.”
And did you do that with everyone who was newly elected in the Senate?
No. I reached out to him brother to brother.
Brother to brother?
Yeah, you know: “There are only two of us, Barack, just you and me. You’re the senator, I’m the lieutenant governor.” ’Cause you didn’t have, you know, the black governors in New York and Massachusetts. It was just us.
Well, would you have this job if you were white?
Would I have this job? Now, that’s the reverse of the question I typically get. I usually get, would I have this job if the president were white? And my answer to that is yes. But would I have this job if I were white? [long pause] The answer to that is I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s a very good question. And it says a lot about, I think, where the party is right now that I can’t answer it.
Nice that he's at least thoughtful, but cmon, obviously he would not, right?
And finally, he makes avoiding/totally reframing questions look easy:
What specifically do you blame Bush for, economywise?
Oh, my goodness. The massive bailout at the end of his term? I mean, I don’t even want to use—I don’t even want to get into a blame game, ’cause that’s typical Washington stuff.
Do you have any criticism of how Dick Cheney played his role?
Oh gosh, yes. But I think, at the end of the day, the American people are a little bit better off, a little bit safer, because of what he did. Now, we can make the argument about the style of it, we can make the argument about some of the details of it, but it was effective.
it's really a political golden age