Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CBN Reporter David Brody Attempts to Rehabilitate Michael Steele's Pro-Life Credentials

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele
(Matt Houston/AP)

Up until last week, I was a huge fan of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. In fact, he was my choice 2 years ago to be RNC Chairman and among my top choices, along with Sen. Brownback and Govs. Palin and Jindal, to be Sen. McCain's running mate. So, I was very much on board with the notion of his becoming RNC Chairman this time around.

That was until this news regarding Steele's less-than-stellar defense of the pro-life cause on Meet the Press came out.

And now, David Brody of Christian Broadcasting Newtwork gets in on the act of trying to rehabilitate Steele's pro-life credentials. Unfortunately for him, he drops additional hints regarding Steele's unworthiness for the RNC job:

Michael Steele wants to become Republican National Committee Chairman. Yet some anonymous emails are circulating within Republican circles suggesting he’s not pro-life enough to be chairman. Colleen Parro of the Republican National Coalition for Life has publicly voiced concerns because Steele was a co-founder of the socially moderate Republican Leadership Committee. (more on that here.)

The RLC explains their mission this way:

Inspired by a drive to get back to the fundamentals of the Republican Party, Senator John Danforth, Lt. Governor Michael Steele, and Governor Christine Todd Whitman created the political organization the Republican Leadership Council, which advocates for the historic Republican principles of liberty, individual responsibility, and personal freedom...
The fact, alone, that Steele founded the Republican Leadership Council along with Danforth and Whitman is enough to disqualify him from the RNC job, in my mind, on the basis of poor judgment and questionable political alliances. Both Danforth and Whitman have stated on numerous occasions their desire to see the GOP scuttle those "divisive wedge issues" like abortion and marriage.

With Whitman and Danforth both clamoring for the GOP to ditch social conservatives, to then place one of their close political associates, with whom they co-founded the Republican Leadership Council, at the head of the RNC is not a good political bet for those of us who are concerned with cultural issues.

Brody, however, apparently disagrees with this assessment:
Look, here’s the reality. Steele’s critics have a huge task ahead of them if they’re going to make the case that the guy is not pro-life enough. He’s got the solid track record on the life issue. It’s hard to argue against it.

If anything, the ties to the RLC could be seen as a plus in his corner. After all, the Republican Party will not win presidential contests if their candidate is seen as an ideologue. The challenges for the incoming chairman will be numerous including how to brand the GOP a certain way without sacrificing conservative principles.

Steele has quite a few advantages in the race. He’s well liked within the party, he’s an effective communicator, he seems to have the social value and fiscal discipline package and because he’s African-American it also may send a greater signal to the country that the GOP is not the same old “bunch of white guys” party. The GOP needs to start a new conversation with Americans. Steele could be the bridge to that next step.
Maybe. Maybe not. I have to admit that what Brody describes in that last paragraph are some of the attributes that caused me to gravitate toward Steele 2 years ago in the race for the RNC chair. It's what caused me to consider him a prime prospect for McCain's running mate this past year. And it's what had me in his corner up until last week when I found out the disturbing facts that I mention above.

If Steele wants to get me back in his corner, then he must explain to my satisfaction (1) his troubling comments to the late Tim Russert on Meet the Press regarding his reluctance to see Roe v. Wade overturned; (2) his close association in formting the Republican Leadership Council with those who seek to de-emphasize the GOP's opposition to abortion and same-sex "marriage" and other aspects of the social conservative agenda; and (3) his vision for moving the social conservative agenda forward as a key part of the overall agenda of the Republican National Committee.

Until Steele can satisfactorily address my concerns, I'm afraid I'm going to have to voice my opposition to his elevation to the RNC chairmanship.

Regular Guy Paul has added a couple of comments (here and here) that provide some additional illumination on the subject of Steele's pro-life bona fides. Paul links to this piece at RedState:
We are in the process of putting some questions out that we hope each of the candidates for RNC Chair will answer. I've already raised some questions about Michael Steele, particularly regarding his time with the Republican Leadership Council and his stance on abortion.

I've had a lot of people call me since that posting — mostly people who like Michael Steele and a few people who don't. There is one thing they all have in common. They do not question his commitment to life issues. Whether they like him or not, they say there is no room to question Steele on the life issue.

That's great news.

Also, on the issue of the Republican Leadership Council, I'm reliably told Steele left the RLC after the group began challenging Republicans in primaries. He touches on that in an interview today with the Washington Times.
But he said he would like to see the Supreme Court overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationally. Almost all religious conservatives regard the federal constitutional protection of the unborn as a moral obligation...

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Creative Minority Report Asks: "Is Michael Steele Pro-Life?"

Racial Politics: Obama vs. Steele

Is Michael Steele on McCain's "Short List" for VP?

The Story Behind Steele: No One Offered RNC Chair to Marylander

Incredibly Stupid Move

Michael Steele to Head GOP?

Steele Gaining

Black Democrats Pledge Backing to GOP's Steele

One of the Best Preemptive Political Ads That I've Ever Seen

Maryland Lt. Gov. (and U.S. Senate Candidate) Michael Steele Reaffirms Catholic Values

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At 11/19/2008 2:02 PM, Anonymous Bender said...

Look, here’s the reality. Steele’s critics have a huge task ahead of them if they’re going to make the case that the guy is not pro-life enough. He’s got the solid track record on the life issue. It’s hard to argue against it.

Yeah sure. And John McCain is a stellar pro-lifer too. I mean, just look at his voting record. Just because he ran that damn radio ad advocating embryo-killing stem cell research 100 times more than any other ad, just because he made judicial appointments the 283rd most important issue in his campaign, just because he could not say more than two sentences in defending and advocating pro-life principles, that does not mean that he, the most electable, is not the most pro-life guy ever.

Michael Steele -- another addition to my "dead to me" list.

At 11/19/2008 3:44 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

I was listening to the radio on the way to work yesterday, and they announced that they'd have Michael Steele on to discuss the RNC gig.

I called to ask them to ask him about his pro-life stance.

They put me on the air, and as it turned out, I was the last caller before he came on, and he heard my call, and so that was the first topic of discussion.

Mr. Steele said that he is pro-life, that as a Catholic and a former Augustinian friar is sincerely pro-life, and that he supports overturning Roe v. Wade.

He said that his involvement with RLC was intended to help build bridges between social conservatives and moderates, although he is no longer with RLC.

Take it for what it's worth.

At 11/19/2008 3:45 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

More here.


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