Friday, July 2, 2010
In the world of politics, what’s more enjoyable than conservative cannibalism? Righties goosestep in a tightly practiced line similar to Kim Jong Il’s army of lemmings. Question Rush Limbaugh? Never. Challenge the myth of the late Ronald Reagan? What are you? A comedian? Admit Sarah Palin is a grifter and an intellectual midget? Expect to be run out of town.
So when conservative firebrand William Kristol, the founder and editor of the far-right political magazine The Weekly Standard and a regular commentator on FOX News, pens a letter to RNC chairman Michael Steele, asking for his resignation, I couldn’t help but enjoy the moment.
Kristol’s unusually negative reaction to Michael Steele was in response to the RNC chairman caught on camera saying the Afghanistan war is a largely “unwinnable” and the conflict was “President Obama’s choosing.” Steele’s remarks are just the latest embarrassment for the controversial RNC chairman. In March 2010, the public learned under Steele’s leadership, the RNC spent $1,946.25 at Voyeur West Hollywood, described as “a lesbian, bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers.”
In the neocon world, William Kristol enjoys impeccable cred. He is one of the original founders of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). He is also one of three board members of Keep America Safe, a think tank co-founded by professional Obama-hater Liz Cheney, the vicious heterosexual daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney.
In his letter to Steele published on his Weekly Standard site calling for the RNC leader’s resignation, Kristol opines:
You are, I know, a patriot. So I ask you to consider, over this July 4 weekend, doing an act of service for the country you love: Resign as chairman of the Republican party.
Your tenure has of course been marked by gaffes and embarrassments, but I for one have never paid much attention to them, and have never thought they would matter much to the success of the causes and principles we share. But now you have said, about the war in Afghanistan, speaking as RNC chairman at an RNC event, “Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama’s choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.” And, “if [Obama] is such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?”
Needless to say, the war in Afghanistan was not “a war of Obama’s choosing.” It has been prosecuted by the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama. Republicans have consistently supported the effort. Indeed, as the DNC Communications Director (of all people) has said, your statement “puts [you] at odds with about 100 percent of the Republican Party.”
And not on a trivial matter. At a time when Gen. Petraeus has just taken over command, when Republicans in Congress are pushing for a clean war funding resolution, when Republicans around the country are doing their best to rally their fellow citizens behind the mission, your comment is more than an embarrassment. It’s an affront, both to the honor of the Republican party and to the commitment of the soldiers fighting to accomplish the mission they’ve been asked to take on by our elected leaders.
There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they’re certainly entitled to make their case. But one of them shouldn’t be the chairman of the Republican party.
The hapless Michael Steele recovered from the controversy of spending RNC donations to attend a lesbian bondage club in West Hollywood but, calling the Afghanistan war “unwinnable” clearly makes him a heretic in neoconservative circles. I expect Steele will be gone by Labor Day.