RNC Chairman Michael Steele On Abortion, Gay Marriage… And Fashion? [Updated]

March 12, 2009

Michael SteeleGQ has fascinating and at times bizarre interview with RNC Chairman Michael Steele (AKA Rush’s bitch) that is sure to raise some eyebrows in Republican and religious circles.

On abortion:

Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.

You do?
Yeah. Absolutely.

Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade?
I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

On The Gays:

Do you think homosexuality is a choice?
Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.” It’s like saying, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.”

That answer is, of course, huge coming from the black leader of the Republican leader. The (black) religious right loves to say that “gay ≠ black” as a justification for not giving us civil rights or even allowing us to draw parallels between the struggles.

Interestingly, these were Steele’s comments on gay marriage:

Well, my position is, hey, look, I have been, um, supportive of a lot of my friends who are gay in some of the core things that they believe are important to them. You know, the ability to be able to share in the information of your partner, to have the ability to—particularly in times of crisis—to manage their affairs and to help them through that as others—you know, as family members or others—would be able to do. I just draw the line at the gay marriage. And that’s not antigay, no. Heck no! It’s just that, you know, from my faith tradition and upbringing, I believe that marriage—that institution, the sanctity of it—is reserved for a man and a woman. That’s just my view. And I’m not gonna jump up and down and beat people upside the head about it, and tell gays that they’re wrong for wanting to aspire to that, and all of that craziness. That’s why I believe that the states should have an opportunity to address that issue.

So you think it’s a state issue?
Absolutely. Just as a general principle, I don’t like mucking around with the Constitution. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I think, you know, in a pluralistic, dynamic society as the one that we have, every five years you can have a constitutional convention about something, you know? I don’t think we should be, you know, dancing around and trying to amend it every time I’ve got a social issue or a political issue or a business issue that I want to get addressed. Having said that, I think that the states are the best laboratory, the best place for those decisions to be made, because they will then reflect the majority of the community in which the issue is raised. And that’s exactly what a republic is all about.

Because he’s sensitive to the needs of aren’t-allowed-to-get-married gay couples but believes in the so-called sancity of marriage, you’d think he’d support civil unions, right? Well, you should remember that only a short time ago, Steele called civil unions “crazy.”

Other things the amazing interview covers? Steele’s times in the priesthood and the gays that resided there, his love of red carpet fashion, his being snubbed by then-Senator Obama, whether he would have his current job if he were white, his plans to bring hip-hop to the Republican party, and of course, Rush.

Definitely read the full interview. Highly recommended (if for no other reason than for someone to tell me if I’m the only one that thinks he came off a bit queeny).

Update: The New York Times has a follow-up statement from Steele as well as reactions from various conservatives, including Mike Huckabee.

Advertisements

Obama’s State Of The Nation Address; Recovery.gov [Updated]

February 24, 2009

Presidential Seal Obama announced in his quasi-State of the Union address Tuesday night the launch of Recovery.gov, which allows citizens to track where all the stimulus money is going:

Recovery.gov is a website that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going. There are going to be a few different ways to search for information. The money is being distributed by Federal agencies, and soon you’ll be able to see where it’s going — to which states, to which congressional districts, even to which Federal contractors. As soon as we are able to, we’ll display that information visually in maps, charts, and graphics.

Great idea.  Too bad it didn’t track the last – what was it? – $700B?

You can watch the speech at the White House website or read the full transcript. Some highlights follow (definitely read the education section).

On energy:

“We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century.  And yet, it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient.  We invented solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it.  New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.

Well I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders – and I know you don’t either.  It is time for America to lead again.”

On education:

“And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training.  This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship.  But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.  And dropping out of high school is no longer an option.  It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American.  That is why we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal:  by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

On budgetary transparency:

“That is why this budget looks ahead ten years and accounts for spending that was left out under the old rules – and for the first time, that includes the full cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  For seven years, we have been a nation at war.  No longer will we hide its price.

On tax cuts:

“[…] 95% of the working households in America will receive a tax cut – a tax cut that you will see in your paychecks beginning on April 1st.

Because of this plan, families who are struggling to pay tuition costs will receive a $2,500 tax credit for all four years of college.  And Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage to help them weather this storm.

On housing relief:

“…we have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and re-finance their mortgages.  It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values – Americans who will now be able to take advantage of the lower interest rates that this plan has already helped bring about.  In fact, the average family who re-finances today can save nearly $2000 per year on their mortgage.”

On Guantanamo and civil liberties: (AKA “Fuck you Cheney!”)

“That is why I have ordered the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and will seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists – because living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.  And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture.”

Token hopey-ness: (Ty’Sheoma was seated next to Michelle)

“And I think about Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina – a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom.  She has been told that her school is hopeless, but the other day after class she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this room.  She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp.  The letter asks us for help, and says, “We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina but also the world.  We are not quitters.

We are not quitters.

These words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of the people who sent us here.  They tell us that even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres; a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity.”

Mississippi Governor Bobby Jindal provided a gag-inducing Republican response that summarized Obama’s rise to prominence in the same tone and language a parent reserves for the first time a child ties their own shoes. Basically, he said that the government should get out of the way of the private sector (YEAH, because that’s worked so well thus far) and just cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes. I’ve never been this annoyed by a Republican speech since W. CNN has some (text) excerpts; [Update:] Talking Points Memo has clips of the speech and reaction from the Fox News Panel. (Spoiler: they were not impressed!) Thanks to Jindal, gays in Mississippi can now be legally fired from their private or public sector jobs solely for being gay, a protection they formerly had. I can’t believe this douche nozzle is the presumed Republican challenge to Obama in 2012.

[Trivia: Did you catch Obama claim that the automobile was invented by Americans? Well, any car freak (me) knows that the invention of the automobile is actually credited to Mr. Benz, a German. It was only popularized by Ford.]

Update: I’m not a huge fan of Rachel Maddow but her response on Jindal’s statement (and his BIZARRE use of a government assistance/Katrina reference), and the new leadership of the GOP (Michael Steele, etc), are right-on.  Highly-recommended (thanks, JMG):


Being Gay = Being A Murderer and More GOP Fun!

February 24, 2009

Republican elephantIn regards to potentially giving the gay partners of employees of the state of Colorado access to their partner’s health benefits (danger!), Sen. Renfroe had this to say:

“I’m not saying this (homosexuality) is the only sin that’s out there,” said Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley. “We have murder. We have all sorts of sin. We have adultery. And we don’t make laws making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal.”

Um, you’re a buffoon.

Full story.

Michael SteeleBut wait! There’s more fun GOP news!

On the fast track to become the GOP’s Supreme Douche Nozzle (sorry Cheney), RNC Chairman Michael Steele first said that the GOP should reach out to gays and now he says a compromise like civil unions are “crazy,” stating that marriage is “a founding value of our country.”  Ahh, double-talk.  Towleroad sorts it out and Dan Savage has a suggestion for another “founding value of our country” that Mr. Steele may want to consider defending.