After Saying "I Don't Play The Race Card," Michael Steele Blames His Political Problems On Race

February 09, 2010 12:36 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

RNC Chairman Michael Steele

In the past year, RNC Chairman Michael Steele has criticized Democrats for playing the "race card" on several occasions.  For instance, after former President Jimmy Carter suggested that much of the right-wing anger toward President Obama "is based on the fact that he's a black man," Steele professed outrage.  "Blind charges of racism, where none exist," said Steele, "are an affront to those who have suffered the effects of racism."

Steele more recently targeted the entire "left" when Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) invoked slavery in the debate over health care reform: 

STEELE: I'm kinda sick and tired of the left and Democrats in this country when they get in trouble and don't get their way and their backs are up against the wall on legislation or whatever it is their trying to do, they go to that card, they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.

"I don't play the race card, I don't play the race game," Steele said last year, while declining to refute Glenn Beck's allegation that the president hates white people. But, in reality, Steele has proven that he's not immune to accusing his own critics of racism.  In a recent interview with Washingtonian magazine, the embattled chairman implied that his political problems are due to his skin color:

But there's an edge to his voice when he talks about a double standard that he believes has been applied to his critics, and he posits racism as the cause: "I don't see stories about the internal operations of the DNC that I see about this operation.  Why? Is it because Michael Steele is the chairman, or is it because a black man is the chairman?"

Of course, Steele has done plenty to justify -- and even demand -- the attention he gets.  Beyond his role with the party, Steele's controversial book tour and paid speeches have elevated his role as one of the voices of the conservative movement.  Moreover, Steele and congressional Republicans have publicly feuded, with both sides airing their grievances through the media.           

Regardless, if Steele truly believes that he, as the chairman of a political party, faces unfair scrutiny because he's black, he can't reasonably deny that the same principle applies to the leader of the free world.


The Washingtonian article is not yet available online.  View a scanned copy below:


Print