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Man of Steele - Spine of Jello

March 13, 2009

Because I am overt and clearly pro-choice when it comes to abortion and stem cell research, I get a lot of negative feedback whenever my writing contains those views. I am used to mostly religious and mostly Republican commenter blasting me for even discussing the topic. For most religious right Republicans Choice is not one of your choices. It is an absolute fact that at least since Ronald Reagan's Presidency, the Republican Part has been a Pro-Life party. Of course, there have always been a few Republicans that were Pro-Choice, just like there were Republican blacks that supported affirmative action. Republicans with middle or left leaning views on personal liberties have existed, but they were a fringe group in the GOP, there because of their fiscally conservative views, and not "on board" with this right wing, religiously fervent majority that is the Republican Party. That is why it was so surprising when the elected head of the Republican Party, Michael Steele said what he said in an interview with Chris Matthews on his Hardball MSNBC show.

Matthews: How much of your pro-life stance, for you, is informed not just by your Catholic faith but by the fact that you were adopted?

Steele: Oh, a lot. Absolutely. I see the power of life in that-I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about it Uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth.

Matthews: Explain that.

Steele: The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.

Matthews: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?

Steele: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice.

Matthews: You do?

Steele: Yeah. Absolutely.

Eventually, in that Hardball interview Michael Steele did fumble his way to a long held Republican opinion that hard choices should always be made at the state level, but the head of the GOP had done something amazing, he said what he thought, and called out to fiscally conservative Republicans who are not interested in legislating Religious Fundamentalist dogma.

Religious Fundamentalists have had one hand on the GOP steering wheel for many years now, and if they let go of the steering wheel they lose control of the Republican agenda. The Religious Right runs the risk of being in a political party that has tolerance for differing views, they will be in a party that makes room for diverse voters who may agree with conservative economic policy but think government should stay out of people's bed rooms and make their own decisions regarding parenting, including some who support pro-choice, equality pay for women, and gay marriage. To loose control of the Republican Party is just too horrible to contemplate if you believe that God wants you to use government to make God's law (as they see it) the law of the land.

[P.S. I have always wondered why so many Republicans object to Islamic Countries electing a Muslim Fundamentalist Government, and yet they are working tirelessly to elect a Christian Fundamentalist Government.]

Well the religious zealots of the GOP have not let go of the steering wheel, and the core of the party demanded a retraction from Steele and they got one.

Very quickly after the Hardball interview we got this retraction from Michael Steele:

"I am pro-life, always have been, always will be," Steele said. "I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a choice' before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances."

Does this sound like a clarification to you? Look back at what this guy said on Hardball, and what he said in his clarification statement. It doesn't look like clarification to me, it looks like back-peddling. Steele went on to say he supported the Republican Platform that called for a Human Life Amendment.

This is the second big back-peddling retractions from Steele. The first was when he "dissed" Rush Limbaugh and then had to come back and grovel in public and beg for the big guy's forgiveness. His name is Steele but his spine is made of jello. His name is Steele, but he has allowed the Republican Core to steal his brain.

The truth is, if Michael Steele had the courage of his alleged convictions he would stick to his views and call for the Republican Party to be diverse, open, inviting to all, and tolerant of, no, respectful of, no willing to advocate for the human rights of all citizens, and there by becoming a party that all Americans could consider joining.

I do not know if the core of the Republican Party represents the majority of the GOP. I have no clue if the intolerant, religiously hard nosed core of the Republican Party was defeated in the 2008 election, or if it was just a disgusted rejection of George Bush. Perhaps the core of the party can come back, and they can call for a return of back street, wire coat hanger abortions, and get the gays back in the closet, and joyfully " bomb, bomb, bomb, uh, bomb, bomb Iran." The decision will be made by the GOP over time. It is likely, if Michael Steele says what he thinks just one more time that he will be out looking for work. A Republican Party that would be inviting to the middle, where most voters live, may or may not exist any time soon. The Republican's have to decide if they want their party to be a Christian Fundamentalist dominated political party, or a fiscally conservative political party. Every fiscal conservative is not a blackbelt fundamentalist. The battle within the GOP is between religious radicals and tolerant fiscal conservatives.

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