"Bush Is My Homeboy"

This post may be a little off-topic for a blog that is mainly about moving to Eastern Washington, law school, and Blesus' antics in various foreign countries and Dupont Circle. But I've been following the story of Maryland Republican Senatorial Candidate Michael Steele's "off the record" comments to a group of journalists on Monday with bizarre fascination. If you've read any of the story - and subsequent articles guessing who made comments like "Just shut up and get something done" (about Congress) or "A monumental failure of government" (about the response to Hurricane Katrina) or "I've got an 'R' here, a scarlet letter" (about running as a Republican in a "blue state") - you know that Steele's got it figured out. Republicans are failures. They failed us in Iraq, they failed us in New Orleans, and they fail us every day with their message of hate and intolerance.

For a moment there, I was really proud of the anonymous candidate who made these comments. Republicans should be criticizing their President (I say "their" because Bush certainly isn't my President. I voted for Jed Bartlett) and their leadership in Congress and their handling of, oh, just about every crisis that has befell our (sometimes) great nation. But then I wondered - why is this candidate speaking off the record? He had already said he didn't want Bush campaigning for him. And let's face it - midterm elections this year are going to be tight. Its not like the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is going to pull their financial backing of this candidate or turn around and endorse one of the Democratic candidates!! Say what you think! Go on record! Grow some balls!!

But then today I was even more shocked to see the candidate - who has since been identified as Steele, Maryland's current Lieutenant Governor - completely backpeddle. Apparently, he was "just joking" about his scarlet letter. Even more so, he LOVES President Bush. Bush "is his homeboy!" Now look. We all know 'Ol George isn't the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but he's not dumb enough to think that you would actually kid around like that - to a group of reporters, no less!!! Or at the very least, Karl pointed out to him that you were, in fact, very serious. But you were kidding? But you are not a sycophant? But you would never criticize the President? Its enough to confuse the leader of the free world. Be kind, Mike. He's slow.

I think what this comes down to for me is that no matter which party we're dealing with, its very rare to find a politician these days who is not afraid to criticize the leadership of their party/The President. Sure, John McCain or Howard Dean may make some outrageous comments here and there and get people fired up for approximately 32 seconds, but they would never actually do anything to jeopardize their role in their respective parties. As a young voter, I want to hear from people who have something to say, rather than just someone who will tow the party line (which, especially coming from Democrats, are getting really boring). I had hope that this anonymous Republican candidate would carry his message of honesty and straight talk through until November, even just to make the race more interesting. But until Mr. Steele gets some balls - or at least a press aide with balls - it looks like this is just going to be another boring midterm race.

UPDATE: It appears that the Washington Post's Marc Fisher agrees with me.


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