GOP chairman Michael Steele has had his share of woes in the weeks since he was elected with the aim of re-making the party. He bowed down to Rush, got skewered by Comedy Central (and has yet to show up for Colbert’s “rap challenge”) and appeared (via simulacrum) on SNL. Whew.
You’d think he’d take a breather, but he’s at it again. The pro-life, anti-gay marriage devout Catholic tells GQ that women should have the right to choose an abortion and that homosexuality is not a choice, but is the same as being born black–as he was. To wit:
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?
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.
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.
Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
He also says he think Roe was wrongly decided and should be overturned, but thinks the states could debate the issue with pro-choice outcomes, and that pro-choicers are welcome in the GOP.
As for gays, he says:
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.”
In some respects Steele sounds like Obama, the man he is supposed to counterbalance, in stating his beliefs but then saying hey, we respect all views and welcome them. That only goes so far. But read the whole thing, and Steele’s “brother-to-brother” rap sounds really strained–like he’s writing Jon Stewart’s copy for him–and his blast at bipartisanship and other comments are predictable. Some makeover.
Also worth reading are his views on the priesthood and gays (he was a seminarian for three years, but liked to party–not sure why that was an obstacle to ordination. But anyway…)
In any case, via the NYT comes the inevitable damage control:
I am pro-life, always have been, always will be.
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. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed. I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue.
But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.