Michael Steele, RNC chair–and pro-choice Catholic?

Michael Steele.jpgGOP 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.


Explain that.
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.

You do?
Yeah. Absolutely.

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.

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Reaganite in NYC

posted March 12, 2009 at 11:03 pm

I re-read the section from the interview you quoted (which I cut/pasted below), and I sincerely think you can read it a number of ways. One way is sympathetically (and consistent with his later, clarifying statement to the NYT). The other way, of course, is unsympathetically and with the purpose of nailing him on a “gotcha.”
David, that’s your “choice.” Heck, David, it’s Lent and Steele is a fellow Catholic … so, you know what, let’s cut him a little slack and accept the first approach and not have our knives out for the guy. OK?
Q: Explain that.
A: 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.
Q: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
A: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
Q: You do?
A: Yeah. Absolutely.

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posted March 13, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Why do you call yourself a Catholic. You are so obviously anti-EVERYTHING that Catholicism stands for. Do yourself a favor and come out of your proverbial closet. You’ll be happier once you profess your love for Satan.

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RE: Mark

posted March 13, 2009 at 6:00 pm

How dare you say this about David! It’s no wonder that Catholicism is slowly but surely fading away in the United States. You don’t have any respect for anyone’s views that are different than your own. It’s Catholics like you that are making the RCC irrelevant in this day and age. I say go ahead and keep talking if you like the way things are going. You will find your church in the minority in the near future, but perhaps that is the way you want it, isn’t it? It isn’t David that is having a soft spot for Satan. Perhaps you should take a look into the mirror.

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posted March 14, 2009 at 8:17 am

I don’t think it’s fair to call Michael Steele “pro-choice.” He’s only pro-choice when he thinks that whoever is listening to him wants him to be pro-choice. When talking with those who oppose abortion rights, he calls himself “pro-life.”
Context is everything.

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posted March 14, 2009 at 9:37 am

The man’s original comments as quoted here show him to be a lot more sensible than I expected. He’s learning that he wasn’t elected to think. He was elected to front for the fundamentalist powers in the party. They won’t let him think for himself.

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Gerard Nadal

posted March 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm

“They won’t let him think for himself.”
After watching how the political left speaks of any Black man or woman who dares veer right of center (“Uncle Tom” “Oreo” “Closet Cracker”), I find your comment so utterly consistent with your side of the aisle. What you have done here is called projection.
I remember the Clarence Thomas Hearings. I’ve noted his treatment by the left.

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posted March 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Let’s see what he can actually do for Republican’s. Pro-choice, works for me, anti-gay marriage doesn’t work for me. He thinks homosexuality isn’t a choice, but feels that same gender marriages are wrong, due to that “one-man, one-woman” hang up some religions have. Marriages are not always perfomed in a religious setting with priests, Rabbi’s or other religious leaders, so what difference does it make to allow same gender marriages…none!

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