This morning, RNC Chairman Michael Steele appeared on NBC’s Today Show. Host Matt Lauer asked Steele three separate times whether he agreed with Rush Limbaugh and hoped Barack Obama fails. Steele avoided answering all three times, insisting that his own opinion was inconsequential:
LAUER: I guess I’m asking you your personal opinion. Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh when he says that it’s common sense that as a conservative he wants the policies of Barack Obama to fail?
STEELE: Well, my personal opinion doesn’t matter in this. My job as the RNC chairman is to take into account all of the various views out there within our party and try to put together a strategy and a team that’s going to help us win elections. [...]
LAUER: Mr. Steele, let me try it this way. There are many Republicans out there as well as Democrats who are unemployed right now. People are hurting across this country. Republicans like Democrats are losing their homes, they’re unable to send their kids to school. Do you think those Republicans want the policies of Barack Obama to fail right now?
STEELE: I don’t think that Republicans, Democrats or Independents or anyone wants policies that redistributes the wealth of this country…
The Today Show appearance cements Steele’s full 180-degree turn in less than 72 hours. On Sunday, Steele readily admitted that Limbaugh’s rhetoric — including his desire to see Obama fail — was “incendiary” and “ugly.” After Limbaugh took Steele to task on his radio show the next day, Steele was forced to bow down “to the head of the Republican Party,” as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called Limbaugh.
When Steele was first elected to head the RNC in January, ThinkProgress wondered whether he would “join in as a Limbaugh footsoldier.” His refusal to distance himself from Limbaugh’s comments today makes it clear he’s a full member of Rush’s army of ditto heads.
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) issued the following statement: “I’m sorry Limbaugh called for harsh sentences for drug addicts while he was a drug addict. I’m also sorry that he’s bent on seeing America fail. And I’m sorry that Limbaugh is one sorry excuse for a human being.”