Mona Charen

In a year when Americans, particularly Republicans and independents, are apoplectic about Washington's promiscuous spending, this doesn't exactly send the right signal.

Well, if management isn't his strong suit, he must compensate with inspiring leadership, right? Not quite. He debuted with an utterly gratuitous swipe at Rush Limbaugh as "incendiary" and "ugly," and followed that with an unhelpful reference to abortion as an "individual choice" (though Steele is pro-life). Asked in January whether the Republicans would win the House of Representatives in 2010, Steele said, "Not this year." Not helpful -- and possibly not even true.

Now, with Voyeur making all the comedians' monologues, Steele is suggesting that he, like President Obama, is held to higher standards because he is black. It's possible that some people are more judgmental about him because he's black, but it's undeniable that many people are inhibited from voicing their dissatisfaction with him for the same reason.

Political parties are not college seminars, and leaders needn't be saints. But the Republican Party is just clawing back to respectability after the irresponsible spending of the Republican congressional majorities, the Foley scandal, and the perceived weaknesses of the Bush presidency. More importantly, the country is faced with a profound challenge from the left. If the (social) Democrats under Obama/Pelosi/Reid are not stopped, if the Republican Party is unable to attract the energy and passion of the tea party movement, the country will be irreversibly changed for the worse.

At this moment, the Republican Party needs more than ever to present a sober, serious, and ethical face to the public. Voyeur was the last straw. It would be an unselfish gesture for Steele to step aside.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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