GOP Chairman Michael Steele is once again demonstrating how astute he is. Quick to recognize how his op-ed piece "Protecting Our Seniors
" landed with such a thud, he has raced out to do what politicians always do when such things happen: further muddle his remarks. To address the embarrassment from his own words, he went on NPR this morning to make sure nobody has the slightest idea what he was talking about. Mission accomplished. Listen:
So, did he mean what he said when he wrote, "First, we need to protect Medicare and not cut it in the name of 'health-insurance reform.' " Well, not exactly, he said. What he really
meant to say was that Medicare "has become bloated."
Huh? Did he favor cuts or not?
And what about that song from the true-believers hymnal that the party faithful sing endlessly, "We need to prohibit government from getting between seniors and their doctors"? And "Republicans oppose any new government entity overruling a doctor's decision about how to treat his or her patient." The question was obvious: Don't the insurance companies do that?
Well, yes, Steele responded, but "the government is going to do it 10 times more." So, "I'm not saying I like or dislike Medicare," Steele went on, "but let's focus on fixing it."
What he seemed really intent on fixing was any damage his "Bill of Rights" had done. After his interviewer repeatedly tried to explore Steele's seeming inconsistencies, he reverted to the consistent tactic of those trying to do the quick step.
He blamed the interviewer: "You're doing a wonderful little dance here and you're trying to be cute, but the reality of this is very simple. I'm not saying the government doesn't have a role to play. I've never said that. The government does have a role to play, the government has a very limited role to play."
Never let it be said that the national chairman of the Republican Party does not believe in clearing this matter up. Now that he has, we can return to the same question we had before: "Huh?"