Why does Michael Steele hate Republicans?
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Friday that a victory by Doug Hoffman, the third-party candidate in the Nov. 3 New York special election, is a win for the GOP.
The actual Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava, trails Hoffman, the Conservative Party nominee, and Democrat Bill Owens by double-digits according to a recent poll. But Steele argued during an interview with POLITICO that the GOP doesn't need to worry about Scozzafava's lagging ratings because Hoffman is essentially a Republican.
"You've got two Republicans running in that race. My upside is that one of them will likely win," Steele said. "We want to be supporting the one that wins."
"I don't split the party into conservative or not," he said. "I'm looking as the national chairman to walk out of there one way or the other with a win."
I get it. He's hedging. But, in this race, Hoffman isn't the Republican, Scozzafava is.
Let me repeat that, just to be clear: In NY-23, Dede Scozzafava, not Doug Hoffman, is the Republican nominee. So shouldn't the chairman of the Republican National Committee be actively backing the Republican nominee?
Winning, of course, is what matters, and Hoffman, the Conservative candidate (and also a Republican), has a much better shot of winning than Scozzafava, who has been viciously and relentlessly smeared by the right.
Still, there's something pathetic about Steele's win-either-way approach. If nothing else, it papers over what is the real story here, which is the rapid splintering of the Republican Party and the ongoing rise of the extremist right in what is increasingly a narrow, ideologically extreme party on the fringe of American society.