Steele flees from moderates

STEELE FLEES FROM MODERATES…. When former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele was running for the Senate in a pretty reliable “blue” state, he was anxious to offer evidence of his alleged centrism. Now that he wants to be chairman of the Republican National Committee, Steele is equally anxious to prove the opposite. (thanks to V.S. for the heads-up)

Last year, with some fanfare, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele joined two prominent Republican moderates in announcing the revival of a centrist political organization, the Republican Leadership Council.

Now, Steele’s name has mysteriously disappeared from the RLC’s Web site.

Until recently, he was prominently listed as one of three co-founders, along with former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and former Missouri Sen. John Danforth. The change apparently happened within the past week, according to an Internet search.

What a remarkable coincidence. Just as he wants to convince the far-right GOP base that he’s a reflexive, knee-jerk, conservative ideologue, Steele’s name suddenly goes missing from the RLC’s roster.

Colleen Parro, executive director of the anti-abortion Republican National Coalition for Life, recently called Steele’s involvement with the RLC “deeply troubling.”

She broke into laughter yesterday after clicking on the RLC’s Web site and learning that the description of Steele’s involvement was gone.

Neither officials with the RLC nor Steele responded to requests to discuss the Web alterations, but Parro noted that Steele was listed as a co-founder of the group as recently as last Friday. She saw the change as evidence that “he is trying to get away from it.”

Keep in mind, Steele is a staunch opponent of abortion rights, but the fact that he was even associated with the RLC has become problematic with the Republican Party’s activists.

It’s quite a party.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.