CIVIL UNIONS MUST NOT BE CUTTING EDGE…. Last week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said he’s committed to an “off the hook” public relations offensive that will appeal to voters, especially younger Americans, who’ve rejected Republicans. “We’re going beyond cutting-edge,” Steele promised.

He added, “[W]e need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets.”

In Steele’s embrace of modernity, gay Americans apparently fall somewhere below one-armed midgets. Here’s the Republican National Committee head talking to conservative talk-show host Mike Gallagher yesterday:

GALLAGHER: Is this a time when Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions. Do you favor civil unions?

STEELE: No, no no. What would we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country? I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, “Oh well, today I feel, you know, loosey-goosey on marriage.” […]

GALLAGHER: So no room even for a conversation about civil unions in your mind?

STEELE: What’s the difference?

Keep in mind, this represents another step backwards for the Republican Party. After all, both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have publicly expressed their support for civil unions, as have most Americans, and even conservative governors of very “red” states.

It is an entirely mainstream position. And yet, for the chairman of the RNC, to even ask about Republicans “considering” civil unions is “crazy.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.