THE FINAL STRAW FOR STEELE?…. RNC Chairman Michael Steele hoped very much to avoid public attention this week. He’d already cancelled some scheduled television interviews in order to focus on internal party issues — hiring a staff, for example — and Steele hoped a few days without a new controversy might quell doubts about his party leadership.
So much for that idea. Before Steele could get to work this week, he chatted with GQ last week*, in an interview that was published online late yesterday. In it, the RNC chairman, who claims to be pro-life, seemed to voice his support for a woman’s right to choose.
GQ: How much of your pro-life stance, for you, is informed not just by your Catholic faith but by the fact that you were adopted?
Steele: Oh, a lot. Absolutely. I see the power of life in that–I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about it… Uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth.
GQ: Explain that.
Steele: The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.
GQ: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Steele: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
The GQ interviewer, understandably surprised, asked about Roe v. Wade, which Steele said was “wrongly decided.” When the magazine asked how women will have the choice Steele says they deserve if Roe is overturned, Steele said, “The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states.”
So, Steele believes abortion rights is “an individual choice” and believes states should be able to dictate that choice.
As part of the same interview, Steele went on to say that he rejects the notion that homosexuality is a choice, and despite having promised to push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as RNC chair, he said he will no longer do so.
Given the controversies surrounding Steele, and the scuttlebutt that his RNC post is very much in jeopardy, this won’t help at all. Indeed, given the seriousness with which Republican leaders take culture war issues, it’s safe to assume Steele would have never become chairman if he’d made these comments before the RNC leadership race.
It’s very easy at this point to imagine Steele coming to the conclusion that he’s become a “distraction,” and deciding that what he really wants to do is spend more time with his family.
* Update: Steele’s interview with GQ was apparently held on February 24th.