The gift that keeps on giving

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING…. It’s Friday. You know what that means — Michael Steele is guest-hosting Bill Bennett’s radio show again. Will he say something ridiculous? Of course he will.

Apparently unable to learn from egregious mistakes from the recent past, RNC Chairman Michael Steele once again took to the radio airwaves today as a guest host for Bill Bennett. Earlier this week, Steele declared “an end to the era of Republicans looking backward.” This morning, however, Steele revisited the 2008 election to insist that President Obama had never been “vetted” because the press “fell in love with the black man”:

“The problem that we have with this president is that we don’t know [Obama]. He was not vetted, folks. … He was not vetted, because the press fell in love with the black man running for the office. ‘Oh gee, wouldn’t it be neat to do that? Gee, wouldn’t it make all of our liberal guilt just go away? We can continue to ride around in our limousines and feel so lucky to live in an America with a black president.'”

Specifically, Steele wanted to see more “dissecting” during the campaign of Jeremiah Wright’s relationship with the president.

It’s hard to even know where to start with such an absurd remark. How offensive is all of this? Let us count the ways: 1) if Wright drew any more media attention last year, people might have begun thinking he was the candidate; 2) Steele just said Republicans have to stop looking backwards; 3) Obama was a candidate for nearly two full years and couldn’t have been vetted any more thoroughly; 4) Steele has personally had to fight against the idea that he got ahead based on his race, so this is uniquely insulting coming from him; 5) if the RNC is still obsessed with Jeremiah Wright, it’s in bigger trouble than I thought; 6) I’ve never heard of campaign reporters who get to ride around in limousines.

But Adam Serwer gets at the point that must not go overlooked: “Michael Steele tells black people different things than he tells white people.”

When Steele has a black audience, Obama’s victory is “a testament to struggle, perseverance, and opportunity.” When Steele has a white audience, he thinks Obama is a “magic negro” who just won because of liberal white guilt.

It’s practically the definition of a sell-out.

Post Script: And to keep harping on my Dean comparison, will political reporters now ask Republican leaders on the Hill whether they agree with their party’s chairman that President Obama only succeeded because of the color of his skin? Or do they think the RNC chairman should apologize?