STEELE: ‘I DON’T DO POLICY’…. I can appreciate why Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared at the National Press Club this morning to bash the president and trash the idea of health care reform. It’s a key week in the larger reform effort; President Obama is going to be pushing hard; and it stands to reason the RNC would take an active role in pushing back in the other direction.

But would it have killed Steele to read up a little bit on the issue before his appearance?

The RNC chairman said a plan that features competition between private and public insurance constitutes “socialism,” which doesn’t make any sense. Asked if Republicans support an individual requirement to get health care, he didn’t understand the question. Steele said health care reform is part of the Democratic agenda to put “a big-government wish list on America’s credit card,” which sounded silly coming just a couple of days after the president once again vowed that reform would not add to the deficit.

At one point, the Republican Party chairman was asked about a CBO score that said the war in Iraq would cost $2.75 trillion, while his party fears health care reform that costs less than half that. Steele replied that health care is different because “the costs of health care is something up close and right here.”

Eventually, Steele more or less conceded that he didn’t know what he was talking about..

[H]is address was short on details. Pressed repeatedly during the question and answer session why the GOP had not actually released its plan for health care reform — and then on specific policy proposals — Steele demurred to his GOP colleagues in Congress.

“Look I don’t do policy,” he said. “I’m not a legislator. My point in coming here was to establish a tone.”

But if Steele doesn’t “do policy,” then maybe he shouldn’t host a press event in which he tries to discuss policy. Or perhaps he should read remarks about policy written by someone else, and then leave before asked to explore his position in any real detail.

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Steve Benen

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.