TOO LATE FOR STEELE TO TURN BACK NOW…. RNC Chairman Michael Steele seems to realize the angry far-right mobs showing up at Democratic town-hall events may be problematic for Republicans, and insisted yesterday that his party is not involved with those who use intimidation tactics to stifle public discussion.

“We’re not inciting anyone to go out and disrupt anything,” said Steele. “We’re not organizing the town halls,” only encouraging individuals to visit their congressman or senator to “express their point of view.”

“There’s no upside for the Republican Party [in the protests],” he said later in the call. “That’s not something that’s coordinated or deliberately set in motion by me or anyone in the state party.

“…To sit back and say this is a Republican cabal is a bunch of baloney. And you can substitute that ‘b’ for something else if you want.”

Steele added that Republicans “are not encouraging people to be angry to the point of being brutish and ugly.”

They’re not? The angry activists have already become brutish and ugly, and they’ve been cheered on every step of the way by elected Republican leaders, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who crowed over the right-wing “backlash,” and promised a “long, hot August” for Democrats. His office promoted the mob attacks again yesterday.

For that matter, the NRCC is publicizing “Recess Roastings,” promoting the notion that, as Republican leaders boast, town-hall meetings have become “town-hell” meetings.

I don’t blame Steele for trying to slowly walk away from the right-wing mobs, but after all of the party’s cheerleading and promotional efforts, it’s a little late for the RNC chairman to shrug his shoulders and say, “Who, us?”

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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.