STEELE SCARES WHITE REPUBLICANS…. It’s been a couple of weeks since the RNC’s Michael Steele said something foolish and had to walk it back, so I suppose we were due for another gem.

Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Michael Steele, who is known for making controversial statements, on Sunday said that white Republicans are afraid of him. […]

The Republican chairman appeared on NewsOne’s “Washington Watch” this weekend, a new Sunday political talk show aimed at a black audience. The host, Roland Martin, asked Steele how Republicans could reach out to black voters.

Roland Martin noted that he’s long believed that white Republicans “have been scared of black folks.”

Steele replied, “You’re absolutely right. I mean I’ve been in the room and they’ve been scared of me.”

From Steele’s perspective, if he walks into a room of his fellow Republicans, and they’re afraid of him, shouldn’t that tell him a little something about his party’s approach to diversity? Steele is the chairman of a major political party, a former Senate candidate, and a former lieutenant governor. Why, exactly, would a room full of Republicans be “scared” of him, unless he thinks his fellow party members are racists?

And from the party’s perspective, Steele really isn’t helping with that minority outreach effort. It’s not exactly a pitch that’s likely to resonate with minority communities: “Vote GOP, The Party That Finds Non-Whites Scary.”

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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.