STEELE PLAYS THE WRONG CARD…. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele recently lectured Democrats about race. In December, the embarrassing party leader said he’s “sick and tired of the left and Democrats in this country when they get in trouble and don’t get their way and their backs are up against the wall on legislation or whatever it is their trying to do, they go to that card, they play that race card.”

It was noteworthy, then, when Steele, hoping to put last week’s unpleasantness behind him, told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he’s held to a higher and unfair standard because of his race.

The White House is right to argue that the scandal-plagued RNC chair is on the wrong track.

GOP Chairman Michael Steele shouldn’t blame criticism of his actions on race, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Gibbs called Steele’s remark that criticism of his leadership is motivated by race “silly” during a meeting with reporters.

“I think Michael Steele’s problem isn’t the race card, it’s the credit card,” Gibbs added.

And in the larger context, Adam Serwer’s observation rings true:

This is another example of why Republicans continue to fail at minority outreach: Their understanding of how racism works is completely politicized. Steele thinks he’s a victim of racism whenever he’s in trouble, but also thinks that Obama only got elected because he’s black, except when he’s trying to draw parallels between himself and the president. Abortion is a plot to commit genocide against black people — but the idea that being black might make it harder for you to get a job is ludicrous. Republicans generally seem to see racism as a political weapon rather than something that actually affects people’s lives and livelihoods, and Steele’s presence at the RNC isn’t doing anything to disabuse them of that notion.

I’d just add that, as a matter of public relations, Steele seems to have missed yet another opportunity. Last week was a disaster for the RNC — in large part because Steele’s RNC spent two grand in donor money at “a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex” — and the chairman no doubt went on “Good Morning America” to help set things right.

Instead, the big topic of the day in political circles is: Steele plays race card following sex scandals.

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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.