QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Following up on an earlier item, RNC Chairman Michael Steele conceded he’s not “comfortable” with Rand Paul’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act.” It only took him the whole week to say so.

But on ABC’s “This Week” earlier, host Jake Tapper asked a related question, which goes beyond the embarrassing chairman’s comfort level.

TAPPER: [D]o you condemn that point of view? I mean, where would African-Americans be if the federal government hadn’t come in and said, hotels, you have to–

STEELE: Exactly. That’s very much a part of the debate back in the ’60s, as it is going forward. But the reality of it is, our party has stood four-square behind, you know–

TAPPER: But do you condemn that view?

STEELE: I can’t condemn a person’s view. That’s like, you know, you believe something and I’m going to say, “Well, you know, I’m going to condemn your view of it.”

I have no idea what that means. In politics, when a prominent public figure believes something that’s wrong, offensive, or insulting, condemnations are a daily occurrence. Michael Steele has condemned Democrats’ beliefs every day for a year.

One of Steele’s highest-profile statewide candidates this year opposes the Civil Right Act. Steele’s not “comfortable” with such extremism, but he’s also not prepared to condemn it? Why, because it’s “like, you know, Rand Paul believes something”?

Soon after, Steele talked to Fox News, where he explained, “Rand Paul’s philosophy got in the way of reality.”

Now there’s a ringing endorsement. Vote for the Senate candidate who puts philosophy ahead of reality. Brilliant.

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.