STEELE FORGETS HIS OWN POSITION ON SMALL BUSINESSES…. A couple of months ago, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on CNBC, and talked about his party’s economic ideas, which he said President Obama has “ignored.” Steele pointed, for example, to the idea of “freeing up … credit markets to allow small businesses to access capital and credit so they can invest.”

Shortly after this, Senate Republicans decided to block a bill to expand capital and credit to small businesses so they can invest.

This morning, Steele was on Fox News, trying a very different line. Complaining about a provision of the small-business-incentives bill that would expand credit through a lending program that utilizes local banks, Steele dismissed the bipartisan bill as “nothing more than TARP III,” which doesn’t make any sense, especially coming from an official who just told us he wants to expand credit to small businesses.

He added, “Basically, you’re going to put money into financial institutions on the assumption that small businesses are going to take out credit lines. They don’t need that.”

They don’t? Then why did Steele say he wanted to expand credit to small businesses so they can invest? For that matter, why are there so many small businesses that “put hiring, supply buying and real estate expansion on hold” while they wait for this pending legislation to pass?

Steele added that what businesses really need is “consumers to go out into the marketplace to buy the goods and services that they provide so they can begin to hire and expand services.” That sounds like a fine idea — Americans become consumers when they have jobs. Now, if only Steele’s party would stop blocking jobs bills, and encouraging hundreds of thousands of layoffs at the state and local level, we could take his rhetoric seriously.

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.