Conservatives Call for Steele's Resignation Over Afghanistan Comments

Not that he was Mr. Popular

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Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele has never been especially popular with the GOP establishment. In recent months, his splits with party orthodoxy and embarrassing scandals have brought more than a few calls from the right for Steele's resignation. Today is another of those days for Steele, with several conservative commentators calling for his head over his criticism of the war in Afghanistan. "This was a war of Obama's choosing. This was not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." The obvious factual mistake aside--the war began in 2001 under Bush--conservatives are furious that their party hard would condemn one of the few policies on which they agree with Obama. In response, some are calling for Steele's resignation. Here's what they're saying.

  • Resign This Weekend  The Weekly Standard's William Kristol writes, "You are, I know, a patriot. So I ask you to consider, over this July 4 weekend, doing an act of service for the country you love: Resign as chairman of the Republican party. ... At a time when Gen. Petraeus has just taken over command, when Republicans in Congress are pushing for a clean war funding resolution, when Republicans around the country are doing their best to rally their fellow citizens behind the mission, your comment is more than an embarrassment. It’s an affront, both to the honor of the Republican party and to the commitment of the soldiers fighting to accomplish the mission they’ve been asked to take on by our elected leaders."
  • 'Lost the Moral Authority'  RedState's Erick Erickson writes, "The war in Afghanistan is not a war of Barack Obama’s choosing. It is a war of Al Qaeda and the Taliban’s choosing. We responded. Michael Steele must resign. He has lost all moral authority to lead the GOP."
  • Wrong to Make Afghan War About Politics  David Frum writes, "Maybe the strategy is genuinely wrong. Maybe the Afghanistan commitment is not worth the costs. Maybe instituting a stable central government in Afghanistan is an over-ambitious project. Again: fine. But with the guns firing, that’s a point of view to advocate in a serious and considered way, as part of a debate over national interests, not to score political points. The debate should be aimed at finding a resolution in Afghanistan that is maximally successful for the U.S. and partners, not the way that is maximally humiliating to the president. Obama may fail in Afghanistan. But if he does, the whole country fails with him."
  • Winning Wars Not a Partisan Issue  Conservative military blogger Black Five fumes,"To say this about the Commander in Chief at a critical moment in the war is unforgivable. Many of us obviously have grave disagreements with some of Obama's moves, but to try and lay the war on his door step and say that he not the country is responsible for it is outrageous. America fights its wars as the United States, not a political party or individual. Michael Steele failed that critical test and he needs to go."
  • More Calls of Resignation Are Forthcoming  Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler writes, "Republicans are furious with RNC Chairman Michael Steele. ... Steele has no shortage of enemies in the GOP and many of them sense an opportunity here. In fact, several, both privately and publicly, are saying this is the last straw: Steele should resign. ... I'm told that more high profile Republicans -- operatives and electeds -- will come forward shortly with condemnations, and even demands of resignation, later today. Stay tuned."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.