Maybe He Should Switch Parties?


Michael Steele tells crowd at a fundraiser that we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan at all, that it’s Obama ‘war of choice’ and unwinnable.

The funny thing about this is that what Steele says isn’t that controversial … if, that is, you’re on the left of the Democratic party, or among the relatively few Republicans Realists left out there. (Here’s Steele’s spokesman trying to make sense of the comment.)He even makes the point, which has been rattling around my head for years, that Obama’s involvement in Afghanistan, at some level, stems from the rhetorical needs of the middle of last decade when many Democrats felt they need a hawkish cudgel (Afghanistan) to pivot off the desire to disengage in Iraq. (I don’t think it’s all that by any means. And I think we’d be in a very different situation now if we hadn’t dropped the ball in Afghanistan five or eight years ago. But there’s a real truth there.)

So is Steele a closet Realist or Central Asia dove? I doubt it. This is actually pretty typical Steele. He finds a riff that has some rhetorical logic in the moment — way to attack Obama, way to say this or that about GOP or Dems, whatever … without taking a moment to give some thought to whether it actually coheres or fits together and makes any sense in the context of all the other stuff he says he believes.


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of