Michael Steele just doesn’t know how to stop.
Steele appeared on CNN this afternoon, and was asked by host Don Lemon whether he’s ever considered running for president, and right off the bat he managed to give the sensible, correct answer: “No. I’m telling you, I’m looking you in the eye honestly and telling you that, without blinking and without hesitation. Straight up.”
But then he was asked if he would ever consider doing it, and he kept the door open should the opportunity arise — even speaking in an optimistic, cheerful tone. “But, you know, God has a way of revealing stuff to you, and making it real for you, through others,” he said. “And if that’s part of the plan, it’ll be the plan. We may have this conversation in eight, ten, 12 years and you’ll sit back and you’ll play the tape back and say, ‘Oh, look at what you said!’ But it’ll be because that’s where God wants me to be at that time.”
Steele then gave a monologue about the nature of politics today, and how he would need to have a long discussion with his family if this ever came up. But he said no party officials have ever approached him about this: “No. I think they kind of look at me and scratch their head and go, ‘Okay, what is this?'”And then came this exchange, when he insisted that his public face-off with Rush Limbaugh was all part of his plan — to scope out the state of the Republican field, and see who was with him or against him:
Steele: I am very introspective about things. I don’t do — I am a cause and effect kind of guy. So if I do something, there’s a reason for it. Even, it may look like a mistake, a gaffe. There is a rationale, there’s a logic behind it.
Lemon: Even with the current events in news–
Lemon: There’s a rationale behind Rush, all that stuff?
Steele: Yup. Yup.
Lemon: You want to share it with us?
Steele: Sure, I want to see what the landscape looks like. I want to see who yells the loudest, I wanted to know who says they’re with me but really isn’t.
Lemon: How does that help you?
Steele: It helps me understand my position on the chess board. It helps me understand, you know, where the enemy camp is and where those who are inside the tent are.
Lemon: It’s all strategic?
Steele: It’s all strategic.
Let’s take him at his word for a second. You might recall that the Limbaugh flap ended in Steele making a quick apology and praising Limbaugh’s leadership. So if the point of Steele’s exercise really was to determine his own place on the chess board — well, Bobby Fischer he isn’t.