Republican National Chariman Michael Steele has been no stranger to controversy since taking office, but a recent comment that the war in Afghanistan was one of "Obama's choosing" and that it was a conflict that America had not "actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in" could cost him his job. Though he attempted to walk back his comments, a torrent of commentary appeared almost instantly - from both sides.
- Bill Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard thinks Steele should resign after his remarks, saying the 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.
- Greg Sargent of the liberal Plum Line blog believes that Democratic National Committee risk taking their attacks on Steele's comments too far. "Are liberal Dems who have made much the same case about Afghanistan also "rooting for failure" and "betting against" our troops? Steele didn't "root for failure" anywhere. And he isn't really "betting against our troops." He's saying that this an inherently unwinnable situation, however brave and tough the troops are. I don't know if that's what he believes, but that's what he said."
- Daniel Larison of the right-leaning American Conservative magazine feels that Steele was caught playing the politics of the situation. "Steele evidently believes that Afghanistan is now a political liability for Obama, and he wants to take advantage of this, but far from being a potential “turning point” it is just another example of how clueless and hopeless Steele is when it comes to serving in a leadership capacity for Republicans."
- Kevin Drum of the liberal Mother Jones is shocked that this is the issue that might finally force Steele out of office. "It turns out that a Republican party chairman can survive calling Rush Limbaugh "ugly," can survive calling abortion an individual choice; can survive an admission that the GOP has followed a racist strategy for the past 40 years; can survive accepting money for political speeches; and can survive a scandal over RNC spending at a lesbian bondage club. But speaking out against a war? That, it turns out, is finally something that every faction of the Republican Party can agree on."