Michael Steele's Biden Problem

Maryland Republican primary voters will be asking Michael Steele whether he now regrets his support of Joe Biden

Michael Steele road-tested his "exploratory" effort in recent weeks for Maryland Governor to the Maryland Association of Counties annual summer conference in Ocean City.  While Steele fit in well with MACO's characteristic bonhomie, as Maryland Matters pithily points out, "Being able to survive a cocktail reception at the beach is no predictor of how the Republican primary will shake out."[i]

That Michael Steele endorsed Joe Biden for President remains a massive hurdle for him to overcome with the state's Republican rank and file.

Maybe Steele's informal poll of the MSNBC green room or his fellow Lincoln Project hustlers told him that there are enough "Biden Republicans" to be competitive in a Republican primary.  However, that's not reality. Only 8% of Republicans voted for Biden in November, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the electorate nationwide.[ii]

Steele's Lincoln Project connections create still more problems for him. Not just Republicans, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called out the Lincoln Project for what it was: A fundraising scam that raised tens of millions from Trump-deranged Democratic donors. Most of the money was not spent on advocacy but lined its sponsors' pockets.[iii] Of the $90 million Lincoln Project raised, more than $50 million went to the group's leaders. [iv]

In June 2020, members of the organization's leadership were informed in writing and in subsequent phone calls of at least ten specific allegations of harassment against co-founder John Weaver.  The New York Times reported interviewing 21 men who say Weaver had harassed them. One of the victims told the times he started receiving messages from Weaver when he was only 14.[v]

And yet, while all this was going on, Steele continued to publicly identify himself as a "Senior Adviser to the Lincoln Project" while making such cringe-worthy contributions to the national political discourse as: "What the party's gonna need when this is all said and done is a political enema. And I'm happy to deliver it."[vi]

In the years since Steele was essentially fired as RNC Chairman over a decade ago, Steele has fashioned a media brand on MSNBC badmouthing Republican prospects.  Unless that is, Republicans engage in Steele-approved outreach efforts.

Steele began using his "Republicans Can't Win" media shtick even while he was still RNC Chairman, telling Sean Hannity in 2010 that the party could not retake the House.  "Not this year," adding: "The question we need to ask ourselves is, if we do that, are we ready? I don't know."[vii]

Separating himself from the current Republican President is a recurring Steele tactic for currying media favor. In 2006 he tried to distance himself from George W. Bush with harsh criticism on multiple issues made to Washington Post reporters.[viii]

Beyond this, a "Michael Steele, "MSNBC" Google search produces multiple links to his hyping whatever the latest conspiracy theory du jour was circulating among the Trump Derangement Syndrome set.  Invariably, their “proof” was just about to be revealed, yet then never actually materialized.  

Earlier this year, Steele penned a piece for MSNBC: "How to fix what's wrong with the Republican Party: Joe Biden is offering Republicans unity. Republicans should accept."[ix]

In it, he offered these pearls of wisdom:

·       "Joe Biden will be a successful president — if we allow him to be. He is offering all of us an invaluable gift: unity."

·       "Like so many Republicans, I'm sick and tired of talking about saving a party that shows few signs of wanting redemption, which makes it increasingly hard to hold on to the tattered remnants of a once-proud party."

Yet more and more Biden voters are experiencing buyer's remorse. One recent poll found that just 37% of voters say they would vote for Biden today, including 13% of Democrats who would vote for Trump. Nine percent of Democrats regret their 2020 vote.[x]

Given how insignificant the number of Biden Republicans were last November, polling data is not available to track how they feel about him today.  But a question Maryland Republican primary voters will likely be asking Michael Steele will be whether he now regrets his support of Joe Biden.

[i] https://www.marylandmatters.org/2021/08/20/50044/

[ii] https://www.ap.org/topics/politics/elections/ap-votecast/about

[iii] https://dailycaller.com/2020/11/07/lincoln-project-alexandria-ocasio-cortez/

[iv] https://nypost.com/2021/02/11/how-a-leading-anti-trump-group-ignored-a-crisis-in-its-ranks/

[v] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/31/us/politics/john-weaver-lincoln-project-harassment.html

[vi] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/michael-steele-republican-enema_n_5fa8e6eac5b67c3259b0be46

[vii] https://www.politico.com/story/2010/01/steele-gop-wont-win-house-031163

[viii] https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2006/07/michael-steele-digs-a-hole.html

[ix] https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/how-fix-what-s-wrong-republican-party-n1256241 [x]https://newspunch.com/poll-reveals-trump-would-win-election-by-landslide-if-held-today-1-in-10-democrats-regret-voting-for-biden/