a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Steele: “I just have to laugh at” criticism of deceptive sample ballots

Posted by Thomas Nephew on November 12th, 2006

'Democratic Sample Ballot' dirty trick by Ehrlich and Steele campaign
Photo credit: Associated Press.
From 11/13/2006 Washington Post article
GOP Fliers Apparently Were Part of Strategy.”

I was just listening on the radio to a talk show with Michael Steele as a guest. A caller asked Steele about the misleading Prince George’s County “Democratic Sample Ballot” scandal. (Fliers were handed to voters entering polling station falsely claiming that prominent African American Maryland Democrats, including Senate candidate Kweisi Mfume and PG County Executive Jack Johnson, had endorsed Steele for Senate.) From memory, Steele’s response was

I just have to laugh at that. This is something Democrats have done to eachother for a long time.

He’s not denying it, he’s proud of it.

I had held out some amount of hope that Steele would eventually distance himself from this tactic, but instead he’s just saying he did it, and using an excuse my eight year old would be ashamed of: “somebody else did it, so why can’t I?”

Steele then complained about posters comparing him to Clarence Thomas, saying it was a shame that Thomas’ name could be used in a derogatory way. I suppose he has a point: you could argue Thomas has never stooped to quite the level Steele has.

UPDATE, 11/13: I’ve dug around and found that Steele’s remark was made in response to Donna Brazile (not a caller as I stated above) on the “Washington Journal” CSPAN radio talk show of 11/12; Ms. Brazile’s comment begins at around 24:40 minutes into the segment (RTSP or RM streaming format; alternative link here, may require RealPlayer upgrade). The precise quote (emphasis added):

Again, I have to laugh at that because I, I find that that’s somewhat amusing that that’s the same tactic that Democrats have used in previous campaigns against eachother and I borrowed from that, one, two, I don’t find that nowhere nearly as offensive as the, the signs that went up around my county calling me a “Clarence Thomas”, that we have to reject the “Clarence Thomas” Michael Steele.

EDIT, 11/13: photo, link added.
UPDATE, 11/13: David Kurtz (“Talking Points Memo”) picks up this story and transcribes more Steele comments, including a defense of “Steele Democrat” signs as a variation on the term “Reagan Democrat.”

7 Responses to “Steele: “I just have to laugh at” criticism of deceptive sample ballots”

  1. Stephanie Dray Says:

    And they exploited homeless people to do their dirty work, homeless people that would be harder to trace. It’s disgusting and he has no shame.

  2. anonymousgf Says:

    He’s not just proud–he’s blaming it on Democrats!
    A little something everyone in the base.

  3. anonymousgf Says:

    Hey–have you seen THIS?

  4. Brett Says:

    A reason to like living in the DC area; c-span radio, without any fancy devices.
    I heard his exchange this weekend as well and wondered what Steele’s trying to accomplish. Did he think it would get buried after the election news? Or did he really just think that there was nothing wrong here? If it’s the latter, you’ve got to question the man’s judgment.

  5. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Kind of cool, I have to admit! But (folds hands, looks piously heavenward) I don’t seek transient fame or notoriety; all I really want is the end of Steele’s successful political career — continued shellackings by Democrats would obviously be OK.
    It’s a really good question. My theory is that this kind of thing plays well in the Ehrlich/GOP circles Steele’s used to. Ehrlich said much the same thing Steele did, and I’ve noticed this kind of swagger/braggadocio from them before. Where that comes from, I don’t know; possibly childhood incidents.

  6. » Blog Archive » Congratulations, GOP Says:

    […] …on selecting Michael Steele for chairman of the party — a guy who realized his only shot at winning elected office in Maryland was to pretend he was a Democrat. […]

  7. » Blog Archive » Cardin missing an opportunity to widen Mukasey debate? Says:

    […] Democratic politicians, but acknowledged the effort to defraud voters after the election and “just had to laugh at” criticism of the […]

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