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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Michael Steele Fights Back

On November 2nd, I posted a report on the racist attacks Democrats in Prince George's County, Maryland have been making against Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a black conservative Republican running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Yesterday, The Washington Times reports that Mr. Steele is fighting back.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele said black Democratic leaders who call racially tinged attacks on him fair game because he is a conservative Republican have exposed themselves as racists and cast shame upon the state.

"I think it diminishes their leadership," Mr. Steele said in an interview. "But most importantly, I think it embarrasses our state to have elected officials speak in those terms. Marylanders now have a sense of the content of their character, because that is what [Martin Luther King] wanted us to judge each other by, and that's enough for me."

Steele had this to say about comments from Salima Siler Marriott, a black Baltimore Democrat, who said Mr. Steele invites criticism because his conservative philosophy is anti-black.

"The fact that my values are outside the black community ... will come as a surprise to my mother, who raised me with those values," said Mr. Steele, whose widowed mother raised him in the District working as a minimum-wage seamstress and refused welfare.

Refused welfare? That's where the problem began. Refusing welfare is outside the liberal community, black or white.

"When I have opponents like that say that I am anti-black, [I say] show me in my rhetoric where I have been anti-black, tell what I have said that has been anti-black," he said.

"When I talk about empowering my community and all communities, not just African-Americans but everyone, when I talk about giving your business a fair opportunity, a fair shake, giving your child a fair shot at a good education, giving your community a fair shot at re-establishing itself and growing again, I don't know where that becomes anti-anyone."

It's not anti-black; it's not anti-white; it's not anti-anyone else, but it is anti-liberal because Mr. Steele is talking about giving everyone a fair opportunity. This means an opportunity for your business to earn its success, an opportunity for your child to earn a good education, an opportunity for your community to earn its growth. Liberal thinking is that the business, the child, and the community are entitled to these things, whether they are earned or not. This sense of entitlement helps only to destroy motivation and, consequently, becomes a hindrance to success.

Mr. Steele, a former chairman of the state Republican Party, said his party has failed to articulate its message to black voters but he intends to correct that mistake.

"The philosophy, the policies that we espouse go directly to the benefit of the black community," he said. "But our problem is we never stepped up and started talking about that directly to the community."

The other problem is that for far too long, liberal blacks have been allowed to masquerade as the voice of the black community. People like Mr. Steele speaking out will certainly benefit the black community.

Perhaps the most ironic quote in The Washington Times article comes from U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin who pledged not to use racial attacks in his campaign for senator, but would not denounce those who do.

"This is the Democratic Party, after all. We have a rather open party, and people are very opinionated," Mr. Cardin said.

Did he just say, "We have a rather open party"? After the lambasting that Mr. Steele has had to suffer for being a black conservative, do I even need to point out the irony and hypocrisy of Mr. Cardin's statement?

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