Michael Steele on shutdown: ‘We have elected a bunch of children to run our government’

Look ma, no federal government!

At some point the entire BS that is the government shutdown sinks in and we have to deal with reality: We have elected a bunch of children to run our government.

One reality that must not change about America and the free enterprise economy is that the root of America’s success has always sprung out of the hard labor of its entrepreneurs: the men and women who risk it all on a dream. Government doesn’t do that; government can’t do that. When a job is created by a small business owner they Continue reading

Michael Steele: Supreme Court ‘gut’ the Voting Rights Act

“The Right of Citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude and that the Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

At the dawning of the 21st Century, the words of the 15th Amendment to our Nation’s Constitution remind us of one of the most precious gifts of liberty: to freely exercise your right to vote.

And yet, even the 15th Amendment—on its face—did not guarantee that the “right of citizens of the United States” to vote would not be denied as America emerged from the fog of civil war and into the new reality that those individuals once enslaved under the constitution were now entitled to exercise their rights as citizens under that same constitution.

It would not be long, however, before certain of the states, particularly in the south, responded to the demand of the 15th Amendment by devising a variety of tools to disenfranchise African American voters for reasons of “eligibility”.  From literacy tests to pole taxes, from property ownership to oral and written examinations, States began to enact laws that ultimately “denied and abridged” African Americans their right to vote.

Moreover, when intimidation at the ballot box failed to curb the thirst for full access to the rights guaranteed by the Framers of the Constitution, more insidious and violent means such as lynchings, fire bombs and murder were used to “remind the Negro of his place” in American society.

In our society, all rights are ultimately protected by the ballot box, not the sword.

By virtue of the efforts to “legally” circumvent the dictates of the 15th Amendment as well as the escalation in violence against African Americans in Philadelphia, Mississippi, Selma and Montgomery Alabama the promise of the Constitution for African Americans and many other minorities—full and equal political rights—was like a munificent bequest from a pauper’s estate until the passage of the single most important piece of civil rights legislation in American history: the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Read Full Story at The Grio

Being Black and Republican

Alex Witt sits down with MSNBC analyst and card-carrying member of the GOP, Michael Steele. They discuss how his mother, Mae Bell, influenced his life and how she embodies the American Dream. Michael explains the challenges of being an African-American in the Republican Party and what he was thinking when he became the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland.

One Scandal Too Many?

It’s only been a week, but what a week it’s been. In the span of a few days three major scandals have engulfed President Barack Obama, his White House and key members of his Administration. We all remember well his promise to “change” Washington and the way it does business, but alleged cover ups of truth, targeting of political opponents and the fostering of a culture of intimidation is certainly not what Americans had in mind.

First came the sensational Benghazi congressional hearing where Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism; Gregory Hicks, the former deputy of mission in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, a former regional security officer in Libya exposed the administration’s bungling and fictional public talking points regarding the attack on the U.S. Embassy facility and the murder of the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans by Islamic terrorists.

Another bombshell soon exploded. The Internal Revenue Service admitted targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups for audits and delaying their applications for tax-exempt status. The Cincinnati IRS office even slipped nine pending confidential non-profit applications of conservative groups to ProPublica a well-known left-wing investigative journalism group. An  FBI criminal investigation should reveal the extent of the scandal and whether direct orders came from the White House.

And if that weren’t enough, the president received a withering blast from the usually friendly mainstream media when it was reported that the Department of Justice, in an unprecedented move, seized private phone records of Associated Press journalists. The outrage from virtually every media outlet no doubt made many journalists realize they are not immune from the long arm of Obama’s government.

But what has been the most puzzling is the sloth-like response of the Administration. As someone who has had to put out a few fires over the years, you make every attempt to get in front of the crisis with your narrative of the facts. But President Obama and Administration officials have offered us a public relations primer on how not to handle a crisis, let alone three! The White House has been woefully behind the narrative and inexplicably measured with getting the facts out with what can only be described as incompetent responses since the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack.

Case in point: when the President was asked “when did you first learn about the IRS targeting conservative political groups” his response was nothing short of stunning: “I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday.” You Think?! Not only did this response raise eyebrows in light of his press secretary’s answer to a similar question but we are supposed to believe the president learned that officials within the Internal Revenue Service had been targeting conservative groups for close to two years from news reports–reported by those very same reporters his Department of Justice was wiretapping? The problem for the president is this is the same response he gave in the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal and the Air Force One flyover Manhattan in 2009. At some point responses like this strain credulity for the American people as The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart recently noted “I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama learned Osama bin Laden had been killed when he saw himself announcing it on television.”

Moreover, and perhaps more damaging is the lack of presidential accountability, as well as an apparent culture of intimidation that has been allowed to fester inside this administration, have rightfully triggered bipartisan condemnation and as some on Capitol Hill have already begun to speculate could undercut if not outright derail the president’s efforts on the budget, immigration and other issues on his second term agenda.

For Republicans salivating over the president’s plight, they must temper their reactions. Premature elation is never a good thing and running TV ads against Secretary Hillary Clinton (on the handling of Benghazi), for example, has the potential of further politicizing what many already believe to be nothing more than the GOP’s version of chicken little. Whether on Benghazi or the IRS, the truth speaks for itself as more facts become known, so Republicans should be careful not to exaggerate, speculate or otherwise overplay their hand lest the American people cut it off in 2014.

While the scope of these events is appalling, it hopefully means more Americans will appreciate the importance of preserving the constitutional separation of powers, fighting the expansion of an aggressive and opportunistic government and knowing that transparency is not just a word.

Founding patriot Patrick Henry once declared: “For my part, whatever the anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

Wise advice for the Obama Administration. And the rest of us.

2012: A Year of Highs & Lows, Fear & Hope

I don’t know about you, but that was a close one! All these weeks and months we have heard about “The Cliff”, but to get that close to it — on New Year’s Eve no less — only to find out that, heck, we can put off this whole “going over The Cliff” stuff for another 2 months. Wow, what a way to ruin a New Year.

And that’s the point. As 2012 wound its way into history, 315 million Americans found themselves standing on the precipice of a new year realizing that in many ways the so-called fiscal cliff was the least of our nation’s problems.

Think about the big triumphs and tragedies of 2012.  The London Summer Olympic Games were a great boost to America’s pride and morale. Who could forget American swimmer (Marylander) Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time?

Contrast that with a terrible low, the murder of the innocents in Newton, Connecticut and the ensuing “debate” about gun laws, the Constitution and the NRA. And yet, while, 2012 recorded the lowest murder rate in modern history (something promising and positive), by year’s end, the death toll by gun violence hit new highs in the city of Chicago striking a new low and another discordant chord in our nation’s psyche.

Another painful and equally troubling moment came with the death of our U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans at the hands of Islamic terrorists. Despite the continuing questions about the Obama administration’s “knowledge” of the security lapses and the failure to bring any of the killers to justice, the families of the victims along with the American people would be treated to more political carping, finger waging at U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and ultimately silence.

There was, of course, the 2012 presidential campaign. But that wasn’t just about Barack Obama winning re-election or Mitt Romney losing. It wasn’t just about what the defeated GOP candidate “should have” done to change the result. And it wasn’t just about Republicans losing votes among white blue collar voters or Hispanic Americans.

The election highlighted the clash between two views of America. One view champions the philosophy of limited constitutional government and fiscal responsibility that fuels a thriving private enterprise system which fosters job creation. The other promotesa philosophy of greater expansion of government programs and the agencies necessary to run them, higher taxes and spending policies that grow government and debt while overregulating the private sector.

Another important aspect of this clash is cultural, underscored by emerging and still changing views on same-sex marriage, abortion, immigration, right to work, collective bargaining and a host of issues that will ultimately transform the very character of the nation.

Americans are also witnessing an historical nationalization of their healthcare system. Last summera 5-to-4 U.S. Supreme Court majority to the surprise of many (especially conservatives) ruled that President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) law was constitutional, and the president’s re-election sealed any chance the law would be repealed.

Nonetheless, transitioning from a system based on the doctor-patient relationship, patient choices, pricing freedom and private sector competition to an expensive, government-controlled structure — many components of which have yet to be implemented or even created — will shake the foundation of the republic. Trust me.

Government control of doctors, hospitals and medical care providers will tighten, while the operations of private insurance companies will be restricted. Healthcare rationing, especially for seniors, will occur while the bipartisan work required to save and protect the solvency of Medicare and Social Security for future generations will largely remain undone.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll says just 40 percent of Americans describe themselves as hopeful about the course of events in 2013, while 56 percent describe themselves as fearful. Because our leaders so far refuse to address what truly ails our nation, we could fall off a real cliff. There ought to be very real fear over the collapse of effective long-term public policymaking in Washington and in our State capitols, due to the ongoing clash between the “Red and Blue States”, the Right and the Left; Progressives and Conservatives.

In the midst of our journey to the Cliff, we’ve forgotten how to be Americans.

My hope for 2013 is that our leaders realize that and through their leadership, set our feet on firmer ground.

Are We There Yet, GOP?

I am certain at some point during the past 18 months you found yourself feeling like that kid riding in the backseat of the family car on what is supposed to be the “great adventure” to “someplace special.” But the only thing you can muster after about 15 minutes is, “Are we there yet?”

Working to Understand the Welfare Debate

There continues to be vigorous debate between the Obama administration and supporters of the work mandate contained in sweeping welfare-reform legislation crafted in 1996 by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.