I had the day off yesterday (PSP dental recovery plan 70% complete!), so I was able to enjoy Michael Steele's wonderful appearance at the Press Club live. Oh, it was classic Steele: he gave a recitation of anti "Obamacare" talking points and then, thrillingly, was unable to answer a single question about his chosen topic. I will love you forever and ever, Michael Steele! There have been some great reactions, but Talking Points Memo puts it best:
"...it seemed like not only was he trying to get his bit in on this week's health care debate but also rebrand himself as a serious policy thinker rather than just the political comedy relief he's embodied over the last six or so months. But that was a bit undermined when he got a question on whether the bill should include an individual requirement to purchase coverage and he didn't know what that meant."
One thing Michael didn't count on, though, was that naughty Dana Milbank, glutton for punishment, would be in the audience of 20-or-so. I know all of us lefties are supposed to be VERY ANGRY!!! at Milbank these days, but his reporting on the event is a classic must-read:
"Slow down, Mr. President: We can't afford to get health care wrong," said the [month-old GOP] memo.
"Slow down, Mr. President: We can't afford to get health care wrong," said the chairman.
Memo: "The old, top-down Washington-centered system the Democrats propose will empower Washington to restrict the cures and treatments your doctor can prescribe for you."
Steele: "The old top-down Washington-centered system the Democrats propose is designed to grow Washington's power to restrict the cures and treatments your doctor can prescribe for you."
Haw, and if there's anything Milbank knows, it's the opportunity for a humorous metaphor:
In the back of the room sat the ventriloquist, admiring his work. [GOP talking points author Alex] Castellanos used the word "experiment" six times to criticize Obama's plan; Steele, the eager pupil, used it 30. Only one thing would have made the performance more impressive: if Castellanos had been able to drink a glass of water while Steele was talking.
And then you can see it coming a mile away, but Milbank's conclusion is still satisfying:
As a voice-throwing act, Castellanos and Steele were quite a duo. But if Castellanos is the ventriloquist, what does that make Steele?
Ooh, ooh! I totally know that one!
Like Sarah Palin, Michael Steele is simply incapable of being either serious or taken seriously. And that's why we love him.