Steele keeps the GOP on its toes

March 13, 2009|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Michael Steele keeps the buzz alive.

In an interview with GQ, the Republican National Committee chief states that abortion is "an individual choice," asserts that sexual orientation is innate and describes some anti-gay-marriage activism as "craziness."

Now that's off the hook! At least for the GOP base.

Perhaps Steele is trying to remake the Republican Party in his own image. Could be an effective big-tent strategy - if he'd pick an image and stick with it.

GQ came out with the story Wednesday night, and quicker than you can say "Rush Limbaugh," Steele issued a statement that began, "I am pro-life, always have been, always will be."

Except, apparently, when he talked with GQ's Lisa DePaulo about how he'd been put up for adoption as an infant.

"You can choose life, or you can choose abortion," Steele said. "You know, my mother chose life."

DePaulo: "Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?"

Steele: "Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice."

DePaulo: "You do?"

Steele: "Yeah. Absolutely."

Steele also states his personal belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, but in a way that takes a swipe at some anti-gay-marriage activists.

"That's just my view," he said. "And I'm not gonna jump up and down and beat people upside the head about it and tell gays that they're wrong for wanting to aspire to that, and all of that craziness."

And Steele pooh-poohs the idea, held by some religious conservatives, that homosexuality is a choice.

"[Y]ou just can't simply say, oh, like, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being gay.' It's like saying, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being black.' "

Needless to say, Steele has ticked off some members of the GOP, whose platform opposes abortion and gay marriage.

"I'm a little surprised and, quite frankly, disappointed that the leader of the Republican Party is at odds with the Republican Party platform," Christian Coalition President Roberta Combs told me. "It's just a little odd."

Odder still: As of this writing, Steele had not retracted his comments on the gay stuff. Maybe he's sticking to his guns for once.

Wait - there's more!

Steele lets us know when he's not busy leading an overwhelmingly white party, he's hanging with his homeys - at his neighborhood Starbucks.

"I live in a black community," Steele tells GQ. "I hang out in Starbucks there."

And you can bet the Frappuccinos will keep flowing at that location.

"You cannot close a Starbucks in a black community," he says. "We'll riot!"

Other gems that might not get the GOP in a huff, but should get tongues wagging:

* Steele ponders his place in history in words that might escape even the allegedly eloquent Obama.

"[W]ho'da thunk it in 1963 that in 2009 two black men would sit on top of the political world of this country? How friggin' awesome is that?"

* Steele volunteers that during his three years in the seminary, he was sometimes tempted by "a pretty young thing."

* Steele reveals his inner metrosexual.

He says he's giving his office a makeover because the dark wood furniture is "way too male for me."

He admits to loving the red-carpet stuff on Oscars night. "I'm looking at the dresses. I'm lookin' at what they're doing with the hair. I'm lookin' at the fellas."

He dishes about Obama's inaugural ball attire.

"I'm sorry, white tie only goes with tails. Sor-ry!"

And Michelle Obama's ball gown.

"I wasn't feelin' that. ... Didn't like the cut. It was not flattering to her. All the little puff things on it - what was that all about? She should have been there in a, you know - she could have done a Valentino."

He admits - surprise, surprise - that he's always impeccably attired, even at home. "Oh, my kids hate it. I'm the guy who tucks his undershirt into his pajamas."

Too Much Information. Just keep it coming, baby!

Picky, picky, picky

Busybody grammarian, correct thyself.

I picked on Bob Ehrlich & Co. the other day for misusing apostrophes and the word "principal." Yet in the same column, I managed to write, "Ehrlich took more than a few hits from Team O'Malley for playing lots of golf in while office."

I hereby eat crow. It's the principal of the thing. I mean "principle."

David Carter was one of three readers who complained about my "grammer." It's "grammar," I wrote back.

Carter responded: "My bad. Your still a [Yiddish expletive] !!"

It's "you're."

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