Mike Huckabee jumped all over RNC Chairman Michael Steele today for his recent comments that abortion is a matter of individual choice that should be left to the states. Steele put out a statement clarifying that he is pro life, but Huckabee said that Steele’s comments were a violation of basic human rights.
Steele told GQ, “I see the power of life in that—I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about it… Uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth. The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other. Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.”
This position would represent a serious break with the party that he is supposed to lead, so he put out a statement this morning saying that he is pro-life, but that didn’t stop future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee from going ballistic. Huckabee said in part, “For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it’s a violation of the most basic of human rights–the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. His statement today helps, but doesn’t explain why he would ever say what he did in the first place.”
The question is, is Michael Steele trying to get himself fired, or is he just that inept? Anyone who knows anything about politics knows that in this current environment a Republican should never associate the word choice with abortion. Doing so is guaranteed to elicit a Pavlovian response from a segment of the GOP that sees the abortion issue as a form of American jihad. This segment of the GOP is also Huckabee’s base of support.
The political benefits for Huckabee here are twofold. Right now, it is popular within a part of the Republican Party to criticize Michael Steele, but in the longer term, these comments are assured to play well with the socially conservative voters that make up a majority of Republican primary voters. Huckabee is in competition with Sarah Palin for these votes, and with Palin’s daughter having a baby out of wedlock, the time is right for Huckabee to make a strong move to cement himself as the socially conservative option for 2012. As far as Steele is concerned, I don’t see how he survives as chairman for much longer.