“[T]here is no Soviet domination of eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.” – Gerald Ford, Oct. 6, 1976
“This was a war [Afghanistan] of Obama’s choosing…This is not something the United States actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.” – Michael Steele, July 1, 2010
The first quote (combined with the pardon of disgraced former President Nixon, a faltering economy and people basically hating politics after Watergate) sank President Ford’s presidential bid. The second quote, made in Groton during a fundraiser, has resulted in calls for national GOP Chairman Michael Steele’s resignation.
No less than William Kristol, consummate conservative and editor of The Weekly Standard wrote an open letter to Steele that read in part, “At a time when Gen. Petraeus has just taken over command, when Republicans in Congress are pushing for a clean war funding resolution, when Republicans around the country are doing their best to rally their fellow citizens behind the mission, your comment is more than an embarrassment. It’s an affront, both to the honor of the Republican party and to the commitment of the soldiers fighting to accomplish the mission they’ve been asked to take on by our elected leaders.”
In this day and age of video cell phones and campaign “trackers,” you would think Steele would be a little smarter. Instead, he got himself in trouble by denying a war that was originally planned and prosecuted (rightly so) by Republican President George W. Bush.
Connecticut’s own Sen. Joseph Lieberman provided Steele with some cover on FOX News Sunday (to which the aforementioned Kristol is a contributor) by repeatedly mentioning that Steele has since retracted or clarified his comments. For a party that keeps saying it plans on big gains in the midterm elections, having its chairman channel Gerald Ford is not a good sign.