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Michael Steele Doesn’t Race-Bait, Except When He Does

Greg Sargent flags a Michael Steele interview on Univision, in which the chairman of the Republican National Committee deflects a question about whether, per Glenn Beck, President Obama hates white people.

No, no, look, the reality of it is when I ran for the United States Senate and I was called an Uncle Tom by leading Democrats in the country, when I was called a slave by Steny Hoyer who is now the majority leader in the House, no one came running to my defense, and no one seemed to think that that was racist at the time. I don’t play the race card, I don’t play the race game, the way some tend to want to do.

There are a number of slippery allegations here. The first is the charge that “leading Democrats” called Steele an “Uncle Tom,” which is just false, unless the term is extended to cover liberal bloggers. The second, more directly false charge is that Steele was “called a slave by Steny Hoyer,” that “no one came running” to defend him. What happened was that Hoyer, in the final month of the campaign, characterized Steele’s record as “a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party.” Steele, at the time, was running uphill in a deep blue state by declaring his independence from the parties. He pounced on Hoyer.

It goes to just the sheer craziness of some in the Democratic Party who think they can use racist terms and infer things about me just because I’m an African American Republican.

Then he got back-up from Rev. Anthony Evans of the National Black Church Initiative.

If I did not know Rep. Steny Hoyer, I would say that he is a racist.

Rather quickly, Hoyer apologized.

I shouldn’t have used those words. If Mr. Steele did in fact take offense let me assure him that none was intended.

The affair became a national news story. The Washington Times did a follow-up in which the paper asked black leaders whether they’d denounce Hoyer.

So, to recap: Hoyer said that Steele “slavishly” supported the Republican Party, and Steele called this a racist comment while Republicans rounded up spokesmen to call Hoyer a racist. Three years later, Steele claims that he was “called a slave” by Hoyer, and that “no one seemed to think that that was racist at the time.”

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