Video: I don't know if the GOP's ready to lead yet, says ... Michael Steele

The key bit comes at the end; if you can’t wait, Hotline has the transcript. Memo to the chairman: When someone asks you if your party’s ready to lead, especially with midterms on the horizon, the answer is always, always “yes.” I get that he’s pandering to tea partiers, singing from the Glenn Beck songbook about how the GOP’s out of touch, how it needs to rediscover its small-government principles, etc. Fine. Even so, when the subject of leadership comes up, the answer is, must, and can only be, “Of course we’re ready to lead, because we’ve rediscovered our small-government fiscally conservative roots” yadda yadda. People might not believe it when you say it, but after another 10 months of Hopenchange misery, come election time they’ll want to believe it so badly that they will. As it is, the “I don’t know” here is destined for soundbite infamy in Democratic attack ads. Super.

As for predicting that the GOP won’t take back the House, which earned him a gentle rebuke from the NRCC: Eh. The first rule of spin is to always downplay expectations. There’s little downside to doing so, especially with conservatives already jacked to turn out and send Obama a message in November, and plenty of upside. Nice to see that he’s got that rule, at least, down cold.