Imagine, if you will, that a conservative commentator had used the phrase “you people” with a member of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss their position on health-care reform. Not to get all tu quoque on Mike Barnicle and Morning Joe, but liberals would not have been laughing off Michael Steele’s response. There would have been outrageous outrage erupting all over the blogosphere, and likely all over MS-NBC, with multiple replays and Chris Matthews opining yet again on the melanin content of Tea Party events. Steele obviously played this to make that very point:
But his exchange with Donny Deutsch got a little more testy:
It started with CNBC commentator Donny Deutsch, who pointedly asked Steele about the GOP’s criticism of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments comparing opponents of health care reform to those who tried to block the abolition of slavery.
“Any great change throughout history, the naysayers say ‘it’s not time, it’s not time?’ So why is that not a relevant analogy?” Deutsch asked.
“I won’t even dignify that with a response,” Steele said. “Next question.”
Deutsch interjected to say that Reid was “comparing it to dramatic change,” and was not suggesting Republicans were equivalent to those who opposed emancipation.
“Ok, whatever,” Steele responded. “Whatever. Next question.”
“That’s a great response,” Deutsch shot back. “That’s an intelligent and brave response.”
“It is, as was your question,” Steele said.
A better response would be to compare it to Democratic outrage over the Nazi comparisons posed about Barack Obama, which came from the LaRouchies (and which were entirely inept). It’s so out of context to the history of real Naziism that it degrades the conversation into hopeless ad hominems, which is why Steele doesn’t bother responding substantively to Deutch’s attempt to mainstream the argument. It’s akin to Steele demanding that Deutsch explain in detail how Barack Obama isn’t really a crypto-Nazi.