OPINION: Michael Steele needs to STFU or tender his resignation

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William Kristol has finally said what we’ve all been thinking but were either too indulgent or PC to say: Michael Steele must go.

In an open letter to the beleaguered RNC chairman, Kristol called for Steele’s resignation on Friday for the good of the party. Steele, as we all know, has had a rough time of it since taking the party’s helm in January 2009. Not because he’s black and therefore has a “slimmer margin for error,” as he once claimed, but because he suffers from an acute inability to – how shall I put this? — STFU.

His latest and thus far greatest gaffe came at a July 1 RNC event where he suggested that the Afghan war could not be won and astonishingly seemed to blame President Obama for starting it in the first place. The position, as Kristol points out (quoting a Democratic National Committee operative) puts Steele “at odds with about 100 percent of the Republican Party.”

That would include me.

It’s clearly past time for Michael Steele to stand down. He’s shot himself so many times in the foot that he’s barely got one leg to stand on at this point.

Steele weathered the many calls for his resignation after The Daily Caller broke the Bondage-gate scandal revealing that the RNC reimbursed $2,000 of a staffer’s expenses at a lesbian bondage-themed nightclub. So it would not be surprising if he tried to ride this one out too.

Steele’s tenure as the head of the RNC was an experiment that did not work. After Barack Obama’s ascent to the presidency, the Republican leadership presumably felt it had to do something, anything, to respond to the Democrats’ apparent cornering of the young, hip, multi-culti market. And it chose Steele to be the face of its openness to inclusion.

Good idea in and of itself, but Execution Fail.

The Republican Party has its work cut out for it as it looks to combat the enduring myth that the Democratic Party is home for young people and people of color. But if Steele takes the hint and quits, it shouldn’t try for another purely cosmetic, knee-jerk solution.

And in the meantime, if Steele does not do the right thing and tender his resignation, I would settle for him learning to, well, STFU.

Michele Langevine Leiby, J.D., is a Washington writer and blogger whose articles have appeared in The Daily Caller, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post.