Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has been out aggressively promoting his new book, “Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda,” which was just released yesterday. He went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News last night to discuss Republican principles and insisted that the Republican Party does not need to modernize. “Honest Injun on that,” he said to underscore his point:
HANNITY: There are those that are saying for the Republican Party to be successful, they’ve gotta quote be more moderate.
STEELE: No, no! But that’s what’s gotten us into trouble, when we walked away from principle. Our platform is one of the best political documents that’s been written in the last 25 years. Honest Injun on that. It speaks to some core conservative principles on the value of family, faith, life, economics. Those principles don’t change.
“Injun” is a derogatory, offensive racial epithet used against Native Americans that has widely fallen out of favor. It’s ironic that Steele chose that particular phrase when talking about why the GOP’s core principles are still relevant. (HT: Matt Finkelstein)
Update The co-chairman of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), has demanded that Steele apologize. "His insensitive comment undermines and threatens to reverse the progress we have made to correct those wrongs. A cursory look through a dictionary or even some knowledge of Native American history would show Mr. Steele that the term is a racial slur for Native Americans," Kildee said in a statement. "I strongly urge Mr. Steele to publicly apologize to the Native American community immediately for his derogatory comment.”