Yo, yo: former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele may be no longer be the head of the RNC but he will still continue to bless us with the sound bites we’ve come to love/hate.
Today, MSNBC announced it would officially be adding Steele to its line up of political commentators. The former RNC chair is no stranger to the network, appearing on a number of its shows and having regular sparing matches with hosts Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz.
A former Maryland lieutenant governor, Steele was elected to the RNC chairmanship as the first African-American chairman in GOP history. Though initially citing him as proof of racial progress by the right, it wasn’t long before many in the upper echelons of the party were calling for Steele to step down. Unable to effectively fundraise for the party, Steele had little internal support for his re-election bid, eventually bowing out to current RNC head, Reince Priebus.
More than anything, Steele is most known for his one-liners, sometimes many-liners that made fodder for political commentators including Jon Steward, Bill Maher and the like. From calling the stimulus package “bling bling” to saying he had plans to reach out to Blacks and Hispanics through an “off the hook” hip-hop public relations campaign, Steele quickly gained a reputation for trying too hard to be “down.”
Both Fox and CNN were rumored to be in talks with Steele for the position but the former chairman decided to take MSNBC’s offer instead. Steele now joins the notable African-American political commentators in cable news, a small group that included Roland Martin, Juan Williams, Donna Brazile and few others. The move is meant to help boost ratings as the network looks to ramp up its election coverage heading into the 2012 race.
Not everyone is entirely thrilled with MSNBC’s latest pick-up. Keith Olberman, former MSNBC host tweeted this not too innocuous message this morning:
Tell us what you think of Michael Steele’s new gig at MSNBC? Are cable news’ African-American political commentators a sign of diversity or puppet talking heads? Share your thoughts Clutchettes!