Republican Party national chair Michael Steele, who's taken a pounding for referring to Afghanistan as a "war of Obama's choosing," has canceled an Aspen appearance this week.
But as far as Colorado Republican boss Dick Wadhams knows, Steele's still planning to appear at the opening of the state's campaign office on Thursday. And that's fine by Wadhams, even though he, too, thinks the Afghanistan line was stupid.
"He's our national chairman, and we're always pleased to have the national chairman in Colorado," Wadhams stresses. "But having said that, I strongly disagree with him about Afghanistan. This isn't Obama's war. It's America's war against terrorism. So what he said was not factual and not appropriate. I don't have any agreement with him at all in his characterization of the Afghanistan situation."
At the same time, Wadhams sees this gaffe as less significant than Vice President Joe Biden's cheerleading for the war in Iraq, a country he once wanted to partition, and the return to Afghanistan (and to favor) of General David Petraeus, who didn't always get kudos from Democratics during the years when he served at the pleasure of President George W. Bush.
As for his analysis of Steele's tenure atop the Republican Party, Wadhams says, "in terms of day-to-day functioning of the RNC, I think he's done a good job. When he's gotten into trouble is when he ventures off and forgets he's the Republican national chairman and reverts back to the commentator role he had before he became national chairman -- when he'd go on news channels and pontificate about whatever he wanted to, because he was only speaking for himself.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"I will tell you, these incidents are getting tiresome, because they're diversions we don't need right now."
Indeed, Wadhams is laser-focused on dollars-and-cents issues right now, believing they'll pay dividends for the GOP come November. Even the Obama administration's decision to challenge the controversial Arizona immigration law in court can't distract him from money matters.
Marijuana Deals Near You
The Arizona lawsuit "is a clear indication of how politicized the Justice Department is under the Obama administration," Wadhams argues. "This is nothing more than an attempt to energize what they think is their Hispanic Democratic base voters. But I think far more important in this campaign will be the issue of the economy, jobs and taxes, and the overall issue of the dramatic expansion of the cost, scope and size of government under the Democrats."
As a result, he doubts Steele's Afghanistan line will have any impact on November voting -- which explains why he's happy to play host to the chairman for his first major appearance since his most recent blunder.