MARTIN: But your candidates got to talk to them. One of the criticisms I've always had is Republicans -- white Republicans -- have been scared of black folks.
STEELE: You're absolutely right. I mean I've been in the room and they've been scared of me. I'm like, "I'm on your side" and so I can imagine going out there and talking to someone like you, you know, [you're like,] "I'll listen." And they're like "Well." Let me tell you.
Steve Benen says that informing Black folks that Republicans really are scared of Black people isn't going to help their outreach. Adam Serwer is a little more charitable, but says the real problem is that Steele can't commit to actually doing the sort of things outreach to non-White communities would actually require (things that actually might legitimately scare the White male base).
It's a shame, really. When Steele was campaigning for GOP chiefdom, he actually did make some good remarks on why the Republican Party was failing in its efforts to secure more non-White support. He hasn't followed up at all in office, and I think it is because he's discovered that -- even from the top of the pile -- lots of Republicans simply don't trust him.
UPDATE: Black Republicans don't seem to be taking Steele's comments so kindly. But one thing they're forgetting is that the whole point of appealing to non-Whites is that most of those people aren't Republican now. It's fab that these folks feel comfortable in GOP clothes. I mean that. But Steele has to speak to the vast majority of African-Americans whose experience with the Republican Party has not been so kind. If Steele went on radio and say "I can tell you that all you've heard about the GOP being hostile to Black people is a lie," he'd be dismissed as a tool. Not even because he'd be lying about his own experience, but because it so flagrantly contradicts the experience of the folks he's trying to talk to.
UPDATE #2: This goes without saying, but White Republicans are furious. I note that there is virtually no acknowledgment that what Steele might be saying is a true account of his own experience -- that he really does sense "fear" from White Republicans. There is just a knee-jerk "take it back!" response. That bodes well for Black folk observing whether the GOP will take their claims and experiences seriously in policy decisions.