Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, who lost decisively to Ben Cardin in 2006 despite every effort to distance himself as a Republican, guest hosted on Hannity & Colmes and was bested by none other than former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. For Steele, labels are all important--again a fascinating turn for someone who didn't mention that he was a Republican anywhere on his campaign website in 2006. He congratulates the Democrats (let's not call it the Democratic Party, Mike) for "learning their lesson" and being more conservative since 1994. Um, crazy Fox partisan pundit say what? He asks Michael Dukakis how that gibes with having Barack Obama -- the most liberal Senator, natch-- as the titular head of the party. Dukakis makes the only response you can to such hackery:
STEELE: But let me ask you this, Governor: I'm really intrigued by this idea that all of the sudden labels don't matter, because you know, the left didn't seem to have a problem throwing around "right wing conservatives," you know, "conservatives" as a pejorative term, you know, taking out of context the quotes of Republican leaders and you know, painting images of them and labeling them as racists, you know, turning back the clock on civil rights. So why, all of the sudden, doesn't that matter? Why don't these labels matter all of the sudden when you got a way left-of-center candidate leading the Democratic Party?
DUKAKIS: Who is a "way left-of-center candidate"?
STEELE: Uh, Mr. Obama.
DUKAKIS: Oh, I think you're delusional. I think you're delusional.
It's FOXNews, of course they're delusional.
Full transcripts below the fold:
STEELE: I really appreciate what I’ve seen from the Democrats over the past six or so years. They’ve really learned their lesson from 1994. They have found what I call ‘Trojan horses’ Democrats who are, you know, almost like conservatives, in many respects, and you look at Virginia and Pennsylvania, the elections they’ve had there. How does this new Democratic approach square with Barack Obama’s certainly more liberal—and as considered the most liberal member in the Senate—how does that line up? How does the Blue Dogs work with the…you know, a dog like Obama, the lead dog like Obama?
DUKAKIS: Michael, you can’t get off that label.
STEELE: Well, I think it’s important. Labels mean things.
DUKAKIS: But wait a second, look at the country’s fiscal condition today. When Bill Clinton left office, we’re on our way to the elimination of the national debt. Remember?
STEELE: I do.
DUKAKIS: Now we have a national debt that is double what it was when George Bush took office and it’s going to be our kids and grandkids that will have to pay it off. What is conservative about that? Now Obama is a guy who believes you gotta pay your bills. I happen to believe you gotta pay your bills.
STEELE: Yeah, but he wants to pay…he wants to pay everybody else’s bills with my money!
DUKAKIS: I think that’s a rather conservative position. But don’t tell me…of course, it’s our money, but it’s also our Social Security, it’s also our roads, it’s also our …
STEELE: No, it’s my money. It’s not our money, it’s my money.
DUKAKIS: Well, it’s your money, but it’s also your country and it’s your kids and your grandkids.
STEELE: That’s right.
DUKAKIS: And everything I’ve seen about McCain’s approach to this suggests that if anything, he’s going to increase the national debt. Now what’s conservative about that?
STEELE: There’s a lot…there’s a lot…there’s a lot there that’s conservative…but …
DUKAKIS: So I think we need to get off the labels, take a good hard look at what these candidates are really talking about. If we do that, Obama’s going to win this election, because the overwhelming majority of the American people are with Obama when it comes to his approach to this, not McCain.
STEELE: But let me ask you this, Governor: I’m really intrigued by this idea that all of the sudden labels don’t matter, because you know, the left didn’t seem to have a problem throwing around “right wing conservatives,” you know, “conservatives” as a pejorative term, you know, taking out of context the quotes of Republican leaders and you know, painting images of them and labeling them as racists, you know, turning back the clock on civil rights. So why, all of the sudden, doesn’t that matter? Why don’t these labels matter all of the sudden when you got a way left-of-center candidate leading the Democratic Party?
DUKAKIS: Who is a “way left-of-center candidate”?
STEELE: Uh, Mr. Obama.
DUKAKIS: Oh, I think you’re delusional. I think you’re delusional.
STEELE: The most…well then, let me ask you, why is he identified as the most liberal member of the United States Senate?
COLMES: By one group…
STEELE: By one group? Well, there are 92% who aren’t as liberal as he is…
DUKAKIS: This is the one guy I know running for the presidency who strongly opposed this stupid war…That was a liberal…
STEELE: Yeah well, we could have that discussion later…
DUKAKIS: No, no. I don’t know what to say. Ask the American people what they think about this war. But he was somebody who strongly opposed it. That was a very conservative response to what I think was a very dumb decision. Wasn’t it?
STEELE: I appreciate that, Governor, we got to move on to some other stuff. Good to have you with us.