WILLIAMS: Michael Steele, who are you?

Once you step off the stage after playing a liberal pro-choice activist one day, and a histrionic Nazi party infiltrator the next, what’s left of the real Mr. Steele? One thing’s for sure. No one since Proteus of Greek mythology has exhausted so many guises of identity. Perhaps in these slips of the tongue, Mr. Steele is offering us a set of clues as to his true identity as no one, secretly hoping he’ll be discovered. Perhaps, he acknowledges deep down inside that he is putting on an act such that, like the tragic Iago, he can legitimately claim, “I am not what I am.”

Despite all the miscues, it’s unlikely Mr. Steele’s days as party chairman will soon come to an end. The Republican Party can ill afford to endure an internecine war at this stage, as it attempts to gear up for state and national elections. And, after all, no one else seems to be stepping forward to take the party in a new direction.

Eventually, one hopes, he will grow weary of tedium and terror of being so many people all at once and exit the national stage. At that point he could retire to some small town, taking on the role of local impresario, keeping himself busy by minding his stock portfolio and teaching acting lessons at the local community center.

In the meantime, Mr. Steele should concern himself, not so much with crafting a new party platform (that may be a bit much to ask at this point), but with making sure his own glibness does not cause the party to regress any further. Rarely has the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm,” seemed so apropos.

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