Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana June 18, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Celano
In over his head, I think.
I have yet to figure out why Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus continues to have his current job, but hey, don't mind me, Republicans, just keep doing what you're doing. Priebus has been getting some flack for standing by Rob Portman after Portman suddenly discovered that having a gay son gave him some unexpected empathy on that whole same-sex marriage thing. Not to worry, grumpy conservatives, Priebus is also on your side. Too! Also!
But Priebus says his support of Portman doesn’t signal a policy shift within the party’s platform. […]

Priebus cited former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas as an example of someone who could be “a model for a lot of people in our party” in terms of discussing issues like marriage and abortion. “I always tell people: Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee,” he said. “I don’t know anyone that talks about them any better.”

Yes, the notoriously anti-gay Mike Huckabee, the gentle, media-friendly theocrat who wants to ban all abortion, no exceptions, considers homosexuality a sin and a gateway to polygamy, was quick to support Todd Akin, called for quarantining HIV patients, and backed a loopy Senate candidate who called for the criminalization of homosexuality. Huckabee's a hardline right-wing talk show host now, but moderates his view (as opposed to, say, Rush Limbaugh) by not openly projectile vomiting on his own audience. That's what Priebus dreams of as the "model" for his party? Sheesh.

Then again, the whole point of being RNC chairman is to (1) offend nobody while (2) talking up all Republicans in all circumstances. I think what we see here is Reince trying to walk the fine line between the two or three or four wings of his very, very split party. Good luck with that; a smarter or more principled man would no doubt get sick of it right quick, but I have a feeling Priebus is going to be just fine.

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