Oh yeah, full disclosure: I give a paid speech once in a while, would love to make more. Mine aren't a conflict of interest either. What interest?

But we're talking about Michael Steele. He already gives his critics plenty to complain about. Some of his statements, for instance, as party chairman, about healthcare and other issues, have been widely considered to be emotional panderings, exaggerations and outright, shameless distortions.

He has time and again gotten in trouble with his base when he has shot from the hip and hit himself. But again, if someone wants to shell out thousands to hear him say something outrageous, why should anyone complain?

In real life (as opposed to politics), Steele is one of those who makes a living as an "inspirational speaker.” For those who ever wondered exactly what that meant, now we know. It obviously means someone who inspires an uproar with his careless or even deceptive remarks. Just because he seems to consider that part of his job description as head of the RNC, there is no harm with his moonlighting.

Besides that, the fact is that his demagoguery, compensated or not, seems to work. The Republicans he leads have regained traction. There is no shortage of voters who can get riled up by lies and simpleton fear-mongering.

The Democrats are slipping. Their party leaders need to earn their pay by coming up with ways to avoid getting rolled over next year.

For starters, they need to find effective ways to avoid being splattered by what Steele and his fellow mudslingers throw out instead of whining about who pays him to do it.

Visit Mr. Franken's website at www.bobfranken.tv.