Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 6, 2009

THE CHAIRMAN HAS NO CLOTHES.... Last week, Republican National Committee members launched a move to strip Chairman Michael Steele of his authority to spend party money on his own. A Steele ally denounced this as an "unprecedented" effort to "embarrass and neuter the chairman of the RNC."

Yesterday, Steele's intra-party foes succeeded in taking some of his power away.

Capitulating to critics on the Republican National Committee, embattled Republican Party Chairman Michael S. Steele has signed a secret pact agreeing to controls and restraints on how he spends hundreds of millions of dollars in party funds and contracts, The Washington Times has learned.

The "good governance" agreement revives checks and balances Mr. Steele resisted implementing for RNC contracts, fees for legal work and other expenditures that were not renewed after the 2008 presidential nominating contest.... It represents the first time in memory that rebel members of the Republican Party's national governing body have successfully taken on the party's historically powerful national chairman and his loyalists.

Making matters worse for Steele, Jay Banning, who Steele recently fired, will be brought back to help keep an eye on RNC spending. That might be a little awkward.

Keep an eye on what the anti-Steele contingent might try next. They don't like Steele, and clearly don't trust him, and just learned that they can win fairly easily when they challenge his leadership. They have no incentive to stop seeking additional checks on him, especially since Steele seems to need the party more than the party needs him.

Steve Benen 3:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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Quick! Somebody send him flowers before he switches parties.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on May 6, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

He's finished. If he keeps quiet, it'll take a few months. Next big gaffe, though, and he's gone immediately.

Posted by: bcamarda on May 6, 2009 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ha ha!

Posted by: Nelson Munz on May 6, 2009 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Next big gaffe, though, and he's gone immediately.

No, they're all "strategic", remember?

Posted by: DH Walker on May 6, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's not a matter of trust. The anti-Steele contingent wear their caps at a different angle than the Chairman, that's all. It's how they roll.

Posted by: JW on May 6, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

If he wasn't an idiot, he would have immediately resigned rather than agreeing to this. In fact, he should have made clear his intention to resign before this happened and then followed through if they did it anyway. As it is, he's stuck with a job that shows him to be little more than a hated puppet. Not a good position to be in.

But then again, if he wasn't an idiot, he wouldn't be in this mess to begin with. And of course, if he wasn't an idiot, they probably wouldn't have wanted him in the job. When it comes to the modern Republican Party, only the brainless need apply.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 6, 2009 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Doctor Biobrain - Kind of reminds me of the poison "Battle of Witts" scene from the Princess Bride.

Posted by: john r on May 6, 2009 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

What next for the R's, spontaneous combustion?

Posted by: Bill on May 6, 2009 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing Steele's sister will no longer look forward to any "catering" contracts in the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Peter G on May 6, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

not to be crass about it, but lets be clear: Steele is where he is as a result of the Republican Party's passive-aggressive issues with race and affirmative action.

When Thurgood Marshall retired, the wingnuts screamed about calls from the left to replace him with another black justice, and railed against "racial quotas". The moderates, thinking they were more clever than the openly hateful, thought "we'll show them" and nominated their own black jurist: the anti-Marshall. It was just as much a quota hire as anything the right has ever railed against; it was just that they devalued the appointment as much as they could by using Thomas' blackness as a childish way to stick it to the left. (Not surprising: when you campaign against government, you don't think twice about devaluing it.)

Steele=Thomas. Their own "black President," the anti-Obama. A crass, clueless, clown, put in his job by people who hate quotas because they wanted to "match blacks" with the left. The right argues against affirmative action because they claim it gives unqualified candidates unfair advantage over qualified (read "white") candidates. In another stunning proof that all of their arguments are projections, when they do a "race hire" they ignore qualifications and put an idiot in the job. They still don't get Obama or why he beat them. His being black was nice, but not primary, much less sufficient. But they can't admit he won a battle of ideas (against unarmed opposition, but still. . .)

Affirmative action works well so long as Republicans aren't in charge of it - of course, you could substitute pretty well any endeavor for "affirmative action" and the sentence still works just as well.

Posted by: zeitgeist on May 6, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

So Michael Steele isn't on "the panel of experts" that Sarah Palin just joined?

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on May 6, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Popcorn, for Chrissakes pleeaaase pass more popcorn!

Posted by: N e i l B ☺ on May 6, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Steele's all but toast. The election loss in NY's 20th, Specter's defection, an endless string of embarrassing public appearances, an obvious anti-Steele faction in his own party... I don't see how Steele survives any longer than 6 months, if that.

Dead Pool anyone?

Posted by: raff on May 6, 2009 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't matter much whether Steele stays or not. The Republicans don't have a suitable candidate for that job, and the real chairman sits in a radio studio anyway.

Posted by: SRW1 on May 6, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

They used the same logic when they put up Palin as their "female" to counter Hillary Clinton. It's a mindset. Mind-less-set.

Posted by: msmolly on May 6, 2009 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

What zeitgeist said, only more incoherently.

And, also, how is what Steele says really that much different in content or tone(deafness) than what other Republican leaders say?

Posted by: inkadu on May 6, 2009 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

For the love of God please change the headline on this post. I'm going to have to spend all night trying to drink that image out of my mind.

Posted by: gradysu on May 6, 2009 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

inkadu, i'm not sure i could be said much less coherently than i said it!

Posted by: zeitgeist on May 6, 2009 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

but i thought michelle bachman said michael steele was...."the man"...

i guess mike isnt one of those magic negro's i hear so much about...

Posted by: mr. irony on May 7, 2009 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK



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