RNC Chair Michael Steele Reportedly Focuses Like A Laser on Re-electing Michael Steele
The Washington Post reports that RNC Chairman Michael Steele is seemingly focusing like a laser during this heightened season, traveling to and fro working to re-elect….Michael Steele:
For a man hoping to lead his party to major congressional victories in November, Republican National Committee Chairman
Michael S. Steele has packed his travel schedule with some unusual destinations in recent weeks: Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The itinerary is fueling speculation that Steele is positioning himself to run for a second term as chairman – and concern among some that he may be spending time on that effort instead of on winning midterm elections.
Steele was narrowly elected chairman by the RNC’s 168 members in January 2009. He won with a large measure of help from the U.S. territories, which, thanks to the structure of the RNC, each carry as much voting clout as any of the 50 states.
So some see Steele’s recent travel as a signal that he is preparing for another run in January – at a time when they’d rather see him making fundraising calls and visiting the states where control of the House and the Senate is at stake.
“Trips to the territories are less defensible in terms of election dynamics than trips around the country,” said David Norcross, a former RNC member who has been critical of the committee’s fundraising efforts. “If he’s not on the phone, he should get on the phone.”
A half-dozen RNC members also offered harsh assessments of the chairman’s travels and fundraising efforts, but none would speak on the record.
Steele’s defenders said it is hard to criticize his performance given that the party is cruising toward a banner day on Nov. 2.
But others will rightly argue that if the GOP wins big it could be despite Steele being at the RNC’s realm. It’s hard to argue that he has won over his own party (many are split against him), the media (he is what reporters love: a controversy and quote machine), or independent voters (he has done enough flip flops to open up a factory in China that could supply all of Walmart’s U.S. and Canadian stores)
Additionally, Steele is now sort of like the difficult relative that a family has to deal with sooner or later: when he runs it’s unlikely there will be a massive effort to re-elect him or that some other GOPers will avoid making a strong case against him. So he is lingering out there…a person who will be at the center of yet another spate of stories. Will the party’s chief strategist (Rush Limbaugh) embrace him? And, if not, will Steele answer back (and have to do the inevitable apology?).
Most likely outcome:
1. If the party wins big in November there well be a big push among some to dump Steele because his critics will feel they will no longer “have” to keep him in the post.
2. If the party loses it will be said he is partly to blame for fuzzing up the message by becoming a story himself and for the RNC’s poor performance in the area of accumulating funds leading up to the election (even if group’s such as Karl Rove’s picked up the slack).
Most likely outcome: after January Steele starts to move to run for some elected office or gets signed by a radio or cable company to host a talk show. Or, at the least, becomes a contracted political analyst for one of the cable channels.
But another stint at the RNC looks to be the least likely scenario in his future..