Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Steele-ing For A Fight

The latest step in RNC Chairman Michael Steele's ongoing do-si-do to keep his job occurs today as he gives a major speech urging the party to remain unified on core principles: 

"We've got to coalesce around some core ideas and a core vision for this party, which is what I'm laying out this week, and we're going to move forward," he said. "And so, you know, I'll either win you over or I won't. I don't have time to stop and really figure that out for you." 

Unfortunately, Steele's own Committee members seem as hell-bent on upsetting the party applecart – as Steele himself does in making unwise rhetorical or managerial mistakes.

For example, on Wednesday, party leaders want to pass a bylaw officially declaring that their political opposition should be called the “Democrat Socialist Party.” Steele doesn't like the idea, calling it (rightly), name-calling, finger-pointing and blaming," 

Another word: Stupid

Exactly what does calling the other guys the “Democrat Socialist Party” gain? For years, Republicans have made reference to “the Democrat Party” (as opposed to its official name, “the Democratic Party”), to coyly insinuate they are a European-style big government party (a la “Christian Democrats” or “Social Democrats”). Of course, that did nothing (except get Democrats annoyed). Does the RNC really think that now calling Democrats, “Democratic Socialists” will do anything – other than look the party (the Republican Party) look ridiculous?

During the Bush years, how would it have looked if the DNC decided to pass a resolution calling the GOP, the “Republican Fascist Party”? The party – and any who used the phrase – would have looked like out-of-step, extremists – the very image of what Michelle Malkin refers to as “moonbats.” Sometimes, what one says about one's political foes says as much about you as it does them.

On the other hand, Steele himself continues to make what can only be considered head-scratching decisions:

Mr. Steele hired another family friend, Angela Sailor, to be the party's outreach director at a salary of $180,000, more than double her predecessor's compensation, though new responsibilities have been added to the job, according to a high-ranking RNC official and Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

Mr. Steele's early record and personnel decisions figure to be hot topics at a special meeting of Republican state party chairmen Tuesday and Wednesday at National Harbor in Washington's Maryland suburbs. His hiring of friends and the salaries he is paying them already helped to instigate a struggle over who controls the party's purse strings, one that forced the new party chairman to relinquish some control to elected RNC members.

Okay, Angela Sailor's a smart, competent, woman; she worked in the Bush White House for some time. But having done a bit of “outreach” myself at the RNC, back in the '90s, I was never paid anything quite like $180,000 (or even $90K, for that matter). In fact, $180,000 is pretty high even for a top RNC official like a political director. And, especially for a party out of power.

With items like that, it's no wonder that the RNC members are trying to put clamps down on what Steele should spend.

The chairman's speech today had better be a good one -- and the committee tomorrow had better make wise choices of its own.   

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