QUITE A BACKGROUND…. The NYT has an interesting piece on RNC Chairman Michael Steele today, noting his recent, shall we say, difficulties. It noted some elements of Steele’s background I’d forgotten about.

Outside politics, Mr. Steele struggled. He tried the priesthood but left as a novice. Later he practiced law for seven years in Washington (after passing the Pennsylvania state bar, he said), then started a consulting firm that made so little money that he almost lost his home.

Hmm. Steele wanted to be a priest, but that didn’t work out. He wanted to be a successful lawyer, but that didn’t work out. He wanted to run a consulting firm, but that didn’t work out. Steele parlayed this “success” into a role as Maryland’s lieutenant governor, but that didn’t work out, either — he was booted out after one term, and didn’t follow through on his own hand-picked projects. He then wanted to be a U.S. senator, but that didn’t work out.

Remind me, why did the Republican National Committee pick Steele as its chairman?

Rumor has it, Steele got the job in part because he’s a compelling personality on television. Of course, television is the medium that’s led Steele into all kinds of recent embarrassments.

I have to assume there are more than a few RNC members who kicking themselves right now, wondering what on earth the party was thinking.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.