Michael Steele’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

MICHAEL STEELE’S TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD WEEK…. We talked yesterday about RNC Chairman’s Michael Steele struggling badly in his job, alienating key Republican donors and ostensible party allies. A few hours later, during an intra-party conference call, Steele’s week got worse.

Top GOP Congressional aides on Wednesday demanded that their colleagues at the Republican National Committee rein in RNC Chairman Michael Steele after Steele suggested House Republicans could not retake the majority this November.

House and Senate leadership aides used a conference call with RNC staff to voice their latest frustrations with Steele, who said “not this year” when asked Monday on Fox News whether the GOP would win control of the House in 2010. […]

According to multiple sources, Republican Congressional aides bristled at Steele’s decision to use his book tour to question Republicans’ political chances. They pressed RNC staff to keep Steele quiet and cancel any more media appearances.

RNC aides explained that they’re not the ones lining up Steele’s media appearances — Steele hired his own outside public-relations firm to help him promote his book — and they have very little control over what the embarrassing party chairman says or does.

One Republican Senate aide referred to Steele as a “fool” who is setting the party “far back.” A House aide explained that the RNC chairman is putting Republican lawmakers “in tremendously difficult situations.” A third aide said, “You really need to have him be quiet.”

As for Steele telling ABC News yesterday that his Republican critics need to “shut up” and “get a life,” a senior House aide told CNN that the party chairman’s comments were part of a “temper tantrum,” and that Steele “needs to look in the mirror.”

This has been building for months, with party leaders and insiders complaining bitterly about Steele for a wide variety of missteps, though his recent efforts to use his position to line his own pockets seems to have pushed some Republicans over the edge.

Under normal circumstances, this would be about the time that party leaders quietly take the RNC chairman aside, and explain that he needs to resign immediately. But these aren’t entirely normal circumstances — ousting the party leader during an election year would be a significant distraction for Republicans, and signal disarray and division. What’s more, the party not only wouldn’t want to deal with the embarrassment, but leaders would be even less inclined to start a whole new fight over who would replace Steele.

Nevertheless, as long as Steele’s on the job, the problem isn’t going away.