STEELE SEEMS TO SURVIVE ANOTHER SCANDAL…. As of Friday, it seemed as if Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had finally crossed the line. His controversial remarks about the war in Afghanistan had prompted multiple calls for his ouster, prompting the beleaguered party chief to furiously work the phones, convincing GOP officials and activists to overlook his comments and focus on the midterms.
Christina Bellantoni reports that the efforts paid off, and that Steele will once again muddle through a scandal of his own making.
By the end of [Tuesday], the deadline for filing an RNC resolution calling for Steele to step down will have passed without anyone going down that road. The math makes it pretty clear Steele isn’t going anywhere unless he quits — and he won’t be quitting — so the Republicans lambasting him are doing little more than rendering him irrelevant. One member told the Associated Press that members are “working around him.”
To the extent that Steele will be able to keep his job for a few more months, this is good for the RNC chairman. But the fact that the party intends to “work around him” also makes Steele utterly irrelevant with 120 days to go until Election Day.
Indeed, for all intents and purposes, the Republican Party seems prepared to move forward as if it has no RNC chair. The Washington Post noted that, in some cases, “fundraisers and donors lack confidence in the organization’s ability to manage its resources,” and as a result, party committees like the Republican Governors Association and National Republican Senatorial Committee will play a more significant role than usual.
This should be especially relevant to Democrats — Steele’s embarrassments have undermined the RNC, but that won’t necessarily undermine Republican campaigns. The campaign money will still be there; it’ll just go around the RNC and be spent by other party operations and “independent” groups like Karl Rove’s attack machine, American Crossroads.
As for Steele, after previous self-inflicted wounds, he tends to lay low for awhile. In the very near future, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hid from public view until December. Steele has already cancelled a scheduled appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival, without explanation, and if Steele lines up any television interviews anytime soon, the congressional leadership will very likely send henchmen to physically restrain him.