STEELE EXPECTS TO KEEP HIS JOB?…. Michael Steele’s reign as chairman of the National Republican Committee hasn’t been pretty. Gaffes, scandals, mismanagement, poor fundraising, and general incompetence have made Steele something of a laughingstock. He’s nearly been forced from his job on more than a few occasions, but I’ve long assumed the party would just wait patiently for his term to end early next year — and then never speak of him again.

But it appears that Steele not only expects to complete his two-year term, he also intends to seek another.

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is prepared to run for re-election to his post even if former Minnesota Governor Norm Coleman, the rumored favorite of other party insiders, decides to mount a challenge.

The current chairman told a conservative reporter last week that he was prepared to put his record up against those who wanted his position — foreshadowing what could be a bitter and divisive election battle in January 2011.

“Norm is an old friend,” Steele said when asked about recent reports that Coleman was considering a run for chairmanship of the RNC. “Norm is not going to challenge me for RNC chairman. If he does I’ll put my record up against anyone who comes after to me. I feel confident we’ll get re-elected. I’m not worried about that part of it.”

Now, in fairness, it appears Steele was duped — a reporter asked for comment pretending to be a hedge fund executive and prospective RNC donor. The chairman said the “interview” was “not kosher,” and he has a point.

Nevertheless, his comments make clear that the gift that keeps on giving intends to stick around — or at least try to — through 2012.

I try to avoid predictions, but I suspect RNC members will have no interest in keeping Steele on the job one day longer than is necessary. Whether Republicans have a blockbuster cycle or fall short of their expectations, Steele is the worst major-party chairman in recent memory. I just can’t imagine the party’s leadership voluntarily allowing him to stay.

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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.