Not All Republicans Like Being Compared To Nazis-- Another Steele Blunder
Maybe Michael Steele thinks it's a way of currying favor with Limbaugh's crowd or maybe he thinks he can strong-arm Specter into voting against Employee Free Choice, but the hapless RNC chair reiterated his threat to finance a primary challenge next year against Snarlin' Arlen. If Specter gets angry enough he'll just switch parties, give the Democrats a filibuter-proof majority and... well, chances are the first casualty would be a very unemployed Michael Steele. In fact, that may happen soon anyway.
Right-winger Byron York warned yesterday that there is growing Republican unhappiness with Steele. Today a North Carolina RNC member called on him to resign. It's been barely over a month since Steele was elected RNC chair and many GOP leaders are already having serious second thoughts-- and not just because he offended Rush Limbaugh. Sitting and nodding while a CNN host referred to the Republican's CPAC NutFest as a Nazi Party look-alike, didn't sit well with Republicans who would rather keep the party's neo-fascist outlook under wraps.
Shortly after his January 30 victory in the chairman's race, Steele fired virtually everyone at the RNC-- a move many outsiders applauded after the party's back-to-back losses in 2006 and 2008. But Steele has yet to replace many of the people he sacked. Now, as Steele enters his second month in the chairman's office, there is no chief of staff for the RNC. There is no political director. There is no finance director. There is no communications director. Many lesser positions remain empty as well.
"I think it's been a disaster of a first month," says one Republican who has served on Capitol Hill and the RNC. "He needs to disappear for 60 days, go and staff the building, put his personal energy into making sure he has the people he wants, and go from there. That's what people are hoping he will do."
"It's not good," says another GOP politico. "People feel that it's been very erratic at a time when we really need some sort of stabilizing force."
On top of that, there is an ongoing corruption investigation of Steele by the FBI-- and it's starting to heat up. That Steele is a crook who used campaign funds to enrich himself and his family has been known forever-- and is hardly an impediment to success inside the GOP. Less well-known, however, is that Steele was involved-- at least financially-- with the firm that supplied prostitutes to top-dog Republican scam artists like Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Kyl "Dusty" Foggo and Brent Wilkes, all currently serving prison sentences. The tens of thousands of dollars funneled to Sandy Roberts through the Steele campaign was supposedly for "consulting," not prostitutes. But... his company trades commodities and, through a high end limousine operation for the GOP elite, whores, not consulting services.
Adding to the problem, these insiders say, has been Steele's high profile on television. Steele made headlines for his appearance on CNN last weekend in which he characterized Limbaugh's program as "incendiary" and "ugly." Limbaugh hit back hard, and Steele later apologized, saying his words did not reflect his true feelings. But some Republicans who were not particularly upset by Steele's references to Limbaugh were appalled when Steele, during the same program, sat quietly while CNN host D.L. Hughley said that last year's Republican National Convention "literally looked like Nazi Germany. It literally did." GOP insiders who saw the performance unanimously agreed that Steele was seriously, perhaps unforgivably, remiss in not challenging a television host who compared Republicans to Nazis.
And Steele is having problems outside the Party as well. Now that he groveled before Limbaugh, publicly kissed his pilonidal cyst and begged forgiveness, the head of the Baltimore school district is demanding that he apologize to the school system as well.
City schools chief Andrés Alonso publicly asked Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele tonight to apologize for making disparaging remarks about Frederick Douglass High School on national television.
...In February 2006, Steele visited Douglass in West Baltimore, holding it up as an example of the failures of urban education and making a personal commitment to turn the school around. Though he has not returned to Douglass since -- a spokesman said shortly thereafter that school officials were not receptive to his help -- he again said Douglass isn't doing its job during an interview this week on D.L. Hughley Breaks the News on CNN.
But, as both Alonso and Gov. Martin O'Malley noted tonight, Douglass has improved significantly since Steele's visit: Its graduation rate went up 14 percentage points last year, from 43 percent to 57 percent.
"I don't think Michael Steele has been here since he came in an election year to demagogue, kick around our children," O'Malley said tonight before his town hall meeting at Douglass on education and the economy.
Meanwhile Rich Lowry thinks Steele "needs to apologize to every Republican in the country." I guess Lowry's one of those Republicans who doesn't like being compared to a Nazi. No word from Lowry yet on how he feels about the head of his party being a pimp.
Steele may want to put the GOP in a 12-step program (different from the 12 step program they've been in for the last couple decades) but the real question is, will the media remain focused on him and Limbaugh's clown routine when the King of Clowns is back. Perhaps Steele and Limbaugh can do a mud-wrestling match to open Michael Jackson's concert tour.