From THINK PROGRESS:
Michael Steele’s term as Republican National Committee Chairman has been riddled with controversial verbal missteps that have roused the scorn of his Republican colleagues. His most recent gaffe in mischaracterizing the Afghanistan war prompted an outcry among prominent Republicans who called for his ouster. Remarking on the appearance of “Shadow RNC” Chairman Ed Gillespie over Steele as the RNC mouthpiece, Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer asked GOP strategist Ed Rollins today whether the GOP should “do something” about Steele. Rollins doubled-down on his dismissal of Steele’s efficacy, calling him a “disaster” who has “failed miserably” in his mission:
SCHIEFFER: But Ed Rollins, I want to ask you about this. I mean quite frankly, no offense to Ed Gillespie who I have been dealing with and know to be a good guy for years and years and years but he wouldn’t be here unless if the chairman of the Republican Party currently Michael Steele was willing to go on television. But he’s so immersed in controversy that he’s kind of in a bunker these days. Are Republicans going to have to do something about Michael Steele?
ROLLINS: Well, there’s no time. Obviously he’s been a disaster. You have three men on this show — not me, but the other three — who have all been party chairmen and very distinguished party chairmen. Michael Steele has failed miserably in the things you’re supposed to do — raise money and basically go out and articulate the message.
(Video at THINK PROGRESS link)
From Stephen C. Webster at THE RAW STORY:
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele is under fire from his own party once again.
But this time, he may not be getting another chance at redemption in the eyes of senior GOP leaders.
Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Republican strategist Ed Rollins was asked to comment on the so-called “shadow RNC” that has sprung up to bypass Steele as the Republican party’s core management. Rollins has in recent months emerged as a strong Republican critic of chairman Steele, after calling for his resignation in April.
[Bob Schieffer asked] “Are Republicans going to have to do something about Michael Steele?”
“Well, there’s no time,” Rollins replied, noting the upcoming election season. […] It’s not going to matter though — in the 11 weeks from now, what he says and does in the next 11 weeks is not going to matter.”
The reason Rollins says it will not matter is because of the so-called “shadow RNC” formed by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, which has effectively undermined Steele’s position, rendering him nothing more than a figurehead.
Rove disclosed during a July broadcast by Fox News, his part-time employer, that his American Crossroads groups would effectively benefit via financing loopholes opened by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
That decision, reached in January of 2010, held that corporations could donate unlimited amounts of money to political organizations, which could in-turn purchase unlimited amounts of political advertising.
Rove and Gillespie said the American Crossroads groups aim to raise and spend over $50 million to influence the 2010 elections. IRS forms obtained by the media showed the “shadow RNC” groups had raised $4.7 million by the end of July, with just four individual billionaires cited as donating over 97 percent of the total.
Tim Dickenson, writing for Rolling Stone, called the plot nothing less than a “coup of the Republican party”.
Whether Steele stays or not, according to Rollins and other GOP insiders, seems of little significance at this point — so long as he keeps out of the spotlight.
Read more about those billionaires over at Salon.