From Adam Serwer at The American Prospect:
In some ways, the race for RNC chair was terribly predictable. […] I predicted that if Obama won, the monochromatic GOP would be desperate to field an RNC chair with a black face, and so they would pick Michael Steele. While Ken Blackwell struck all the right positions, the party had already been burned by a doctrinaire conservative who wasn’t very smart.
Steele is smart. From the beginning of the race, he plucked exactly the right strings. In an interview with the Washington Times, he decried “country Club conservatives,” a move made more meaningful by [Katon] Dawson’s entrance into the race. [Dawson had to quit his membership in an all-white country club.] From Sarah Palin, such complaints rang false; despite her populist tone Palin wanted to be a part of the country club set as much as anyone. But from Steele, it sounded genuine.
But Steele, like Blackwell, struck his own Faustian bargain with the racist impulses of the GOP.