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Steele faces critics, but GOP calls for ouster are scarce

By Perry Bacon Jr. and Dan Eggen
Despite a controversy that drew headlines everywhere and intense anger from members of his own party, no prominent Republican elected official has called for the ouster of Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele since new broke Monday that an RNC aide authorized a nearly $2,000 payment to take donors to a bondage-themed West Hollywood nightclub.

The lack of vocal opposition to Steele suggests the chairman is likely to emerge from this latest controversy, as from previous ones, as the continuing head of the GOP. A number of Republicans have over the last several days sharply criticized Steele, including former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) and Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz). But all have stopped short of saying he should step aside.

"At this point I'm not calling for his resignation, but I think there has been excessive spending, and I don't think it's defensible," Shadegg said in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday morning.

Katon Dawson, a South Carolina Republican who lost to Steele in the contest for the RNC chairmanship, said in an interview that the committee needs to demonstrate fiscal responsibility at a time when the party is attacking Democrats on spending issues. But Dawson said it's not clear if the latest RNC expense reports show any problems broader than the improper Voyeur expenditure.

"It will be up to the 160 members of the Republican National Committee to make sure those expenditures are appropriate," Dawson said. "The wind is at the back of the Republican Party right now, with Washington out of control with spending, and we certainly don't want any committee or organization getting in the way of that."

Shawn Steel, a GOP committeeman in California and Steele ally, said the chairman presided over a strong fundraising effort in an off-year and can take partial credit for GOP victories in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. He said the Voyeur expenditure was an obvious mistake.

"It was an unfortunate and embarrassing incident that was immediately corrected by the RNC," Steel said. "Nobody in authority knew about it or approved of it, and the whole thing is just plain silly."

Replacing Steele would be highly complicated. The 168 members of the Republican National Committee from across the country would have to organize a special meeting, decide by a two thirds majority to dump Steele and also rally around another candidate.
And Republicans say a messy replacement process would be unwise, particularly as the party has won several key races under Steele and wants to keep attention focused on Democrats.

"Republicans are sticking together to get back the majority and are willing to sweep family problems under the rug," said Ron Bonjean, a former top House GOP staffer.

By Perry Bacon Jr. and Dan Eggen  |  March 31, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Republican Party  
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Posted by: jrbreslin1 | April 2, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"the party ... wants to keep attention focused on Democrats."
How's that "attention-focused" thing workin' for ya? ;-)

Posted by: jgmann | April 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

How ludicrous for the Democrats to point out a $2,000 expenditure by the RNC when those are voluntarily-provided funds, while their party extracts $Trillions from citizens. The latter is about a billion times greater than the former. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Posted by: treedbrent | April 1, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"Steele faces critics, but GOP calls for ouster are scarce"

Of course they are. Doing so would require principles and leadership - two characteristics in short supply in that party.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 1, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Yup! This is the kind of moral supremacy we've come to expect from the right wing Christian republican party. So let's meet at the Beverly Hills Hotel, then we'll go to the Voyeur in Hollywood sex club for "meals".


It's only bad if you get caught. And since the party seems to enjoy these little dalliances a lot, of course they won't call for his ouster. Who else would pay for the sex?

Posted by: Greg S. | April 1, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

It's April Fool's Day. Why aren't Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee in a more jovial mood?

Posted by: Baxter24 | April 1, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Typical republican moral behavior.

Posted by: aagjr733 | April 1, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Dear Sirs,
Michael Steele fits right in.
We already have Senator Frist to form death panels.
He did in the Terry Schiavo case.
We have convicted rapist Warren Jeffs to protect marriage.
We have the Republicans to protect national security.
Remember the TOPOL missile?
Remember Teapot Dome?
Remember Elian Gonzales?
Remember the Bonus Army March?
Are these guys for real?
Clifford Spencer

Posted by: yankeefan1925 | April 1, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Michael Steele is good for America. He is a very important guy. He needs private jets, luxury hotels, private cars and an unlimited expense account. Michael should put together a republican speaking tour to fly around in private jets. Larry Craig can tap out a message to Republican bathroom cruisers. Mark Sanford can talk about finding the love of his life. We need to hear about crying in his lovers arms. John Ensign can talk about working with staff. This is the image that will elect new republicans in the fall. Michael Steele is an embarrassment. Republicans are afraid to get rid of anybody. Spend some more money on yourself michael. You deserve it. You are truly an american hero.

Posted by: HelloNewman1 | April 1, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Michael Steele is behaving the way he is because the R's have a clause in his contract that makes it impossible for him to quit and he can't get them to fire him. They know that things just could get better and their guys take a horrible pasting in November, and Mikey is their go to guy when the blame train arrives. Note that not a single public face to the party acts like HE wants the job.

They can leave Mikey up their on the podium dodging self induced pies to the face, because the real leadership makes post war Nazis attempts to go hide in SA look like a public relations blitz.

Maybe THAT is why Mark Sanford REALLY went to Buenos Aires, he is looking for the leadership of the party up the Paramaribo in Paraguay.

Posted by: ceflynline | March 31, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

John Boehner would be pounding his shoe on the podium if were the DNC.

Posted by: edismae | March 31, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like things aren't so black and white when the shoe's on the other foot, Repubs. I say keep him! And keep on spending!

Posted by: jookyg | March 31, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

TO: wgmadden who wrote:
"Tick,tick, tick ...
Newt, Newt, Newt ..."

Newt can't come back to politics.

He's a felon.

Oh wait, the freaks love felons and air heads.

Posted by: lindalovejones | March 31, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Tick,tick, tick ...

Newt, Newt, Newt ...

Posted by: wgmadden | March 31, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the most sordid aspect of this Voyeur Club is that they tie up the strippers and force them to watch Glen Beck.

Posted by: maggots | March 31, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

WaPo, you sure have had a great time advising us of the wasteful spending by the RNC of $2,000! This is one of the reasons why this old lady has not sent them a dime for the past two years.

At the same time, why has WaPo been so reluctant to talk to us about the TRILLIONS the government is wasting away for our kids and grandkids to pay?


Fine, let's talk about the invasion of Iraq that we are still paying for. That runs somewhere between $2,000 and $1.4 trillion.

Posted by: maggots | March 31, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Sure. Trust us. Even though we spent like drunken sailors for the better part of last decade with no return on benefits, we will make sure that we don't do the same this decade. I think not.

Posted by: AMQ1 | March 31, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

It would be 'Doomsday for Demos' if Steele, Limbaugh and the simpletons at Fux knews were to disappear. They are the best counter balance for the idiocy of the MSNBC-ocrats, Pelosi and Reid and both sides are worth many, many, MANY times more than $2,000 in entertainment value.
(What, you wanted to only have the KKKristian militia around? Close, but just not funny enough.)

Fortunate, isn't it that we seem to have a very hard to destroy democratic republic.

Thank whatever God you've chosen for people like US.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | March 31, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Very distasteful to me seeing the Republican Party Hierarchy "livin da hi life" while the rest of middle America is suffering from economic oppression resultant of a Reagan based political platform of the last 10 years.

You see, Armajihad (disputed President of Iran) seems to be inducing economic oppression onto the people of Iran through his new/old Psycho-Marxist plan of controlling the masses through poverty by his budget proposal. The sheeple of Iran's Zealous and populous hating cabinet seem to be supporting Armajihad's insanity. Look for a day soon that Reformist Lawmakers in Iran will be jailed as being "mohabed" for not supporting Voodoo Socialism.

Let it be said that during control by an exclusive Republican Hierarchy that USA became more dependent on Oil due to the inflated cost of that Oil per barrel alone.

Posted by: truthhurts | March 31, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It is bad for global warming,
but the Republican dumpster fire
burns brightly.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 31, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Please, Republicans, don't get rid of Steele. He's the best thing that ever happened to Democrats :)

Posted by: js_edit | March 31, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

So much for the party of "fiscal conservatives"...kinda of like Bush, just put on the credit card, we'll worry about it later..

Posted by: austininc4 | March 31, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans aren't going to give Steele the boot for one simple reason: Dump him, and they'll have a full-blown internal fight between the teabaggers/secessionists and the corporate interests over who should succeed him.

Steele knows this, and is having the time of his life making himself an attention-grabbing celebrity and milking the GOP for millions of high-living boodle. He's laughing all the way to the bank.

Just one more symptom of the rot at the heart of what was once the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Posted by: jasm917 | March 31, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

to fire steele would be admitting they were wrong. as long as he follows the parties dogma, he has a job.
republicans have to all agree in lock step, like any good facist organization. dissent is not allowed.

Posted by: MarilynManson | March 31, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Michael Steele is the best friend the Democrats could have, the GOP knows it and it irks them to no end.

Posted by: Kelly14 | March 31, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Don't you just love the party of family values, of "Christianity," of moral and fiscal responsibility?

GOP -- got odd perverts

Posted by: abbydelabbey | March 31, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

According to a blogger for the Houston Chronicle: RNC Chair Michael Steele Needs To Go

And as you read thru this article to the very end there is an update...and link to

Posted by: avahome | March 31, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Calls for his ouster are non existent as they all live in glass houses!

Posted by: DrFish | March 31, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

WaPo, you sure have had a great time advising us of the wasteful spending by the RNC of $2,000! This is one of the reasons why this old lady has not sent them a dime for the past two years.

At the same time, why has WaPo been so reluctant to talk to us about the TRILLIONS the government is wasting away for our kids and grandkids to pay?

Why don't you talk to us about how much it is going to cost us for the:

*Backlog of census forms which apparently cannot be counted due to faulty equipment? Over $2,000?
*Scanning equipment purchased by Home Land Security for use in airports that apparently does not do the job? Over $2,000?
*Increased health care insurance premiums for those who are already insured, that was supposed to have reduced premiums? Over $2,000 per year?
*Cost to the tax payers each time Nancy Pelosi fires up Pelosi Air -- Over $2,000?

Talk about straining a knat to swallow a camel, you folks are experts!

Posted by: wheeljc | March 31, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

They wouldn't dare fire him, or it would expose the lack of due diligence they put into finding their token in the first place.

Posted by: Darr247 | March 31, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

apparently, republicans don't want their to pay for healthcare, but lesbian bondage clubs are no problem.

Posted by: mimo1 | March 31, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The GOP CAN'T fire Steele.

He's the only black guy they have.

Apparently Steele's mother finally got him on the phone and told him that no matter WHAT Steele does, the GOP is forced to keep him.

If they fire Steele, they have even less of a snowball's chance in hell to even court the black voter.

Posted by: lindalovejones | March 31, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Steele is the ONLY black guy they have.

Posted by: Geopolitics101 | March 31, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Michael Steele: the gift that keeps on giving!

Posted by: hayden1 | March 31, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Steele has this job for as long as he wants it. The GOOP will never oust one of their only prominent blacks, no matter how foolish or inept he is.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | March 31, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

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