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Livin' large with Michael Steele

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is livin' large on donor cash. Just how this is part of the Republican resurgence everyone keeps talking about escapes me. According to a story in Politico, he "is spending twice as much as his recent predecessors on private planes and paying more for limousines, catering and flowers...."

And this isn't sitting well with party contributors. One even called him an "imperial chairman." This person went on to say that Steele "flies in private aircraft. He drives in private cars. He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers. He fancies himself a presidential candidate and wants all of the trappings and gets them by using other people’s money."

One snicker-worthy comparison between Steele and his predecessors involves Ken Mehlman, who was chairman from 2005 through 2006. Mehlman threw a holiday party in 2005. It was held in a conference room at RNC headquarters. The caterer? Chic-fil-A. Instead, Steele went for chic. His fete last year was held at Newseum and was catered by Wolfgang Puck, whose swank restaurant, The Source, is in the building. Steele also uprooted the RNC annual meeting from Washington to hold it in Hawaii. He told a local television station that it was "a chance to expose Hawaii to the rest of America." With his lavish spending, it appears Steele is leaving the GOP financially exposed in the run-up to the mid-term elections.

The GOP has racked up some big and symbolic victories in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. And it has history on its side in terms of gaining seats in the House and Senate, since the party with the president in the White House almost always loses some. But history and momentum from races held a year earlier are not going to be enough to secure the gains Republicans hope they can get. They're going to need lots of cash and leadership from the RNC. Both of which seem to be in short supply.

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 25, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Mr. Capehart: you are possibly uniquely qualified to analyze and answer the question about whether the race of Steele makes his job easier or tougher in a mission to salvage the Republican Party. Please give us your thoughts.
For some, it is the elephant in the room. For others, Mr. S's annoying persona and flamboyance, which can be found widely in people of all races--particularly Caucasians in this town--is more of a problem. But I fear the old Republican (anti) social values just weigh on him too much. I would like to see him leave the scene and become a professor at a place like the K School.

Posted by: axolotl | February 25, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

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