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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Michael Steele is in, but does it matter?

By Jennifer Rubin

Current Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele confounded conventional wisdom and announced he would run for another term. Politics watchers should keep in mind several things.

First, the notion that this will promote in-fighting and make life tough for the Republicans is rather silly. If Steele's gaffe-a-thon over the past two years didn't damage the party's prospects, a couple of weeks during which Republicans uniformly voice disgust with his tenure sure won't make a difference. Politico reports: "After Fox News broke the news Monday afternoon that Steele was running, Democrats were gleeful that, for a few weeks at least, the controversial chairman would remain in the fray." I suppose Steele campaigning during the holiday season (when only true political junkies are paying attention) is all that Democrats can crow about these days.

Second, Steele is a non-factor in the race. His own former general counsel is running to replace him. I've yet to find a single elected official, pundit, or committee member who supports him or is even willing to defend his tenure -- which was distinguished by gaffes, scandals and debt. Steele isn't going to be the next chairman. Period.

And finally, this is another instance in which, as the Hollywood writer William Goldman put it, no one knows anything. The entire chattering class was convinced Steele would pack it in. After all, why would he possibly run? Logic, however, was not the determining factor. Steele's ego and political tone deafness have been his defining qualities. What a cogent political figure would do and what Steele would do are two entirely separate matters. In fact, no one pontificating about Steele had any actual knowledge of the decision, because Steele keeps his own counsel. It's an important reminder that political conventional wisdom is often very wrong.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 14, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
 
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Comments

There's always one guest who doesn't know when to leave and has to be told that the party is over.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 14, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

A number of well meaning white Republicans wanted to prove they were not racists. This is the number one reason for Michael Steele's selection. It should have been patently obvious in a half hour conversation with the man that he was unqualified for the position. Steele had no idea on how to lead the RNC. How can any sane person believe he should remain on the job when he failed to raise any serious money? Some might describe this to be the most important duty of an RNC chairman.

Posted by: DavidThomson | December 14, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

You know Steele is a true Republican by how delusional he is.

Posted by: danw1 | December 14, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Steele was the token black to off-set Obama. "See, we like black folks too." Steele served his purpose. Now the GOP wants to go back to business as usual.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 14, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I know..let the GOPs replace Steele with...Allen West! And make West resign his House seat as soon as he takes it! That's the kind of GOP faux-"racial progress" I can go for!! Seriously, I can't imagine why any GOP would want Steele back for another go at it...he's been the worst chair of either party in my memory.

Posted by: taylorb1 | December 14, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Steele and Palin were the two people who kept the Tea Party, which is made up of Republicans, Dems, and Independents, behind Republican candidates.

A staunch Republican who wants to return to the Bush era would not have been able to pull off the huge connection that was necessary to keep the Tea Party from turning into a third party.

Republican leaders would do themselves a favor if they voted Steele back in, then assigned a second member to be in charge of fund raising.

Steele can relate to the Tea Party, which the Republicans need, in a way that few other Republicans can.

If the Republicans need a better fund raiser, then go to the person who can do that and allow them to operate on their own in the background. They can make the calls,connections, whatever...while Steele gives us a familiar face to the success of 2010.

That success would not have happened without Steele and Palin. Bottom line.

Republican leaders, including Rove, need to know that.

Posted by: letscheck | December 15, 2010 3:52 AM | Report abuse

"A number of well meaning white Republicans wanted to prove they were not racists. This is the number one reason for Michael Steele's selection. It should have been patently obvious in a half hour conversation with the man that he was unqualified for the position. Steele had no idea on how to lead the RNC. How can any sane person believe he should remain on the job when he failed to raise any serious money? Some might describe this to be the most important duty of an RNC chairman.

Posted by: DavidThomson | December 14, 2010 12:39 PM"


I disagree.

We won the House. We won Governors. We won state legislatures.

How can people ignore the really big wins of 2010?

Doing it with less money is a plus.

Do you know why they won with less money in the Republican camp?

It was because Dems and Independents sent their money directly to the candidates that they wanted to back.

2010 was a win.

Now we build on that.

Thank you Michael Steele and Sarah Palin for bringing the Tea Party to back the Republican candidates.

Posted by: letscheck | December 15, 2010 4:00 AM | Report abuse

"I'm a labor-lawyer-turned-blogger who believes in limited government, in free markets and that nearly all wisdom can be found in the Godfather movies and the Torah."

LOL! Not at the Godfather part, but at the notion that you're actually conservative!

Posted by: rogueoperator | December 15, 2010 6:11 AM | Report abuse

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