Necessity, Not Race, Keeps Steele in the Driver’s Seat

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Michael SteeleRepublican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele is under the spotlight again.  The GOP’s head honcho made headlines this week, when he appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and told co-host George Stephanopoulos that being black gives him a slimmer margin of error. 

Steele, who is the first African-American to be elected chairman of the RNC, continues to grab headlines for one faux pas after another since he was elected to the post in January 2009.  He further played the race card during the broadcast, when he said that President Barack Obama has a slimmer margin of error too. 

His comments can be debated either way.  Some would even argue that race kept him in the post. This latest snafu comes on the heels of Steele’s chief of staff resigning, prompted by media and GOP donor backlash surrounding the RNC’s footing of a $2K tab at a bondage-themed stripper club. Adding insult to injury, the chairman’s longtime political consulting firm also called it quits this week. 

So what’s next for Steele and the GOP?  Probably nothing.  The negative publicity will be too much strain on the Republicans if they try to oust Steele, especially as momentum swings in favor of the Democrats post healthcare success.  The GOP’s best strategy is to sit it out until Steele’s term expires at the end of this year, provided he doesn’t get into too much trouble until then.  

Despite a tarnished image, Steele and the RNC have actually done a good job.  Wins in Massachusetts for the late Ted Kennedy’s senate seat and Virginia’s gubernatorial victory, point to huge successes for the party.  The reality is that voters may not understand or truly care what Steele does.  Republicans do however.  But if the RNC continues to chip away at the Democrat control of Congress, and is successful at the midterm elections this November, Steele may not be going away anytime soon.

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