The Man of Steele: RNC Chairman Michael Steele


Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele was the subject of an earlier post a couple of months ago.  At that time, I speculated that Steele was merely a token placeholder who was barely being tolerated by the far right wing of the party and that they had done a number of things to hem him in and dilute his power. He’s also been under serious fire here of  late.  What’s Steele guilty of ?  Well, for starters he’s gone on a tour promoting his book which is critical of republican party by suggesting it will not win back the house and senate in 2010.  He also called Rush Limbaugh an entertainer (which he beat a hasty retreat from after Limbaugh came down on him like a ton of bricks) and he’s a moderate republican who is looking to expand the party’s tent while the far right faction of the party desires to do the exact opposite.  But above all else, Steele is guilty of not playing the window dressing token role that’s been assigned to him.  You see, tokens are supposed to be seen so diversity is perceived, but not heard because few are truly interested in his opinion, let alone his interest in actually leading the RNC.

It looks like Steele is not going to be satisfied with being a token marketing prop for the republican party and he tells his critics to either “shut up or fire me” in the video below.  I admire that sort of backbone and as it turns out, it’s going to be difficult to remove him from the position until his term is up, so for now his critics will have to deal with him.  What his detractors will do however is continue to dilute his power.  RNC donors are refusing to fund the RNC as long as he’s chair as they figure that he can’t do much damage without funding.  I’d look for his detractors to bypass him on any significant initiatives and position someone else to be the face of the party.   Actually, the whole tone of the CNN clip attempts to paint him as a buffoon, so he can be “positioned” for his power and credibility to be further diluted.   I hope he’s smart enough to see it coming.

3 Responses to “The Man of Steele: RNC Chairman Michael Steele”
  1. Didn’t Steele get the e-mail? He’s to be seen and not heard–the traditional role for black people. We’re the spooks who sit by the door. We can open it for the man, but we can never presume that the office beyond, with its trappings of power and privileged, can belong to us.

    Perhaps you’re right about him finishing his term. We’ll just have to wait and see. If Steele can survive the next meeting where it can be decided to oust him, then he’s got a good shot.

    He may be too pugnacious for his own good, but he sounds like a man who knows where all the bodies are hidden, and can make life miserable for those who may feel that it’s safer and easier to just let him serve out his term.

  2. Greg L says:

    >>>He’s to be seen and not heard–the traditional role for black people.<<<<<

    When we will learn to stop being window dressing for someone else's agenda? The only way these sorts of positions mean anything is that one has a power base they're representing. Clearly, Steele does not, which makes him essentially an errand boy for those who do. At least he's resisting the scenario, but it would have been far better to have avoided getting placed into it to begin with.

    The republicans would prefer this thing not get too messy and Steele doesn't seem desirous of going quietly. I'm betting that they'll let him serve out his term, but bypass him and dilute what little power he has in the interim.

  3. “When we will learn to stop being window dressing for someone else’s agenda?”

    Well stated. We both know that Steele was pressed into service pretty much for the same reason Sarah Palin was–so that the RNC may take advantage of their unique attributes, Palin because she’s a woman, and Steele because he’s black.

    I think it’ll probably play out the way you described: ” let him serve out his term, but bypass him and dilute what little power he has in the interim.”

    But it’ll be harder to shut him up.

    Palin has a future as something. Steele, not so much.

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