A meltdown of Steele-ian proportions

The RNC chairman's latest series of travails is bizarre, even by his standards

Topics: Michael Steele, War Room,

This should have been a good week for Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. He has a new book out, after all — “Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda” was released Monday, and he’s been out promoting it. But instead, the week’s been filled with criticism coming from within the Republican Party, and with more of the eccentricity that has characterized Steele’s tenure as head of the RNC.

Friday didn’t start off great for Steele; Think Progress caught an odd statement he’d made Thursday, in an interview with Dennis Miller: ” I feel this is part of a calling for me. I mean, I didn’t ask for, I didn’t seek this job, I didn’t ask for it. It wasn’t part of my, you know, charted course in life to wind up as chairman of the RNC. You know, there was a convergence of moments here.” It was a strange thing for him to say, because, in fact, Steele did ask for his job — he had to, because he was elected to it, and that took no small amount of politicking.

You Might Also Like

Then Steele touched off a minor kerfluffle within the world of political news when, 30 minutes before he was scheduled to appear on “Top Line,” a show on ABC News’ Web site, he suddenly canceled, though an RNC spokesperson had confirmed the interview only 15 minutes earlier.  The cancellation was blamed on an “emergency meeting” that apparently didn’t exist, though the RNC has since said there was a regular meeting that was the reason for the chairman’s sudden change of heart.

Friday also saw more criticism of Steele from within the GOP. The Washington Post reported that Republican congressional leaders had no idea he was writing a book until it was released. Worse, they had no input in the book, which wouldn’t be a problem except that it’s about his ideas for how the party should come back to power in D.C. The Post quoted one anonymous aide to a “senior House Republican” as saying, “The book came out and everybody went, ‘Whoa, what happened?’ No one in the House or Senate leadership knew he had a book contract.”

Then, for the second time in two days, Steele gave an interview in which he responded to his critics in his own truly unique fashion.

“Let’s just say I’ve been in a little bit of trouble but I don’t care because I didn’t write this for them. This book is a book a lot of those staffers who are trying to get the chairman on message or muzzle the chairman — it’s a book they don’t want you to read. They don’t want you to read this book because a guilty conscience is a funny thing,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody.

Update: Another bit of Steele weirdness — he told Laura Ingraham that he wrote the book before he started his job as chairman of the RNC. But the book “was clearly written in late 2009, either in November or December, and is based entirely on current events up to that point,” TPM reports.

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>