As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

But Howard Dean Was A Dangerous Choice To Lead The Party...

Michael Steele has had just about the most disastrous first couple months as the head of the RNC that I've ever seen. Almost from the very beginning, where he had to cooperate with the FBI over allegations of payments from his 2006 Senate campaign account to his sister, he has had an ethical cloud swirling around him. Now local news in Baltimore has found more problems:

RNC Chairman Michael Steele is under fresh scrutiny for more suspect expenditures from his 2006 Senate campaign. WBAL News reports that, at the end of his 2006 campaign. Steele made $64,000 in questionable payments to a firm named Allied Berton, LLC.

The firm’s website indicates that Allied Berton was “in the business of trading commodities, such as minerals, metals, coffee and sugar.” The purpose of Steele’s payments to the company, however, was listed as “political consulting.” Further, “At the time the campaigns made the payments, Allied Berton’s right to conduct business had been forfeited by the state for failing to file the proper paperwork.”

All told, Steele, former Governor Bob Ehrlich, Ehrlich’s running mate Kristen Cox and the Maryland Republican party paid over $400,000 to Allied Berton.

The news report is here.

And these are just the ethical issues. The Steele-Limbaugh flap has emasculated the RNC chair. His statements have been increasingly bizarre. And he simply hasn't done his job.

Steadily becoming a dependable punch line, Steele has brushed back Rush Limbaugh, threatened moderate Republican senators, offered the “friggin’ awesome” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal some “slum love,” called civil unions “crazy” and promised more outreach to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings” via an “off the hook” public relations campaign.

He even threw a shout-out to “one-armed midgets.”

That’s in just 30 days on the job — and that’s just the PR part.

On the organizational side, Steele does not have a chief of staff, a political director, a finance director or a communications director. Last week, one of the two men sharing the job of interim finance director was forced to resign.

For now, “the fourth floor,” as the RNC’s executive suite is known, is being run by a pair of consultants.

“There’s frustration that there’s no discipline, no planning,” said a well-known Republican consultant. “He’s risking being overexposed by accepting every interview, which makes gaffes more likely.”

I think there's a growing segment of the Republican establishment who wants to throw this guy over. He's been an unmitigated disaster. All part of the death spiral of Minority Leader Limbaugh and the GOP.

(David Plouffe really sticks in the knife in that op-ed.)

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