Last week, RNC chair Michael Steele angered the Republican Party’s congressional leaders when he said that he does not think the GOP can win majorities in Congress in 2010 and that the Party is not ready to lead. “You really just have to get him to stop. It’s too much,” one top Republican congressional aide said. U.S. News reports today that instead of ousting Steele, they’re planning to just ignore him:
“He’s become our Howard Dean,” says a top Republican leadership aide. Steele’s latest remarks that the party won’t take control of the House in the November midterm elections — a prediction he later backed away from — have revived talk of replacing him. But senior party officials say they plan something worse: just ignoring Steele. “It’s going to be out of sight, out of mind,” says one aide. And firing him won’t work. “That would just expedite the talk show where he bashes us all the time,” he says.
Dating back to last March, Republicans have reportedly been unhappy with Steele’s leadership at the RNC, which has included a string of gaffes, ethics problems, relentless self-promotion, and poor fundraising. However, one “influential” GOP strategist said that Steele was most likely going to stick around: “You’re not going to dump the first African-American chairman. That’s the only reason. Otherwise, he’d be gone.” Steele himself has previously said that he would resign if the GOP made him irrelevant. “If they want a figurehead chairman you can have a figurehead chairman, but it won’t be Michael Steele,” he said in May.