Not really — or rather, not yet — but between stumbling into a fight with the hero of the base and making himself a late-night punchline for finding “hipness” in moldy slang, the ice beneath his feet is starting to crack. The RNC chair ideally needs to be good on TV and good at ingratiating himself with grassroots conservatives and their pocketbooks, and so far he’s been terrible at both. And don’t think people haven’t noticed:

Several Republican advisers to Congress and the previous Bush administration told Whispers that they are worried that the war of words is fracturing the party when it should be healing the division between conservatives and moderates in the wake of the 2008 election.

“What is amazing is that Steele was elected because of his communications skills, and it is those skills that are damaging the Republican Party. Before people begin to completely judge him as worthless, Steele needs to focus and knuckle down on building a strong foundation at RNC so we can begin rebuilding our majority,” says a top GOP strategist who has worked for House and Senate Republican leaders. “If his implosion continues, RNC members are likely to call a special session to dump him for an effective chairman. There is not much patience for failure.”…

“At this point, it is as if he has a fundamental misunderstanding of the job description. An RNC chairman who attacks Republicans and insults conservative icons is about as counterproductive as any Democrat could hope for,” says the adviser.

The party’s not going to scramble to oust its first black chairman, but if Steele goes on embarrassing himself he’ll become very easy to ignore, which will destroy his “change” mandate. When he called Rush out on D.L. Hughley’s show and labeled himself the de facto head of the GOP, I assumed it was his way of asserting himself; it was a foolish thing to do given the risk it posed to fundraising, but if he’d stood by his criticism it would have been a show of authority at least insofar as it proved he had the balls to take on Rush and not back down. Instead, he groveled right away. Like I said yesterday, lose/lose. Pull it together, chief.

Update: He knelt before Zod, and now the Democrats are laughing at him.