Or, more accurately, time for another “RNC insiders getting pretty tired of Steele but unwilling to do anything about it” post.
No, it’s not a Politico story this time. Fox News, folks:
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele “allowed a certain climate to exist” that resulted in the committee paying for a now infamous visit to a Los Angeles strip club, a senior RNC committeeman tells Fox News…
But well placed Republican Party sources told Fox News they did not believe think the latest controversy, over the activities at Voyeur, will cost Steele his chairmanship. Ultimately, these insiders said, Steele’s job is to win elections – and the GOP has done well on that score lately…
“I don’t think he will get fired,” said one influential RNC member of Steele. “The question is: Will he get re-hired?”
These sources believe all the right moves were made in the wake of the Voyeur embarrassment – a responsible staffer was fired, all funds have been accounted for – but many still worry about the bigger picture. “For the first time I can remember, we have less cash on hand than the Democrats, and that’s the real crime here, we should be spending our money more wisely.” said one well placed Republican source.
In this political climate, with fiscal conservatism in ascendance, I think “the RNC has a lesbian bondage problem” would actually play better as a storyline with the base than “the RNC has a spending problem.” Alas, though: The RNC has a spending problem. Texas party chairman Tom Pauken:
“There have been too many situations in which there have been questionable expenditures coming out of the RNC,” he said. “It really raises the issue of what is the RNC being run for? The benefit of the chairman and a bunch of consultants? Or is it being run to advance the conservative cause?”
Pauken said the Steele needs to “take a hard look at stepping down.”
Not going to happen, for obvious political reasons. Even so, the expense at the nightclub is just the tip of the RNC’s fundraising iceberg, as NPR describes it, with some grassroots righties already wondering just how free the “free-spending culture” is under Steele that an almost $2,000 bar tab at a place called “Voyeur” would be mindlessly rubber-stamped by the RNC finance department. Suffice it to say, if the RNC gets caught short-handed financially in the fall and loses winnable House races because it can’t pay for ads, the wrath of conservatives will be unimaginable. Deal with this now or deal with it later, ladies and gents.
You’ll be pleased, though, to know that while Steele’s relationship with McConnell and Boehner is reportedly “not good at all,” congressional leadership aides say they’ve figured out a way to “work around him” by drawing donors disgruntled with the RNC towards other Republican fundraising committees. That’s how low the group’s status has sunk — that it’s now referred to as an obstacle to be evaded rather than a conduit to success. Terrific.