Palin: I think Steele’s doing a great job

posted at 2:49 pm on April 8, 2010 by Allahpundit

Not the first time she’s defended him, but it’s even more mystifying now than it was then. What does she gain by doing this? Are they friends, or is she really so invested in the idea of “outsiders” playing a role that she’s willing to say something like, “I am glad that he is the leader of the party administratively”? Administratively? Really? I can’t remember a time when I’ve wished harder for an insider at the top of the party than in the past few weeks. The only theory I can come up with is that she’s so keen on building her own “outsider” brand that she’s willing to take the side of any Republican under fire from the party’s establishment. And I do mean any:

Steele’s travails appear to have reached a tipping point. Conversations the past few days with Republicans suggest that whatever confidence remained in Steele’s capacity to be an effective chairman has eroded significantly. “It’s tipped over his ability to be relevant and helpful,” said Scott Reed, a former chief of staff at the RNC and Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign manager…

A former top official at the committee said the focus on Steele’s management “reinforces a negative stereotype” about whether Republicans are capable of governing and managing. That hurt the party badly in 2006 and some Republicans fear it could again. A current member of the committee complained, “This goes back to harbingers of Katrina, mismanagement and all that stuff.”

It would make sense for her to do this if there were a sharp establishment/grassroots split over Steele but he’s alienated the latter with his racial defenses to public criticism, to the point where we’re now seeing pieces like this popping up. In fact, one of the most compelling arguments for keeping him on at this point is that no one’s sure he won’t go dumping on the party in lefty media outlets if he were removed:

Even Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s harshest critics agree that pushing him out before his tenure is up would be a PR nightmare — saying that even though he may deserve the boot, they fear he’d get so much media attention they’d never hear the last of him.

“If he were thrown overboard you can guarantee he’d be out there slamming a lot of people and saying a lot of things. It’s best to let this one simmer down,” said a top Republican strategist who works with the RNC.

In the long run, one of his biggest achievements as chairman may be getting people to revisit the question of why we need national committees in the first place. They’re a useful reservoir for low-information voters who want to donate to Republicans but don’t have time to sort through lists of candidates and 527s to find the right one, but the more people start using the Internet as a political tool, the less necessary that reservoir is. Which brings me back to my question: Why are Palin (and Coulter!) still so high on Steele? Any theories?

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He cannot be fired. The cries of racism would never end.
He is of the “protected class”.
The RNC is stuck with him.

1IDVET on April 8, 2010 at 8:46 PM

It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement in that clip. She said he can be replaced at the end of his term if that’s the direction the party believes it should go. It sounds like she’s essentially saying to lay off the dude til his time’s up. Sure, she’s expressing it in a very friendly way, but that’s the impression I got.

As for why she’s doing this, simple. She doesn’t want the party’s anger focused on Steele. She wants it on Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. I concur.

Doughboy on April 8, 2010 at 2:55 PM

AP, Here is the answer you seek.
100 points to Pillsbury

Amadeus on April 8, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Add another hundred to that. Back seat bloggers can afford to snipe at every little thing, but Palin, as a conservative leader, which she is, must have a longer vision. Steele is a big disappointment for me, I wish he’d knock off the race card nonsense and keep the gaffes down, but for Palin to be publicly critical at this time of an election year doesn’t help the cause.

Dongemaharu on April 8, 2010 at 9:08 PM

The race card never stopped anyone from dismissing Alan Keyes, even from within his own party. No, Steele is still on the job because he serves some kind of purpose, however twisted, and Palin won’t attack him because she knows the eleventh commandment of the GOP.

Anyone wanna venture a guess, or are most of you too young to remember?

manwithblackhat on April 8, 2010 at 9:08 PM

She even looks hot as a Librarian.

johnnyU on April 8, 2010 at 9:27 PM