Live debate: Candidates for RNC chair square off at 1 p.m.

Steele versus Blackwell versus Duncan versus Dawson versus Anuzis versus Saltsman. It’ll stream live on Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform website, but you’ll have to register with an e-mail address to watch. Expect plenty of “big tent” rhetoric and emphasis on expanding the GOP’s presence online, with possible curveballs coming from the “Magic Negro” kerfuffle or one of the many user-generated questions submitted by the Paulnuts who are now monopolizing the site. Sample: “Will you add opposition to fiat money (including the Federal Reserve system) to the Republican platform?”

This is only the first skirmish of the week. Tomorrow all six candidates will be vetted by the “Conservative Steering Committee,” an ad hoc group of roughly 75 RNC members that may or may not be a front for current chairman Mike Duncan aimed at painting Steele as too squishy for the job. The backlash to that tactic led to other members demanding a full meeting of the RNC; that’s scheduled for Wednesday. Politico claims that veteran members are leaning towards Duncan, but Blackwell’s got social conservative cred, racial balance vis-a-vis Obama, and a bunch of big-name endorsements. I assume it’ll come down to those two, with the media attention paid to the “Magic Negro” nonsense possibly tipping things to Blackwell. While we wait for showtime, here’s the case against Steele from Red State. And, from Jim Geraghty, the case against everyone else.

Update: Says the boss, “Norquist is part of the problem.”