Actually, I think he might be getting a bad rap on this one. Although, at this point, who knows what the hell goes on inside the RNC brain trust.
An RNC intern sent a message late last month to at least one ambassador on behalf of Neil Alpert, a senior finance aide, with little explanation.
“As you know, the November election is just 103 days away and the chairman would like to extend to you an invitation to sit down either at the RNC or at your embassy to discuss the upcoming 2010 midterm elections,” wrote Christopher Kelleher, a finance department intern. “With literally hundreds of congressional seats up for grabs in just under four months, Chairman Steel [sic] would love to have the opportunity to discuss the party’s outlook with you.”…
Steele’s outreach to foreign representatives heading into the final stretch of the midterm election cycle is exasperating senior Republicans, already fed up with the controversial chairman’s knack for bad publicity.
“They can’t give any money and they can’t vote,” former RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson said, referring to the ambassadors. “I don’t know why you’d take time to do it.”
On the one hand, if Steele really was trying to wrangle a meeting with, say, the ambassador from Iraq, would he have farmed the task out to an intern who can’t spell his name? Politico notes that ambassadors typically aren’t contacted by e-mail but rather via their political officers. Sounds like maybe the intern was told to contact a bunch of different VIPs to feel them out for meetings and didn’t realize that foreign ambassadors can’t do anything for the RNC financially. On the other hand, assuming that Steele really does want to meet with these people whether for personal prestige purposes or with an eye to forging relationships for his post-RNC career (per the article, he has a history of cultivating ties to foreign officials), what’s the harm in it, really? We’re talking about a half-hour or an hour here and there. Granted, it’s fundraising season, but if The One can carve a few hours out from saving the world to play golf occasionally, surely Steele can spare a little time for photo ops with foreign dignitaries. It’s a feeble way to kick up PR for the GOP but at least it keeps him away from microphones for a few hours. Net win!
Exit question: Who’s leaking?