Anybody but Steele

Likewise, his tactical choices seemed at times driven as much by personal exigencies as by party priorities. In September, with midterms kicking into high gear and every piece of data indicating that Republicans could make substantial incursions into key blue districts, where was Steele? Speechifying and fundraising in Guam — no doubt in part because the party committeemen of Guam and other U.S. territories in the Pacific and Caribbean broke heavily for Steele in 2008. A similar calculus could explain why Steele sent $20,000 from his state parties’ budget to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, which has no voting members of Congress, zero electoral votes, and a population roughly the size of Scranton’s…

The party — and the country — can’t afford to hope for another political bailout in 2012, a cycle that will be even more important than 2010. Republicans will be looking to defend, consolidate, and expand legislative gains, and not just President Obama’s agenda, but the president himself, will be on the ballot. It is thus crucial that every GOP institution be running on all cylinders. For all the Herculean work of the outside groups, there are certain tasks for which only the party committee is suited, given its ability to coordinate with state parties. If nothing else, the subpar reputation the RNC has earned under Steele’s leadership will make it impossible for the committee to work at its optimum.