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If Michael Steele resigns as RNC chairman, then who?

July 6, 2010 |  5:22 am

Tornado Damage resembles internal chaos of Republican party

With many Republicans now calling for their own party chairman, Michael Steele, to resign after yet another Biden-like gaffe, the question arises, who's in the Republican bullpen to clean up the devastation?

The good news for Republicans is, with the long July 4th holiday and all the attention to Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi's shocking breakup, Steele might just skate by, unless blogs like this pick up the story again this morning. Over the weekend only Rep. Ron Paul spoke out in support of Steele.

But the last thing the party of Abraham Lincoln, with its first black chairman (and the inspiring story of his self-driven rise from inner-city poverty to political prominence), should be doing is going through its own misery and ...

... turmoil self-inflicted by the likes of Republican National Committee Chairman Steele and a pair of JB's -- Reps. Joe "Apology" Barton and John "Ant" Boehner.

With Democrats led by the unpopular Barack "What Oil Spill?" Obama, Nancy "C'mon, Let's Spend Just a Little Bit More" Pelosi and Harry "I Don't Know Anyone Named Rory" Reid, Republicans should be poised for potentially historic midterm gains in Congress on Nov. 2. That's barely two years after their historic waxing at the polls by two senators, of all things -- a lowly freshman and a veteran blabbermouth -- with $750 million at hand.

It's always nice to have your own folder of fresh ideas in politics, but polls indicate many in the country have decided not to believe in that change to believe in. So, the reality is, all Republicans have to do basically is get out of their own way and let angry, frightened voters see their incumbent Democratic targets between now and November.

If, as polls indicate, voters are now reeling from Obama-deficit sticker-shock and about 60% want his prized healthcare repealed, why talk about anything else?

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele

Yet GOP members have made a series of distracting recent gaffes, not the first time for Steele.

His inarticulate comment last week that Afghanistan is a war of Obama's choosing made him seem ignorant of the fact that Republican George W. Bush launched that fight in 2001 after 9/11 -- even if Steele really meant that between the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Obama chose the latter as the important one.

In today's politics, if you have to explain what you meant to say, you've already lost.

And to be honest, Steele's comment that the Afghanistan conflict is unwinnable based on history is dead-on accurate. Just ask the Russians and British long before them. It's also an attitude that polls show many Americans shifting toward, as casualties and costs grow. But it is politically dumb to talk defeat during a war, even if a party chairman is still stupid enough to believe that some tiny video camera isn't recording every word he utters in public.

Steele's life story suggests he won't give up without a fight, a blessing for the other party's African American head. Steele's term ends in January. And speaking of history, party chairman is a thankless job. If your party is out of power, you sound like a grumpy retired guy always complaining about the new neighbors; think Howard Dean and Terry McAuliffe.  

And if your party owns the White House, you become a hand-picked political parrot like Tim "Obama's Certainly Doing a Wonderful Job" Kaine, who's so earnestly auditioning for the 2012 VP slot.

Two facts stand out in the Republican mess:

One, after some quiet guidance and suggestions to Steele behind the scenes by Republican heavyweights proved fruitless months ago, they gave up on Steele's sloppy RNC management. Now, they've established parallel fund-raising operations to finance much of this fall's Democratic-ousting activities.

And two, who's the big-name Steele backup? 

Uh, well, there's um .....

Or maybe .....

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Associated Press