Republican party officials are starting to regret picking Michael Steele to run their national committee. In the wake of Steele's embarrassing scuffle with Rush Limbaugh, the GOP dissatisfaction has become increasingly vocal.
"There's frustration that there's no discipline, no planning," one Republican consultant told Politico. "He's risking being overexposed by accepting every interview, which makes gaffes more likely."
"What is amazing is that Steele was elected because of his communications skills, and it is those skills that are damaging the Republican Party. Before people begin to completely judge him as worthless, Steele needs to focus and knuckle down on building a strong foundation at RNC so we can begin rebuilding our majority," a top GOP strategist told US News & World Report. "If his implosion continues, RNC members are likely to call a special session to dump him for an effective chairman. There is not much patience for failure."
It's not only Steele's awkward TV appearances that are making Republicans nervous. The former Maryland Lieutenant Governor has failed to staff the organization he runs.
"I think it's been a disaster of a first month," a Republican insider tells the DC Examiner. "He needs to disappear for 60 days, go and staff the building, put his personal energy into making sure he has the people he wants, and go from there. That's what people are hoping he will do."
"It's not good," says another. "People feel that it's been very erratic at a time when we really need some sort of stabilizing force."
So far, Steele has responded with defiance. In an interview with Politico, he dismissed GOP critics as "nervous Nellies."
"If I told folks what I really thought, I'd probably be in a lot more trouble," he said. "I think that's what I bring to this job, as a voice of the party: I think it's important to have that kind of newness and rawness to it that grabs folks' attention and hopefully ... take a look at what we're doing."
But if the attacks continue, Steele might want to take this advice from Limbaugh himself: "It's time, Mr. Steele, for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of trying to be some talking head media star, which you're having a tough time pulling off."