For more than a year, critics within the GOP tent have dogged RNC Chairman Michael Steele for gaudy expenditures and head-scratching rhetoric that they say have distracted from the greater cause of getting Republican elected. On Friday, Steele fired back, resorting to a third person defense, and accusing his critics of wasting time and resources sniping at him rather then electing Republicans.
"You know, if all my critics spent less time worrying about what Michael Steele is doing and more time worrying about how they're going to help Republicans win in November, I think we'd be well down the road to securing and guaranteeing -- your word -- you know, control of the House and the Senate this coming November," Steele said
"The reality of it is we are launching a 48-state, six-week bus tour this coming week in which we're going to the grassroots to stimulate, again, our base, to turn them out, to emphasize the importance of Republican ideas at a time when the American people are not just angry, but very fearful of the direction this country's going. We've got some good candidates who are running. We've put a significant amount of investment, over $20 million in this cycle, into the state parties alone to help them to prepare for elections in November, not to mention the over 300 victory offices we have currently open around the country fully staffed and operating. So this is less about one individual, this is less about who the next Speaker of the House is going to be, and more about taking the ideas of our party and moving them into the future."
Steele answer was in response to criticism that he's spent too much time focused on his re-election as RNC chairman as opposed to the chairmanship duties themselves. It's an exceedingly rare charge simply for the fact that if Steele's been campaigning to keep his position (he said he had not made a decision), he's been doing a poor job.
And yet, in the end, Steele may emerge from the past two years unscathed by all the drama he's caused and fireworks he's set off. While state parties are struggling to fill the financial gap caused by the RNC's poor fundraising numbers, and there is growing concern that the party will lack a robust get-out-the-vote effort this fall, it's hard to imagine the GOP being in a better political position than it is now. Steele might not be re-elected chair of the committee. But it's also quite possible that his tenure is not tarred with the infamy that seemed destined not too long ago.