Now Sarah Palin likes Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele. Her new found political romance with Steele couldn't have come at a more needed time for the beleaguered chairman. Steele's shoot-from-the-lip media grandstanding, gaffes, fundraising shenanigans, profligate spending, and put down of the Afghan war have driven nearly every faction of the GOP from mainstream traditionalists to ultra-conservatives bonkers. The screams for his head reached a near tipping point a few months back. But with the crucial mid-terms bearing down, Obama's plunge in the polls, and a string of Palin successes backing bizarre, underdog, insurgent candidates, Steele got a reprieve.
Palin extended that reprieve with her shout out to him on Fox News. She'll headline two fundraising rallies with him this month. So why the sudden political love fest with Steele? Well for one, Steele has been more than willing, no eager, to play ball with her. He's done it in two ways. Outside of Palin, he's the loudest and most visible national figure that's been willing to sing the praises of any one that carries the Tea Party imprimatur-- Sharon Angle, Joe Miller, Christine O'Donnell, and Rand Paul. It doesn't matter how wacky, way out, or silly they look and sound. They're Tea Party. They won primaries, and they beat down the GOP establishment. One or more of them will likely flame out in November. But that doesn't much matter. For the moment at least they've rocked the GOP mainstream, and fired up the loathe Obama grassroots crowd.
Steele sniffed opportunity here and jumped on his "Fire Pelosi" bus to tour the hotspots nationally of anti-Obama mania and tout even more zany, far-out Tea Party endorsed candidates such as perennial rightwing black noisemaker Starr Parker. She's running a no chance to win campaign against California Democrat Laura Richardson. The no-win part isn't important. What matters is that Palin endorsed Parker. That was enough for Steele to turn up at a Parker campaign rally held at a diner in a Long Beach, California neighborhood and shill for her.
But Palin and Steele aren't exchanging political smooches simply because the of their mutual Tea Party passion. There's also the matter of money. Palin has racked up tens of thousands in debt from her legal expenses. The scuttlebutt is that the RNC might step in a help pay off those debts. Steele would of course have to OK that. But while money could be an issue in the mutual Steele-Palin court, politics is still what drives their march in lock step. Palin clearly stokes the passion of the legions that want to roll back the clock on government and the Obama administration. Steele knows a good thing when he sees that. And Palin right now is a good thing for him. Steele and Palin deserve each other.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk show on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles.
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Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/earlhutchinson