There has been a subdued blame game being waged in Republican circles for weeks over who is at fault for the failure to pick up more Senate seats than the six the party gained in the 2010 midterm elections. On one side is the Republican establishment, which has pointed fingers at the Tea Party movement for nominating candidates who weren't viable in a general election format. On the other is a class of activists and practitioners who argue that the Republican National Committee lacked the resources to harness the enthusiasm of the base.
On Sunday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) added a bit of fuel to the fire when he refused to support the re-election hopes of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, saying he would look for alternatives instead.
"I want to look at the choices," DeMint told "Fox News Sunday" when asked if he would support Steele. "Frankly, I think where we lost a few Senate seats our ground game was not as strong as it could have been. We were actually out-manned on the ground, and going into 2012 we need a really strong leader for the Republican Party to match the get-out-the-vote [efforts] that we saw from the Obama machine last time. So I appreciate Michael Steele's service but I am looking for some alternatives right now. I haven't decided who I would support. But we need a strong national Republican organization to help organize the energy of the Tea Parties and the other citizen activism that we are seeing out there right now. We need to make sure we have a lot of boots on the ground."
As the Washington emissary of the Tea Party movement, DeMint has been accused of encouraging the type of Republican primary disorder that resulted in the nomination of Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and the like. So his coldness toward Steele is not without a personal interest in reassigning blame.