ABC’s The Note is tweeting about an “emergency meeting” at the Republican National Committee headquarters which forced a cancellation of RNC chair Michael Steele’s radio appearance with the network earlier today. The official word is that the meeting wasn’t an emergency, but ABC said 45 minutes prior to the appearance Steele’s people confirmed him.
Fifteen minutes later he had to cancel.
It’s been a weird week for Steele, who on Monday told Sean Hannity that the GOP wouldn’t take back the House of Representatives, admitted that Republicans “screwed up” when last they had power and expressed doubt that the party would be worthy of having it again. Then he told his critics to “shut up” yesterday. Obviously, Steele is a bit more bombastic than you’d like a party chairman to be; Howard Dean didn’t make this many headlines.
But the Washington Post reported today that the GOP leaders in Congress didn’t even know Steele had a book out, and there doesn’t seem to be any coordination at all between the RNC chair and the party’s top elected officials.
“The book came out and everybody went, ‘Whoa, what happened?'” one aide said, adding that his employer, a senior House Republican, learned of the book by watching cable news.
“No one in the House or Senate leadership knew he had a book contract.”
“He’s freelancing,” said another top congressional aide.
Freelancing free from reality, it appears. Steele was on Dennis Miller’s radio program and said he was drafted into his job rather than volunteering for it:
“I didn’t ask for, I didn’t seek this job, I didn’t ask for it,” Steele said. “It wasn’t part of my, you know, charted course in life to wind up as chairman of the RNC. You know, there was a convergence of moments here.”
As the American Spectator’s Phillip Klein finds, that ain’t the case:
The problem with all this, as this report from yesterday notes, is that if Steele is run off for his irresponsible statements and double-dipping with the book deal, it’s going to be seen as the revenge of the Rockefeller Republicans against the Tea Party movement – and that’s arguable at best as a description of what’s really going on.
“He’s talking like he’s some kind of tea partier … when [in 2006] he was THE most moderate candidate we had in the field. That was his whole thing, and he had no problem trashing [former President George W.] Bush and others for being too conservative,” one GOP aide said.