In a move that has shocked "supporters and critics alike," Michael Steele has announced he will seek a second term as chairman of the Republican National Committee. Steele was widely expected to withdraw after a rocky run marked by endless gaffes, political infighting, and allegations of financial mismanagement (the RNC will end the year more than $15 million in debt). Now facing an election battle with six challengers, Steele admitted to having "stumbled along the way," but said he had always "accounted" for his shortcomings. Does his re-election bid stand a chance? (Watch Steele announce his re-election bid)
Steele could win again: "Clubby RNC insiders" may yet turn to Steele as a fallback option if their favored candidate is eliminated in an early round of voting, says Allahpundit in Hot Air. "The GOP did, after all, win 63 seats on [Steele's] watch," even if fundraising has fallen off a cliff. Retaining Steele will avoid a "nasty public squabble," and outside groups could boost their fundraising efforts in order to pick up the RNC slack.
"Surprise: Michael Steele reportedly running for reelection as RNC chair after all"
RNC members won't vote for a failure: Yes, the GOP "fared extremely well this year," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly — despite Steele, not because of him. It's hard to see the chairman's "reign of error" continuing. "Major party figures have already endorsed other candidates," and RNC members will surely think twice about re-electing a man who has become a "laughingstock."
"Steele still manages to surprise"
It all depends on how he acts now: "The jury is still out," says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. Only 168 people decide the victor of the race, and "much depends on the approach Steele takes" to woo them. If he plays an "inside game" and gets some of the "rarely-courted members of the 168" to back him, he stands a chance. Then again, he may simply be running "to prove that he wouldn't be intimidated out of it."
"The unpredictable Michael Steele"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- Hey, Paul Ryan's new poverty plan isn't completely terrible!
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Deficit scolds are the most crazed ideologues in America
- The secret to Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing grilled cheese sandwiches
- The disturbing lessons of Arizona's un-American execution
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
Subscribe to the Week