This year should be a good one for Republicans, but it's not clear the GOP will have the cash to capitalize on the growing voter discontent with Democrats. Parties typically fill their coffers before election years, but gaffe-prone Republican National Committee head Michael Steele drained his war chest by $15 million, from $22.8 million to just $8.7 million, by spending heavily on off-year elections. Will Steele's free spending cost the GOP its return from political exile? (Watch Michael Steele discuss the GOP's chances)
Give Steele the boot: Michael Steele's frequent "embarrassing and idiotic statements" are bad enough, says Philip Klein in The American Spectator. But depleting the RNC war chest as we enter "the best political environment for Republicans since at least 2004" is inexcusable. "Given that the primary duties of the RNC chairman are to communicate and fundraise...is there a case to me made for not firing him?"
"Is there a good argument for not firing Michael Steele?"
I spent a fortune, and all I got was two lousy governorships: Steele's heavy bets on off-year elections "paid some dividends," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. The GOP lost all five special House races in 2009, but won two big prizes in the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia. Still, Steele had better hope his coffers benefit from an improving economy and a GOP base betting that a "takeover of at least one chamber is a possibility."
"Steele's spending spree"
The RNC's broke, but the GOP's fine: Wealthy Republican donors are still giving money to the party, says Ralph Hallow in The Washington Times, they're just "shunning" Michael Steele and the RNC in favor of other GOP committees and individual candidates. It doesn't inspire confidence that Steele's personal accounts are filling up — thanks to paid speaking engagements and his book tour — while the RNC's are draining.
"Steele's side pursuits drive away big donors"
Republicans and Democrats should both be worried: Steele's not helping the GOP cause — he told Sean Hannity the party won't, and isn't ready to, retake the House this year, says Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post. But the GOP's main problem is that it's "at war with itself," and that isn't Steele's fault. I'd still rather be the GOP this year, though — "the American people are mad as hell," and look set to give Democrats the "customary party-in-power beat-down."
"Democrats AND Republicans should fear midterm elections"