Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has survived plenty of controversy, but new allegations of spending abuses may be the most damaging yet. Conservative site The Daily Caller, founded by pundit Tucker Carlson, alleged Steele considered buying a plane with GOP funds, and approved a California trip that included a $2,000 visit to a bondage-themed strip club on the GOP tab. The RNC strenuously denied Steele had any part in the strip-club outing, for which a staffer has been fired, though his spokesperson did not deny discussions regarding a plane. After a series of missteps, could this spending furor cost Steele his job?
Enough is enough—Steele has to go: If the RNC wants to continue soliciting money from donors, says Douglas MacKinnon, a former press secretary to Bob Dole quoted in the Huffington Post, it has to get rid of its "spoiled, egocentric, out-of-touch chairman." Donors want their "hard-earned money" spent "as advertised," not on "frivolous luxuries." For the sake of the American people, "Michael Steele needs to resign."
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Steele isn't going anywhere: "Not even Steele's most bitter enemies" think he'll be forced out by this, says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. RNC rules say two-thirds of the committee would have to vote him out, and that isn't going to happen. And it's "not likely" he'll resign. The story's main impact is that it gives Democrats something to smear the GOP with ahead of the midterm elections.
Steele is not the enemy right now: I'm no fan of Michael Steele, says blogger Dan Riehl in Riehl World View. But surely even his critics can understand that having a "circular firing squad" now, just "six months out from a pivotal election" is a bad idea, as it would hand Democrats the election on a plate. And, by the way, "if you think the next crop of GOP insiders waiting in the wings to step up are much different, you're kidding yourself."
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.