Why was there a concerted effort to replace Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee from the moment he was elected same? The answer is because he both literally and figuratively upset Karl Rove. In the mind of Rove and those he bows before, Steele had been good enough to run for Congress – because congressmen can be controlled – but as a party chairman who does the controlling, he could upset their machinations. That said, Rove and company weren’t about to stand by and risk anyone tampering with the plans for their kingdom.
“Steele’s … win did shock the old bulls of the Republican establishment. Unlike most if not all of his predecessors at the RNC, Steele’s war counsel [hadn’t been] stacked with the old guard. … Rove’s handpicked incumbent Mike Duncan and South Carolina Chair Katon Dawson were [viewed as] more conventional men, more comfortable to the lobby-law wing of the GOP hierarchy.” (“Plan of Steele,” Brad Todd, Campaigns and Elections)
Rove is essentially the visible front of those who actually rule, even though he is often referenced as the political equivalent of Bobby Fisher. The dirty secret rank-and-file party members don’t understand is that Rove, the Bush family and the Republican hierarchy aren’t interested in you and me; they are interested in control, money and legacy – all of which means power.
The sabotage of Steele’s tenure as chairman began for all intents and purposes the moment he won. Immediately upon becoming chairman, Michael unceremoniously dismissed the old bulls – which irritated and further threatened the true party hierarchy. There was no plausible reason to replace him as RNC chairman – none, zip, nada. His alleged gaffes were neither spectacular nor damaging to the party. The focused carping about them was intended to diminish him. Why weren’t gaffes and debt sufficient to demand both President Bush and Dan Quayle step down when they were in office?
The talking points against Steele included repeated mention of the RNC being $20 million in debt and that fundraising was down – both complaints were offered without explanation. While he is assailed for RNC debt, it’s not mentioned that, as incoming chairman, one of his first official acts was to help the NRCC pay off millions in debt from the losing 2008 campaign.
Under Michael’s lead, the Republican Party accomplished the greatest congressional upheaval and gains since 1948 – and he did it with less money, less cooperation and infinitely more criticism and second-guessing. It’s true that fundraising and donations were down, but here again, the reasons for that have, in large part, Karl Rove’s face beside them.
Money that would have gone to the RNC was instead going to 527s Rove was affiliated with – not least of which was American Crossroads, appropriately referenced as the shadow RNC. Monies that would have gone to the RNC went instead to Rove-affiliated 527s because Michael refused to let the old bulls continue to play kitty in the RNC litter box – as they had for longer than many could remember.
He should have been celebrated for his accomplishments. Instead, the in-house political machine was intent on bringing him down.
Former Chairman Steele is being intentionally vilified by many of the very same people (including Rove and the Bush family) for the same reasons they vilify Sarah Palin. And what do Michael and Sarah have in common? They both upset good-old-boy politics, neither is willing to kiss the ruler’s ring, and both enjoy more trust with the rank and file than the elites do.
It is my personal conviction, knowing what I know, that RNC support for tea-party candidates would not have been there to the extent it was if Steele hadn’t been chairman.
Which brings me to my final point. With Reince Priebus as chairman, tea-party people need be on guard. Tea parties are being blamed for the Republican Party not winning the majority in the Senate, which is Rove and company’s way of telling us to just give them our money next time and vote how they tell us.
The Republican hierarchy doesn’t care about us. They care about majority rule for their own benefit. And that’s what their political maneuvering is about. That said, Rove can ill-afford to have Michael Steele, Sarah Palin or the tea-party people upset their plans for the 2012 elections or the 2016 presidential elections which include the Bush family plans to further their dynastic desires.