In a blow to snide remarkers everywhere, Michael Steele is no longer chairman of the Republican National Committee. He has been replaced by a man named Reince Priebus, who certainly sounds amusing, but seems unlikely to go on television and talk about how he’s so street that sometimes he wears a hat backwards without even thinking about it.* We are not likely to see another Michael Steele. That’s kind of ironic, because there are already two of him. As Ben al-Fowlkes and the Huffington Post recently pointed out to me, the story “Michael Steele loses RNC chairmanship” threatens to be eclipsed, in our minds if not in our lives, by the story “Daily Show retires Michael Steele puppet.” Video after the jump.
Striding boldly forward onto his dick, Michael Steele told the crowd at a Republican fundraiser Tuesday that Afghanistan is a “war of Obama’s choosing.” “If he’s such a student of history,” Steele said, “has he not understood that, you know, that’s the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?” First of all, Steele clearly watched The Princess Bride last week (4:30.) Second, I don’t know if you remember this, but the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, shortly after the September 11th attacks and technically, you know, seven years before President Obama took office. It’s difficult to argue from that chronology that Afghanistan is not a war of George W. Bush’s choosing or, if you have a lot of stickers on your truck, Osama bin Laden’s. It does, however, remain totally easy to say.
Good news, everybody: the GOP isn’t the only national political party taking the money that you thought would help express your political views in Washington and using it to buy caviar strap-ons. Yesterday, the Washington Post revealed that “both the national Democratic and Republican committees spend about two-thirds of the money they take in on the care and comfort of committee staffs and on efforts to raise more funds, with lavish spending on limousines, expensive hotels, meals and tips.” Props to Jacek “Monster In the Closet” Pruski for the link. Those of you who have worked in nonprofits know that the appropriate level of operating costs for a charitable organization is generally agreed to be about 20% of income. During the fundraising cycle that ended in February, the DNC took in about $100 million, and spent $60 million on travel, catering, hotels, entertainment, staff salaries and “office supplies”—a line that, in the RNC’s annual report to the Federal Election Commission, included liquor, jelly beans, and a $900 tab at the Little Door restaurant in Beverly Hills. First of all, if you’ve ever eaten at the Little Door, you know the manilla file folders are incredible. Second of all, the RNC took in $109 million last fundraising cycle, and spent $74 million of it. Where did all that money go?
Since his earliest plans to resituate the Republican Party within “urban-suburban hip hop settings,” Michael Steele has been a gift to commenters. The chairman of the Republican National Committee has proven himself to have a tin ear for what the American people might want to hear, alienating independents and grassroots conservatives alike with a series of public statements that seem, well, stupid. But could Michael Steele be stupid like a fox? His clown reasoning has made him a punchline, but it’s also made him famous. I mean, who was the last Republican National Committee chairman? Can you name any of them? Steele has turned an obscure post as a party apparatchik into a bona fide public presence; he appears on Fox and Friends just as often as he appears on the Daily Show (pretty much a 1:1 ratio, come to think of it) and his book is selling like lukewarm hotcakes. Few would argue that Steele has made himself reckoned in national politics, but at least he’s made himself recognizable. If recent news reports are any indication, he’s also made himself rich.
Now must be a hard time to be an idiot in the American press. You go to all the trouble of writing a book that says the party whose national committee you chair isn’t ready to lead, get yourself on Hannity and make a bunch of invidious comparisons, then wrap up your remarks with an old-timey ethnic slur, only to be bumped from the national snarklight by Sarah Palin. You just can’t compete with that bitch. It seems like every time a prominent political figure does something stupid, Sarah Palin jumps in and yells that FDR faked polio so he could sit down all the time or whatever. Sometimes it feels like the incompetence of major political figures exceeds demand, and guys like Michael Steele—who would be saying crazy shit at Wisconsin Right To Life rallies in any other incompetence economy—are forced to practice their art in obscurity. Poor Michael Steele. When it comes to being a complete jerkoff, he’s Salieri to Palin’s Mozart.