The Steele Decision

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 13 2010 9:21 AM

The Steele Decision

There is no real pushback from the RNC on this Fox News report claiming that Michael Steele will tell RNC members that he's not seeking a second term. If it pans out, it's been telegraphed for weeks, as the field to replace Steele has expanded and no one -- really, no one -- has rushed forward to defend him. As of Sunday, 26 of the RNC's 168 voting members had backed a candidate other than Steele for chairman. That didn't start to count the potential support for Maria Cino , who had courted establishment support before entering the race officially this weekend. But the best indicator of problems for Steele was the low profile he's kept in December. He has given few interviews. He skipped a FreedomWorks-sponsored candidate forum. He was not out front of bad financial reports -- $15 million of debt -- that had been previewed by RNC treasurer Randy Pullen before the reports were released.

What struck me earlier this month, at the FreedomWorks-Republican Conservative Caucus forum, was how little Steele played in to discussions of the future of the RNC. The man wasn't onstage, but no one criticized him by name, and the knocks on his management of the RNC were very matter-of-fact -- no burrowing into specific scandals. The impression was of a group of people squinting to pretend something wasn't there.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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