Anyone who has read T.S. Eliot’s short story or, more than likely, saw the recent movie starring Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, knows that both the story and movie tell the odd tale of a man who ages backward. Born an octogenarian, Button ultimately dies after a long life as an infant youth.
One can’t help but wonder if this literary and cinematic analogy might apply to embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. Unlike most political figures, who generally learn quickly from their public blunders, Steele commits further embarrassing gaffes the longer he runs the political arm of the GOP.
The most recent revelations yesterday that Steele has been privately courting foreign diplomats (for reasons apparently completely unrelated to his duties as RNC chair) only augment the list of bizarre activity he has overseen since taking the helm of the GOP. The infamous bondage club donor trip, Steele’s refusal to halt speaking engagements and book tours, the RNC’s less than stellar fundraising numbers, and former Senator Norm Coleman’s recent not so subtle hint that he may take on Steele in 2012 for the chairmanship all point toward rough sailing for the former Maryland Lieutenant Governor.
I don’t know Steele, but I’ve met him a couple times. He seems affable and genuinely likeable, which makes it all the more confusing why he continues to commit errors even Joe Biden can envy.
With a resurgent Republican party poised to take back the House in 2010, the Senate and (dare we say) perhaps the White House in 2012, the stakes are too high to continue this buffoonery. The RNC either needs to right the ship quickly, or find a new skipper.
Preferably one who doesn’t age backward.
Cameron Lynch is a former aide to three Republican Senators and president of The Lynch Group, LLC, a Republican government affairs and political consulting firm.