In GOP world, there’s a battle underway between RNC Chair Michael Steele and the brain trust on Capitol Hill. Sounds like House and Senate Republican leaders ganged up on Steele last week because he’s doing too much “policy” and that’s their turf:
The congressional leaders were particularly miffed that Steele had in late August unveiled a seniors’ “health care bill of rights” without consulting with them. The statement of health care principles, outlined in a Washington Post op-ed, began with a robust defense of Medicare that puzzled some in a party not known for its attachment to entitlements.
Elected Republicans urged Steele to focus on the governors’ races in New Jersey and Virginia and other political matters, such as fundraising, rather than on attempting to establish party policy.
Steele was taken aback by the comments from Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Senate GOP conference Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Senate GOP policy Chairman John Thune of South Dakota and grew defensive during the 10-minute discussion, according to two people in the room.
The RNC, according to one source, was planning to roll out more policy initiatives.
If you’re Michael Steele, you must be looking around that room thinking, “You’re the clowns that led us to the point where Democrats have the presidency, a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a wide margin in the House.” It sure sounds like this meeting was the culmination of a lot of bad feelings:
Since Steele took over the party earlier this year, congressional leaders and their staff have often cringed at the voluble chairman’s gaffes and rolled their eyes at his unambiguous view that he alone leads the party.
“He’s on a short leash here,” said one top House GOP leadership aide.
At the same time, Steele and his backers can be annoyed at what they see as the know-it-all arrogance and even jealousy of some in their party’s congressional wing.
I’m pulling for the GOP’s congressional wing here. They do have a “know-it-all-arrogance,” which is completely out-of-touch with real Americans.