Politico said he wasn’t, now Fox News (and Frum Forum) say he is. To help you process this news, read Ed’s post from this morning about Obama potentially spending a cool billion on the 2012 campaign and then have a look at Jay Cost’s graph of Republican fundraising over the last four cycles. Said Cost, believing that Steele was set to bow out, “In the end, this is what did Michael Steele in. He could not raise the money, and that just will not do moving forward.”
Or will it?
Ending weeks of rumors that he would not seek a second term, Steele plans to throw his hat into the ring during a conference call with RNC members at 7:30 p.m. ET, the sources said. Steele is said to be amused by false reports of his retirement and intentionally kept his plans secret for the last month in order to flush out competitors for the post, Fox has learned.
During Steele’s tenure, Republicans picked up 63 House seats in last month’s elections, the biggest gain in more than seven decades. But Steele has been dogged by criticism from some Republicans who see him as prone to missteps.
Criticism of Steele has helped lead to a crowded field of challengers seeking to head the RNC. Among those who have officially announced they are in the race are Saul Anuzis, a committee member from Michigan who ran and lost to Steele in 2009, and Reince Priebus of Wisconsin, a former member of Steele’s inner circle, along with former Luxembourg Ambassador Anne Wagner.
So that explains why he didn’t show up at the RNC chair debate: He was lying low, cagily making it look like he wouldn’t run again so that, er … more contenders would jump into the race. Frum Forum’s whip count puts him at around 45-60 votes in the first round of balloting, with 85 needed to win; several of his former aides and allies (Reince Priebus, Gentry Collins, etc) are in the race as challengers, so a key question will be what happens to their supporters if/when they’re eliminated in the first few rounds. Are those supporters so disgruntled with Steele that they’ll gravitate to a consensus alternative, like Saul Anuzis? Or are they actually clubby RNC insiders who prefer Priebus and Collins to Steele but will resort to the chairman as a next best option if their preference is eliminated? Or will some outsider with fundraising appeal, like Norm Coleman, sweep in to provide yet another alternative?
There are only two reasons to conceivably back Steele, as I see it. One: The GOP did, after all, win 63 seats on his watch, and he’s been lying low enough over the last few months that at least it looks like the gaffe-o-rama phase of his chairmanship is finally over. All of which is well and good, but in that case I urge you to follow the link up top and eyeball Cost’s graph again. The question isn’t whether the GOP did well this year, it’s whether it could have done better if the RNC had been flush with cash. Gentry Collins argued that poor fundraising might have cost Republicans an extra two dozen House seats, but given that he’s now challenging Steele for the chairman’s position, take that estimate for what it’s worth. Two: If you believe that, in an age of online donations and targeted giving to campaigns, the RNC will never again be relevant the way it once was, then maybe it’s better to keep Steele in place. It’ll avoid a nasty public squabble between pro-Steele factions, led by Palin, and anti-Steele factions like the “Bush establishment,” and it’ll spare us the spectacle of Steele doing interviews to dump on the GOP after he loses. Plus, if Steele’s reelected, Republican outside groups are bound to start planning way ahead to pick up the slack in case the RNC can’t get its act together to fulfill its traditional fundraising and GOTV roles. No one cares about the RNC as an organization, only that its functions are being done and done well by some conservative outfit. If Steele’s reelected, it means that some other outfit or outfits will be pressured to step up. Inconvenient, but not fatal. I think.
Big Sis Has Our Back
From Planet Moron
Stop, Or I’ll Obtain Stakeholder Advice!
It can be difficult for those charged with keeping us safe to prioritize the threats that face us, what with North Korea threatening war, the ongoing border war with drug cartels to our south, and a threat level that can never seem to get below Elevated.
But Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has a keen sense of what is important and so cleared her calendar to attend a forum yesterday that identified something our national security apparatus has been sorely lacking:
What is environmental justice, you ask?
Environmental justice is like regular justice except that you’re already guilty.
The problem of environmental justice arises when people who earn more money are allowed to live in nicer places than people who earn less.
And it’s probably only going to get worse.
Some examples of our shortfalls in environmental justice include the fact that the air in major cities tends not to be as good as the air in the country. This is clearly unfair to the lower income people who live there, as they deserve all the benefits of living in the country, without having to actually make any of the sacrifices of moving there.
They will take checks, however.
Also, many poorer people hired as farm workers to pick fruit and vegetables are exposed to higher levels of pesticides than people who don’t pick fruit and vegetables for a living.
We are shocked to learn that different jobs entail different kinds of risks and demand that a stop be put to it. And that our taxes go up.
But it’s not just that some places aren’t as good as others or that life involves an infinite series of tradeoffs that are the problems. As Napolitano (who we should probably remind you is in charge of our nation’s security) points out economic justice demands that we address global warming as well:
“Changes in climate really translate into huge environmental changes that have impacts on communities and also on national security, because they raise not only the issues of making sure that we are taking into account and caring for the most at-risk populations, but that we are also looking at and planning for the potentiality of mass migrations, demographic changes, patterns, concentrations of economic assets, population growth in different areas, deteriorating infrastructure. All of this gets knit together under this umbrella of climate change and environmental adaptation.”
We don’t know about you, but we’ll sleep better at night knowing that the Secretary of Homeland Security is all over the potentiality of concentrations of assets. (Although it’s not entirely clear if anyone has told her where all the economic assets are currently concentrated, because we’d be really interested in seeing her plan for fixing to that.)
Read the rest here.
Obama sure knows how to pick ‘em.
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Salvatore A. Giunta, the first living person to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, is this year's Times Square ball drop guest of honor. Surge Desk offers 5 facts about the famous New York tradition.
Peter Phillips' wife Autumn gave birth to a baby girl Wednesday.
Geraldine Hoff Doyle, the woman whose face inspired the famous.
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