Quiet bickering between Michael Steele and some of his Republican colleagues is rapidly turning into open warfare. Following several gaffes in a media blitz for the Steele's new book, The Washington Post reported that "senior aides to top Republican leaders confronted Steele's staff on a conference call Wednesday," asking them to rein in the renegade RNC chairman.
Yet Steele will not be silenced. Telling his critics, in an ABC interview to "get a life," he explains to the interviewer that "there are some within the party who're still mad that I'm chairman. There are some outside the party that are so trapper in washington they couldn't see beyond their nose." Not content to stop there, he adds, "if you don't want me in the job, fire me, but until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way." He vigorously defends his handling of Republican strategy, which includes wins in New Jersey and Virginia by "tak[ing] conservative principles to the people."
The slapdown hasn't played so well in the conservative blogosphere:
- 'Shut Up?' "Maybe Steele hasn't noticed," begins Hot Air's Ed Morrissey, "but America is a place where we hold our leaders accountable, or at least attempt to do so. While the GOP should be focusing on holding Democrats accountable, Steele argues that we treat him like a dictator, given the keys to Rome for a year in order to rout the barbarians."
- Time Out "Chairman Steele needs to have a long talk with Pundit Steele," writes Daniel Webster, online pseudonym for a Republican attorney. "The RNC chairman needs to spend more time raising money and supporting the party--both its conservative and centrist wings--and less time running his mouth and alienating entire GOP blocs."
- More Evidence "In my book," consersvative Sister Toldjah chimes in, "Steele has been bad news almost since day one of his GOP chairmanship – and I say that as someone who was a big fan of his up until close to a year ago."