As RNC Chief of Staff Resigns, New Low for Michael Steele?

Ken McKay leaves the sinking Republican National Committee ship

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Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele's tough couple of weeks just got tougher. RNC Chief of Staff Ken McKay has resigned in the wake of the RNC bondage strip-club scandal. What does this latest turn mean for Steele and for the RNC?

  • Steele Ousts McKay  HotLine's Reid Wilson reports, "McKay fired the staffer who made the expense. Still, RNC chair Michael Steele, who has faced a week of criticism for the incident, felt more had to be done."
  • Bloodbath at RNC  Politico's Jonathan Martin sees "an indication that a full-scale bloodletting is under way at the troubled committee." McKay's "apparent firing has roiled the close-knit world of GOP operatives and Monday night longtime Republican strategist and Steele adviser Curt Anderson said his consulting firm would no longer be working with the RNC."
  • Distancing Steele from Scandals  The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza says it's about protecting Steele. "RNC officials worked to distance Chairman Michael Steele from the controversy -- insisting that not only was he not in attendance but that he had no knowledge of the reimbursement -- and promised changes in the way that people were reimbursed by the committee. McKay's resignation appears to be the leading edge of those moves, and an attempt by Steele and the broader RNC to show donors worried about the stability of the committee that changes ares being made."
  • RNC Competitor on the Rise  Politico's Ben Smith notes that "Ed Gillespie's new operation, American Crossroads, says it aims to raise $50 million, setting it up as a direct competitor to the embattled Republican National Committee." This new "shadow RNC" may actually "take some pressure off Steele in a certain way, offering donors an outlet other than simply agitating for his unlikely ouster." Still, it's fund-raising threatens to reduce the RNC's role.
  • Steele's Real 'Constituency'  Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey suggests, "The only constituency Steele has to satisfy is the RNC’s big donors, like Fox. If they’re retreating, Steele may be in big trouble."
  • Why He Hasn't Been Fired  Gawker's Glen Runciter scoffs, "How does the RNC chair still have a job? Michael Steele is terrible at his job, unless his job is to be incoherent and awkward." Ultimately, Runciter concludes that replacing Steele would just be too complicated and difficult to be worth ousting him--yet.
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