After watching Republican National Committee Michael Steele's performance on Good Morning America, it's clear that he hasn't learned his lesson. Of course, Steele believes that, as a black man, he is subject to increased scrutiny inside and outside the party, and the notion that he needs to a learn a lesson is a bit quaint, and quite possibly even racist. It's not. Here's what Steele doesn't seem to understand:
in suggesting that he might conjure up of a bill of rights or promises for Republicans to run on in 2010 (and by saying he'd consult with Newt Gingrich, of all up-and-coming party superstars), Steele is making the same mistake that underlies all of the problems he faces: he wants to represent, or remake, Brand Republican.
Two problems with this: One: he doesn't have the street cred inside or outside the party to do this. Two: it's not his job. It's never been the job of the Republican National Committee chairman. That position is uniquely unsuited to that job, in fact. Really, unless Steele were manifestly more interesting and charismatic than other Republican Party leaders, which he isn't, he has three main roles to play: one: he keeps the machinery going. He's a C.O.O., not a C.E.O. He makes sure the party's voter databases are ready. He tends to the party's internal preparations for 2012. He facilitates coordination between party branches. He makes the resources of the RNC are available as needed to candidates.