I will try to keep my snickering to a minimum, but it's going to be hard!
Michael Steele, current Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), is under fire big-time for a series of high profile blunders on his watch including the revelation that the Committee spent almost $2000 at a West Hollywood strip club. Yes, the money was spent officially by the RNC. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.
Now of course, this is extremely embarrasing for the Republican Party. Especially since they pride themselves on being the "party of traditional family values". Well, hanging out at a strip club (and not just any ol' strip club, but one that caters to those who dig watching lesbian bondage) is definitely not on the list of Sunday afternoon, after church outings.
So it should be a "no brainer" that a blunder like this would mean that Steele would be out of a job, like, yesterday. But, oh-oh, turns out it's not that easy.
Picture it, January 2009. After losing two national elections back-to-back, the last of course resulting in the election of the first African-American President, and the loss of both houses of congress, the Republicans were dejected and desperate to find a way back to relevance. The Democrats, with President Obama at the helm, looked like the new, hip kids on the block. Republicans appeared, well, old and "WASPY". So when it was time to elect a new RNC Chairman that January, Republicans wanted to show the country they could be just as cool and hip as the Democrats. After five rounds of voting, it came down to two finalists: Michael Steele, a suave, quick-witted, "in your face" Black man with plenty of swagger and flash, and Katon Dawson, a good ol' boy from South Carolina, who had just recently "discovered" that the country club he belonged to for 12 years was a "whites only" club, and who was staunchly anti-desegration in his younger days. Now, rumor on the floor was that the vote was pretty even for a while, and many really wanted Dawson. They felt that Dawson more closely represented the views of the conservative base. Michael Steele wasn't even pretending to be conservative. But, they knew that Dawson as Chairman would be so not cool.
So they threw caution to the wind, the conservatives sucked it up, they elected the Black Man, and basically said "na na na na na, we got a Black man too!"
Cut to 2010, and the Republican's Black Trophy has made a mess of the place. But what to do, what to do? They can't fire the man now. How cool would that be? Barack Obama is still President. And still Black. What would it look like to get rid of their token now? And so close to the Fall 2010 mid-term elections?
No, Republicans are stuck with this hand. They decided to play this petty game, and they'll have to play it all the way through. In a desperate attempt to "keep up with the Joneses", they've painted themselves into a cruel corner of their own making. The Conservative base feels vindicated, yet they're still stifled and can't get "their" guy in. At the same time, Steele's supporters can only make the argument that yeah, he's made mistakes, but they're stuck and it's nothing they can do about it.