Are the GOP aides who are angry at Steele the same as the GOP insiders who have “soured” on Palin?

Are the GOP aides who are angry at Steele the same as the GOP insiders who have “soured” on Palin?

I’m struck by the dichotomous reaction to these two stories.

First: GOP Insiders Sour On Palin

A poll of GOP insiders suggests that ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has little support among the party’s professional class — and maybe that’s just how she wants it.

General reaction: Yeah? So? Good! Who cares what GOP insiders think?

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Second: GOP Furious At Steele; RNC Admits Little Control

House and Senate leadership aides are furious with RNC chair Michael Steele and have angrily confronted the RNC’s press shop over their inability to keep the chair on message.

In the course of a regular daily conference call between senior Congressional communicators, House and Senate aides berated RNC staffers over Steele’s comments that the GOP would not be able to take back the House, and that even if they did, the party would not be prepared to lead.

A senior Senate aide brought up Steele’s comments, arguing that he was ruining what should be several days of glowing press for the GOP in the wake of retirement announcements from Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Chris Dodd (D-CT).

“Steele is setting us far back with his comments and it needs to stop,” the aide said, according to 2 sources who were on the call.

RNC research director Jeff Berkowitz called the Senate aide out of line, but the Senate aide called Steele a “fool,” sources said.

General reaction: geez, Steele is a loose cannon who should sit down and shut up.

I should note: I can’t really quantify reaction to the Steele story among Republicans and conservatives — there doesn’t seem to be all that much reaction. And maybe that’s the point: bloggers and other conservatives all rallied to Palin’s defense. Reaction to the Steele story has been quieter.

I should also note: Steele may well be acting inappropriately, given his position. An RNC Chairman is supposed to stay on message; raise money; provide organization and help Republican candidates win. At the very least, an RNC Chairman has to not be a negative.

Steele’s style is — or appears to be — less disciplined than one might want.

But: following the Great Republican Massacre of 2008, the last thing conservatives and the Republican grassroots wanted was another cookie-cutter, career politician chairman who got the job mostly because he belongs to all the same clubs as the Party’s more influential players.

We wanted somebody different. We wanted somebody new. Somebody who didn’t bring himself up through the ranks by virtue of a full Rolodex.

And we got him.

Let’s acknowledge, though, that Steele’s public utterances should always support the conservative cause, be helpful to Republican candidates, and/or stop just short of the legal definition of slander while targeting Democrats and/or liberal “progressive” candidates and activists. Sarah Palin gets her name in the news by being controversial, sure, but always because she says something pro-conservative, anti-liberal. Steele hasn’t followed that principle.

Still. If Congressional insiders don’t like Steele, maybe they ought to be asking themselves why Steele got the votes in the first place. Maybe they should ask themselves that while standing in front of a mirror.

One last note: I am not — repeat, not — coming to Steele’s defense solely because of this picture…

Steele and Walker

…which I had taken at the 2008 Republican National Convention, and which I intend to get autographed and hung on my wall. That’s just a little side bonus.

Oh, and in case you don’t recognize him, that’s Scott Walker in the picture with us, who I fully expect will be the Governor-elect of Wisconsin by this time next year. And, yes, I mean to get his autograph on here, too.

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