Friday, January 8, 2010

“You Shut Up!” “No, YOU Shut Up!”

Here’s the latest on the civil discourse within the GOP:

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.

[…]

A senior RNC press aide admitted the shop had no control over Steele’s interviews as he embarks on a book tour to sell his blueprint for a GOP comeback. Steele has hired a public relations firm, the RNC aide said, and the press shop has no control over when interviews are scheduled.

After an awkward silence, another aide spoke up: “You really need to have him be quiet.” The call ended shortly thereafter.

Earlier this week Mr. Steele told his detractors to STFU:

“I tell them to get a life. That’s old Washington, that’s old ways, and I don’t represent that, and that kills them,” Steele said. “I’m telling them and I’m looking them in the eye and say I’ve had enough of it. 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.”

“All I’m saying is cut it out. If we have party differences that are inside the party, let’s deal with them inside the party. You don’t see the Democrats running around trying to beat up their national chairman or embarrass him,” he added.

I’m reminded of going on a long car trip in the middle of summer in a 1963 Ford Country Squire without air conditioning, three squirming kids in the back seat, and luggage and a car-sick dog in the way-back (before Mitt Romney got his brainwave about how to transport his pets). “You touched me!” “Stop it!” “You stop!” “Mom!”