It was another fun day of intrigue on the campaign trail for the Republican National Committee chairmanship. A meeting of the RNC to hear candidates for the job debate turned into a private closed event because a quorum failed to show up.
But this probably happened because yesterday a meeting of a right-wing faction of the RNC, the Conservative Steering Committee, canceled a planned straw poll ranking the candidates for their fidelity to conservative litmus tests. According to the Washington Times (which should know), that happened because backers of Ken Blackwell (running as the To-the-Right-of-Jimmy-Dean-Sausage candidate) and Michael Steele (trying to avoid any setbacks) combined to kill the straw poll out of fear that incumbent chairman Mike Duncan would win it. Since the full RNC meeting today was intended to counteract the CSC straw poll, a lot of members probably saw no reason to show for a third consecutive day of candidate debates/inquisitions.
Busy, busy, busy. The main impact of this week’s extravaganza was to drive all the candidates to new heights of excess in foreswearing any intention of tolerating godless moderation in the GOP. And with no clear front-runner, they’ll have a couple more weeks to outdo each other and themselves even more.
NOTE TO READERS: TDS will return to a more intensive focus on developments within our own party tomorrow, after President-elect Obama’s long-awaited speech outlining his economic stimulus package. While awaiting it, though, conservative hijinks were just too tempting a target.
UDATE (the last, I promise!): One of the issues about Monday’s RNC candidate debate that went largely unnoticed was that a Republican Party supposedly determined to turn the page on the Bush-Delay Era allowed the very symbol of some of the worst aspects of that era, Grover Norquist, to call and moderate the debate. Ah, but I missed one dissent: from the conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, who did a post entitled “The GOP’s Grover Norquist Problem and the RNC Debate.” Could it be that Malkin would note the irony of the very father of the K Street Strategy, and the principal enthusiast for the deficit-celebrating Starve the Beast fiscal philosophy, presiding over deliberations of this supposedly cleancut, corporate-bailout-opposing, and fiscally righteous party?
Nope. Malkin’s complaints was this:
Some of us have not forgotten how Norquist made common cause with the left-wing zealots at People for the American Way in a forum bashing the Patriot Act — and how he forged even more dangerous alliances in the name of Muslim GOP outreach.
In the current atmosphere, Grover Norquist’s sin is that he’s not conservative enough. Gaze in awe.