Newt Gingrich defends Michael Steele from ‘precious’ and rebellious RNC members

It appears that we have a palace rebellion brewing within the upper reaches of the Republican party And that former House speaker Newt Gingrich is among those trying to tamp it down.

This from today’s Washington Post:

A group of Republican National Committee members is circulating a resolution that would limit how much Chairman Michael S. Steele could spend without authorization from other party leaders, a move some Steele backers say is an attempt to limit the authority of the sometimes controversial chairman.

Steele supporters are privately calling the move, first reported by the Washington Times, a “power grab.”

On C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” this morning, Gingrich said the description was accurate — and defended Steele against what the former Georgia congressman described as a group of “precious,” self-centered elitists.

Here’s the clip:

Asked if the group was attempting to curb Steele’s authority, Gingrich said:

”That’s probably right. I what you have is — Steele is a huge shock because he’s different. He’s not just different because he’s African-American, he’s different because he’s a free spirit. He’s used to saying what he thinks.

“He’s controversial. He has enormous energy, he has great self-confidence. He probably has not yet learned the art of massaging the egos of RNC members.

“One of the reasons, frankly, I would not have dreamed of running for that job is that the Republican National Committee is this tiny group of people — some of whom have been there 20 years and more.

“And they all think they’re precious. And they all think they should be taken care of. And they all think the job of the chairman is first of all to make the RNC members happy.

“So I suspect there’s some real tension. And I think it’ll be interesting to see how it works out.

“I hope Steele continues to evolve and grow and learn. He’s had a challenging couple of opening months, because there’s a huge jump from being an analyst, who only shows up for a couple of minutes, to being a national political figure where the news media is after you every morning, offering to give you a chance to hang yourself.”

Steele, by the by, is still scheduled to address the state GOP convention next month in Savannah.

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9 comments Add your comment


April 30th, 2009
3:46 pm

Jim, I read the following a little while ago

Republicans, Boehner said, had offered alternatives to both the stimulus bill and the budget, saying that the GOP stimulus plan would have created twice as many jobs at half the cost while their budget outline would have cut spending and the national debt.

Jim, if you are in contact with Newt please tell him that there are many of us out here who don’t believe ANYTHING Republicans are saying, especially Boehner. I don’t trust Republicans to tell the truth. I am not naive enough to think that the Dems are any better, but I don’t distrust them like I do Republicans. The Repubs want to get their power back quickly, as it is power they want. I hope they struggle for years to come and learn that you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all the time. I think a complete turnover of the Republican hierarchy needs to occur before a “fresh look” will occur.

Road Scholar

April 30th, 2009
3:58 pm

If the Repubs had such proposals, why didn’t they publicize them? They are acting like spoiled brats! I don’t trust Boehmer; his hair never moves!

The Snark

April 30th, 2009
5:17 pm

“Precious self-centered elitist”? That’s fantastic! Where does Newt get those wonderful phrases?

Here’s one I just made up:

“Newt Gingrich: The Trailer Park Trotsky.”


April 30th, 2009
5:24 pm

I don’t distrust Democrats either.

I’m enjoying reading the proposed legislation on the Internet prior to a vote (just as Obama promised) since transparency is good.

I’m appreciative that the Democrats didn’t pass a budget with earmarks (just as Obama promised).

I like the fact that Obama went through the federal budget “line by line” to remove wasteful spending (just as he promised).

The new bi-partisan approach Obama takes has really inspired me and I’m encouraged that his budget plans were fashioned with broad bi-partisan support.

Obama’s approach to ethics inspires me–especially the part where he has excluded lobbyists from participation in his government.

I’m inspired that Obama’s cabinet choices are ethical, upstanding citizens with a record of integrity, compliance with tax laws, and possessive of impeccable characters.

Yes, when I think about Obama and the Democrats, I get that pandemic tingling sensation up my leg.

Pierce Randall

April 30th, 2009
7:50 pm

Republi-who? I wasn’t aware that these guys had enough people in office to make what they say matter in terms of national politics.


May 1st, 2009
10:31 am

Let’s hope for an interparty battle — to the death!!!


May 1st, 2009
10:31 am

OK, OK, let’s try again …. INTRA-party battle!

sick and tired

May 1st, 2009
4:34 pm

Why do we give Newt a platform from which to speak? It’s his ‘Contract With America’, which ran amok after his party took over the majority in Congress, became drunk with power and started spending like drunken democrats that started this Republican slide toward the mess they now find themselves in. His brand of ‘leadership’ has had its time, and it failed miserably when it could not resist the allure of power and chose spending and bigger government over fiscal responsibility. Believe me, the last thing the Republican party needs is a resurrection of Newt. Instead, we need him and those of his generation to fade away and allow fiscally responsible newcomers to have their turn.


May 3rd, 2009
4:17 pm

AHH! Newt, the “new voice” of the GOP, is the anointed leader of a fledgling, imploding party. In 2004, I was actually considering moving to Canada. Thank God a majority of the nation has realized the dangers of redneck zealots–even if GA is still confused.