(Source: NBC’s Meet the Press)
MR. DAVID GREGORY: Our issues this Sunday: warring parties. Democrats and Republicans at odds over the economy, national security, abortion and health care. This morning, whether President Obama’s agenda is the blueprint for lasting Democratic rule or an example of overreach that will allow Republicans to chart the course back to power. With us for their first Sunday morning showdown as party chairs, the Democratic National Committee’s Tim Kaine and the Republican National Committee’s Michael Steele square off on the many issues that divide their two parties.
The Washington Times is reporting this a.m. that a movement is afoot at the Republican National Committee to move much of Chairman Michael Steele’s spending authority to the organization’s treasurer and executive board.
The Times received a copy of an email Steele sent to the usurpers. In part, he writes:
In the e-mail, Mr. Steele said the resolution “amounts to nothing short of a completely unprecedented usurpation of the authority of the RNC chairman, and a transfer of the chairman’s authority to the executive committee and the treasurer. No RNC chairman has ever had to deal with this, and I certainly have no intention of putting up with it either.”
It’s one thing for their to be some public wrangling over the GOP message. The Party just had its ass handed to it six months ago. Things are real bad when the governance structure is under attack and crumbling. How long has Steele been chairman? Is it five or ten minutes?
Another sign of the fall: Republican luminaries Jeb Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney and others are setting up the “National Council for a New America,” in a bid to begin rebranding Republicans.
(Source: CNN)PHILLIPS: Well, you can still feel the shock waves here in Washington. It was our top story today, longtime Republican Senator Arlen Specter turning his back on his Republican Party, a party he had been part of for decades, and going Democrat. Reaction within the Republican Party, our Dana Bash said “shell shocked” was the feeling.
I can imagine what RNC Chair Michael Steele is feeling. He’s joining me by phone in Irving, Texas.
Chairman, let me ask you, are you surprised? Are you shocked?
MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE (via telephone): No, I’m not, to be honest with you. No, I’m not. I had a feeling. I mean, he had very — Senator Specter had very few options at this point. He had stepped on the toes of a lot of Republicans with his vote to on the stimulus bill, which was a core principle for us in terms of our views on economics.
And you know, admittedly, a lot of Republicans weren’t happy about the end of the Bush administration in terms of putting in motion this bailout process. But to have the senator confirm that, really, you know, made it tough. And so, I think he saw that tough primary challenges coming ahead for him. I think he also saw a tough re- election in a general election.
And to me, this was not a question of, oh, gee, all of a sudden I found principles as a Democrat. This is about political survival, and this is about, you know, taking advantage of an opportunity and, you know, moving a little bit closer to where he’s ideologically planted. That’s perfectly fine. But, you know, from our perspective, I think this is less about, you know, some philosophical issue as it is more of a political survivor issue.