Politico has announced that Michael Steel, John Boehner’s press secretary, is taking his conservative voter marginalization talents to South Beach:
Michael Steel, one of Speaker John Boehner’s top aides, is moving to Miami to work in a “leadership role” for Jeb Bush’s political action committee.
Steel has worked as the press secretary for Boehner since 2008, when the Ohio Republican was the minority leader of a battered Republican party in the House. He has guided Boehner’s communications operation for seven years, helping craft the strategy that made the Ohio Republican speaker, and subsequently playing a key role advising him in day-to-day governing, including high-stakes negotiations with President Barack Obama.
Steel will be an adviser to Bush’s Right to Rise Policy Solutions PAC, “with a leadership role in policy and communications,” according to a source familiar with the role. Right to Rise is the precursor to Bush’s all-but-certain presidential campaign.
If you needed a sign that the fix is in, that the party really has the House of Cards mentality required to push a third Bush, I’m not sure what else is required beyond Jeb taking on Boehner’s key staff.
If you still held out hope that GOP leadership sees 2016 as a chance to fight the existential threats created by Obama and not as a chance to consolidate the power of a couple dozen blue bloods … well, meet Michael Steel. This is the man who, as Breitbart’s Matt Boyle tweets, “helped Romney/Ryan lose to Obama, and helped Boehner lie for years.”
The much-discussed GOP rift is nothing more profound than this: a minority class of royalty has the reins; the GOP voters and the many principled representatives and senators tiptoe around them. The non-sinecure wing of the party racks up electoral win after win, from Congress down to local municipalities, whereas the GOP royalty racks up legislative loss after loss.
Last November, the country class turned the House map all red except for a few blue pixels, but you can’t even see those on a standard-def monitor:
The Democratic Party: “Still Visible at 1920 x 1080“
That’s the good news, but you’d be mistaken to take any of that as a sign that the party’s national leadership — meaning no more than a handful of congressmen and a handful of “strategists” who wield an absurd amount of power yet aren’t known outside of greater D.C. — was the driver behind that victory. Voters drove that victory, not them. Party leadership simply rode it. And now, they do not have the principles, vision, or talent to make good on any of the citizen demands they’ve been blessed with the honor and duty of carrying out.
And it’s not them, it’s us. Shame on us for thinking a historic midterm landslide — two of them! — was enough legislative power that even the GOP establishment would be able to follow through on your demands, much less understand them:
“Get a border fence built while Dems control Southeastern Iowa? I’M NOT FRIGGIN’ BATMAN.”
The folks now running the GOP will never, never, never get the job done for the voters. Whether you are a moderate or conservative, they will never claim a victory for you. Let’s stop pretending the GOP’s leadership problem, the party’s D.C. vs. country-class rift, is solvable. It isn’t.
Perhaps it would be solvable if the rift was simply ideological. Conservative vs. moderate is about political ideas, but this rift doesn’t have a damn thing to do with ideas. The party will never stop failing legislatively because the rift is fundamentally about power and the establishment’s unbreakable desire to retain it. That’s why we use the term “establishment”: it’s about power for them. We knew that before the election, we hoped for a different result, and now we’re just four months older and crankier. I’m heartened that the GOP field for president contains more than one name with a track record of facing down the GOP’s leadership/strategist class, but let’s stop pretending that any of the GOP presidential nominees — save one — has any hope of being the party’s guiding voice.
Take the Michael Steel hiring to mean this: if anyone but Jeb wins, he or she will spend the term being hamstrung by the GOP, not aided by it.
The most confounding part of this leader-follower dynamic is that the GOP establishment has managed to keep the majority of the party completely out of the board room, despite being the least intimidating political cabal since the Muppets went to Washington. Who on planet Earth — seriously, the whole thing — is intimidated by the “GOP Establishment” besides most other elected members of the GOP? The strategists and fundraisers behind Boehner, McConnell, and the others you know I’m referring to aren’t the icy, psychopathic manipulators of a Bond movie. They aren’t Putin. These guys are a bunch of lawyers, hangers-on, doughy guys who hit the elliptical twice a week.
And yet all of us, from the unengaged Republican citizen to us political careerists, act like there’s nothing we can do. We act like in the great historical record of American history, these guys matter, because they possess power. All of us have been dead wrong about where the power lies, and always will lie, in a party that runs on the voter’s belief in the rights of the individual. They don’t just need you more than you need them — their livelihoods don’t even exist without your consent. But we consented.
Want actual Republican advancements? Stop worrying about the Democrats until your own party leadership is exposed.
Peel back the curtain on the lamest show in town. Honestly, it’s about a dozen congressmen and a dozen strategists preventing that wonderful vibrant movement of principled voters that have better things to do with their lives than chase donors and committee spots. They aren’t faceless teflon billionaires, they’re sitting ducks to an inquisitive GOP electorate.