This is potentially devastating. There are too many out-of-work Republican operatives for the RNC chief to be awarding six-figure salaries under circumstances that invite accusations of favoritism. I've been a Michael Steele fan for years, but he must keep in mind those 77 votes for Katon Dawson on the sixth ballot.It's already a Memeorandum thread, and we can expect some pretty acrimonious reaction from Steele's Republican critics.
As with so many previous problems afflicting the GOP, take note that this is not about ideology, it's about the "jobs for the boys" mentality of Beltway operatives. You've got no idea how many ex-RNC employees and unemployed former Bush administration staffers one meets at D.C. cocktail parties nowadays. This Hallow story will not ease their pain, and Steele could be destroyed by a toxic sea of grassroots discontent fed by Republican political professionals.
UPDATE: Marc Ambinder is dismissive of Hallow's scoop, but talks of Steele's opposition inside RNC:
A good number of long-time members can't accept the fact that Steele controls the party. They don't like the people he's put in place, but they can't find any egregious internal missteps, aside from perhaps the faux pas of paying some of his aides a generous salary. Steele has opened up many RNC contracts to competitive bidding, even though he has been criticized for smaller financial decisions. (Emphasis added.)I'm sorry, but paying $180,000 to an "outreach director" is a bit more than a faux pas, especially with so many GOP operatives out of work. My friend Tara Setmayer is communication director for Dana Rohrabacher for about $90,000 a year. Wanna bet Tara would have taken that "outreach director" job for $100,000?
UPDATE II: Saul Anuzis is live-Twittering Steele's lunchtime "future of the GOP" speech, Yet Another Invitation I Didn't Get. Longtime readers will note the pattern: The more important the event, the more likely it is to be Yet Another Invitation I Didn't Get.
Occasionally I do cover important events, not because I'm invited, but because somebody accidentally lets me find out about it so that I can B.S. my way past security. B.S.ing past security is a vital skill for The Least Important Journalist in Washington.