For me, one of contemporary politics' few enjoyable pastimes is that of watching former RNC chairman Michael Steele proudly peddle himself as a through-'n-through Establishment Guy--a Prospero-like shazam that comes complete (most often on Chris Matthews' "Hardball") with Steele's worldly tsk-tsking of the incorrigible, establishment-wrecking tea party types.
Three years ago, however, as chairman, Steele vigorously embraced those tea partiers, for they, as his then-visionary mind foresaw matters, were the GOP's future. For instance, as a TPM story from 2010 reported, Steele in that year sent a memo to his committee members "in which he highlighted his efforts to reach out to the tea party and drive turnout by reaching out to the Republican grassroots. And he took a less-than-subtle shot at establishment types who kept the fired-up conservative activists in the tea party at arms length for most of the cycle."
But that was then, before the tea partiers thoroughly humiliated the establishment and brought the Grand Old Party to a historic low point. Now, Steele is almost disdainful of them, as though he and he alone had been warning his party of their creeping influence and power, all along. This quote, in Politico, is representative of Steele's self-denial: "This process is one that has been unfolding for a while, so the idea that you are now going to wrestle control back from the people who vote, good luck with that.”
Perhaps this bit of history will someday find its way to Chris Matthews' eyes; and then, just maybe, Matthews will start calling out Steele on his unbroken-Establishment con. It's true that such an intervention would rob me of no little enjoyment--my pornographic love of naked political guile compels my fascination with watching Steele so completely turn his own recent history on its head--but Steele's angle, it seems, is that he wants back into elected office. And frankly, he's flakier than even the tea partiers.