The RNC Food Fight Everyone Saw Coming

Steele played the race card when he ran for chairman, so why wouldn’t he use it during his re-election bid?:

Jonathan Martin wrote months ago that Republican leaders feared that dumping Michael Steele would lead to a racially charged food fight, and, well, here we go, as former Steele aide and current rival Gentry Collins looks to shake up the race and pick up some support with the most direct play yet to to the anti-Steele faction.

First, the Washington Times:

Mr. Steele ended the 40-minute [announcement] call by playing what Mr. Bopp described as the “race card.”

“Who you elect as our next Chairman will speak volumes about our willingness to truly be the party of Lincoln,” Mr. Steele said.

Mr. Bopp took umbrage with the statement.

“It is apparent that when Steele loses, he wants to take down the RNC with him,” Mr. Bopp said. “This is the threat he has made by playing the race card — he will smear the RNC by saying we are all racist by not voting for him.”

Steele, in an (inexplicable) interview on WBAL:

Well, Mr. Bopp is an idiot. If he took that away from, and I don’t want to be crass and I don’t want to throw stones at him, but I just think that’s an idiotic statement to make. I refer to myself as a Lincoln Republican, that’s who I am. I define myself through the party origins, the party that spoke to and about the freedom and emancipation of all people, not just black folks. …

Collins this morning sends around the ThinkProgress link to the WBAL interview (strange bedfellows and all) and adds that, in his estimate, Bopp is not, in fact, an idiot:

Time and time again from this chairman, we see a complete lack of discipline demonstrating an unfitness for leadership of a national political party. Michael Steele simply does not possess the temperament to be an effective chairman of the RNC.

It’s no wonder major donors have been abandoning the RNC in record numbers. When the chairman engages in name-calling of members of his own committee, he diminishes the RNC, the office of chairman and himself. For the good of the committee, he should publicly apologize to Mr. Bopp. I’ve known and worked with Jim Bopp both on the committee and on campaigns — it would be hard to find a more principled leader in our party. Mr. Steele should be thanking him for his service, not slandering him over the public airwaves.

Read more from Ben Smith at Politico

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