Fallout From Steele’s Book: The GOP Didn’t Know About It

January 8, 2010 8:33 am

RNC chairman Michael Steele’s new book, Right Now: A 12-Step Program For Defeating The Obama Agenda, has a lot of Republicans angry, the Washington Post reports — because nobody knew it was coming out until it hit the shelves this week.

“The book came out and everybody went, ‘Whoa, what happened?'” said an aide to a senior House Republican, who said his boss learned about the book on cable news. “No one in the House or Senate leadership knew he had a book contract.”

As Greg Sargent reported yesterday, a serious question exists as to whether Steele might be using his position as RNC to financially benefit himself through book sales: “So if Steele is profiting while the party is losing donors, that will only give Steele’s critics more to be irked about at a moment when they’re already plenty upset with him.”One positive review of Right Now has come from former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who wrote a glowing foreword to the book. And Gingrich’s praise of the book itself shows why a lot of other Republicans wouldn’t like it: “He’s different, he’s gutsy, his book is tough, his book is honest. His book’s going to make a number of Republicans mad, because it says we deserved to lose in ’06 and ’08, and we better learn some lessons from it.”

Steele also committed another gaffe this week, as Think Progress discovered, when he appeared on Dennis Miller’s radio show and appeared to deny that he’d ever sought the RNC’s top spot at all: “I feel this is part of a calling for me. I mean, I didn’t ask for, I didn’t seek this job, I didn’t ask for it. It wasn’t part of my, you know, charted course in life to wind up as chairman of the RNC. You know, there was a convergence of moments here.”

Of course, Steele ran for party chairman a year ago, and won a multi-ballot election at the RNC’s meeting in Washington.

Late Update Greg Sargent also had this story on his blog before the WaPo proper. “His book claims that Republicans are going to be running on these principles in 2010,” said a senior House GOP aide. “That was news to the Republican conference. If he’s going to lay out party principles you’d think he’d be consulting with others in the party.”

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