Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is once again engaging in troubling activities. Now, he is active seeking private meetings with foreign ambassadors to the United States, a group of people who can either vote nor contribute to election funds, just as the Party desperately needs to raise money for midterm elections in November. Jonathan Martin and Josh Gerstein report on Politico:
The Republican National Committee is trying to set up meetings between Chairman Michael Steele and foreign ambassadors to the United States, according to an email obtained by POLITICO - an effort that has puzzled diplomats as well as fellow Republicans.
An RNC intern sent a message late last month to at least one ambassador on behalf of Neil Alpert, a senior finance aide, with little explanation.
"As you know, the November election is just 103 days away and the Chairman would like to extend to you an invitation to sit down either at the RNC or at your embassy to discuss the upcoming 2010 midterm elections," wrote Christopher Kelleher, a finance department intern. "With literally hundreds of congressional seats up for grabs in just under four months, Chairman Steel [sic] would love to have the opportunity to discuss the Party's outlook with you."
This is a wrongheaded effort on multiple counts. First, it does nothing to advance the Party's electoral success, wasting scarce time and other resources. Second, it raises a question about possible criticism from Democrats about acting against the interests of America, conspiring with foreign governments. This sort of demagoguery is certainly far from unimaginable at the hands of shameless Democrats. The DNC Chairman has made no such effort for outreach to foreign govbernments. It also suggests that the RNC Chairman is looking ahead to a time when he no longer occupies his critical political post. In the past, Steele has devoted much professional effort to cultivating relationships with foreign entities. Politico notes:
Steele has been a disaster.
Steele has long sought to cultivate foreign officials. As Maryland's lieutenant governor he spent more than $60,000 of state money for at least seven trips overseas, heading to such places as France, Austria, South Africa and Israel for what his staff at the time said were trade missions.
After he left office in 2007, Steele was hired onto a global law firm, then called LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, in part because of the relationships he had developed abroad.
"Based in the firm's Washington, D.C. office, he will focus on corporate securities, government relations and international affairs with an emphasis on Africa," the firm announced when Steele joined, noting that as lieutenant governor he had been "deeply engaged in the state's business and economic development activities, forging key international relationships to expand Maryland's global economic interests."