To me, the real question is not whether the Republican Party should find itself another chairman but whether the chairman should find himself another party.
I am finding it difficult to discern exactly what wing of his party Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, represents.
In recent weeks, Steele has said that abortion is a matter of "individual choice," that Rush Limbaugh is "incendiary" and "ugly," that homosexuality is not a matter of choice but of nature, that the party needs a "12-step program" and that people "have absolutely no reason none to trust our word or our actions at this point."
There is a name for people who believe these things. They are called "Democrats."
As one would expect, Steele has gotten into terrible trouble with Republicans for saying a lot of this and, according to The Washington Post, he has "called a halt to his television appearances and curtailed national media interviews."
Unfortunately, a major part of Steele's job is being the "voice" of the Republican Party, and it is very hard to be a voice when you are spending a major part of your time shutting up.
Steele is no dope, however. Instead of reaching out to the media, "Steele is stepping up his outreach to the 168 members of the Republican National Committee who elected him," the Post says, "sending them frequent e-mail updates" and even giving them his "personal cell phone number and e-mail address."
Wow. I bet they were impressed. But if Steele is actually going to win elections for Republicans across the nation, he is going to need the support of more than the 168 people on the RNC.
According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, Americans identifying themselves as Democrats outnumber those who say they are Republicans by 10 percentage points, the largest gap in 24 years. In fact, the number of Republicans now is lower than the number of people who identify themselves as independents.
Steele has said he wants to broaden the party and include more African-Americans and Hispanics, but there are two problems with this: What is he really going to say to African-Americans to get them to desert the party of Barack Obama, and what is he really going to tell Hispanics after Republicans have become so closely identified with opposition to immigration?
The second problem is that the Republican Party is shrinking to a hard core, a core that equates Steele's "big-tent outreach" with an abandonment of basic conservative principles.
So Steele has a big job ahead of him, one that is bigger than avoiding the media and telling GQ magazine he doesn't like the heavy dark-wood furniture in his office and so he is "redoing the whole thing. This is gonna sound weird, but it's way too male for me."
Not weird. Just an interesting use of funds when the Republicans need every dollar they can get for winning elections. And the ability to raise funds is going to be the true test of whether Steele goes or stays.
Upon taking office, Steele laid down three markers for his party: winning a special election in New York's 20th District, winning the governorship of Virginia and winning the governorship of New Jersey. And while some in the media are already saying Steele's fate hangs in the balance, I think Steele's future actually rides with the money people of his party and whether Republicans back him with contributions to the RNC or register a protest by keeping their money in their pockets.
Steele is not a bad communicator; it's just that he has been communicating things Republicans don't want to hear.
Greg Mueller, a Republican consultant who specializes in conservative candidates and causes, still thinks there is time for Steele. But only if he changes from attacking Republicans to attacking Democrats.
"Steele needs to be pointing out the extreme radicalism of Obama and how he is in bed with radical abortionists and is using tax dollars to pay for abortions all over the world," Mueller told me. "This is a golden opportunity for Steele. He ought to go on the offense."
Steele has promised to take Republicans out of their "comfort zone." And strategies like Mueller's and those of other conservative Republicans may take Steele out of his comfort zone.
But I have a feeling Steele will bend before his party does.