Every single day, including Saturdays and Sundays, the phone rings at the Ben Stein household. On the line is a man or woman raising money for the Republicans:
Republicans running for the Senate. Republicans running for the House of Representatives. The California Republican Party. And, above all, the Republican National Committee.
Every single day.
We very often write checks, and we do it because we have a long history with the party.
But we also give because we have a lingering belief (and a hope) that the GOP is the party of small town, all-American virtues and verities.
I suspect millions of others get these fundraising calls from the GOP and write those checks for the same reason.
I'd like to keep sending in that money, but I really can't with the current Chairman of the RNC in office.
Michael Steele - who I am sure is a fine fellow - was the first African-American Lieutenant Governor of my home state, Maryland. In a pitiful gesture of imitation, the RNC chose him to lead the party after the nation went for its first black President.
The gesture made no sense at the time. The best man or woman for the job should have been selected, regardless of race. There was nothing in Mr. Steele's record to indicate he was that person.
Now, it is clear just how ill-advised a choice he was. Stories are pouring out of the RNC to the effect that Mr. Steele is demanding the Committee get him a private jet, which is a heck of a big bite. (I don't have one!) In the meantime, he rents one fairly often.
Mr. Steele is running up fantastic tabs at super-expensive hotels and restaurants, including some near me in Beverly Hills. Just recently it was revealed that the RNC had been billed nearly two thousand bucks for "entertainment" at a West Hollywood strip club called Voyeur. (Hmmmm, that's near me, too.)
The RNC has asked the staffer who signed the expense chit to pay back the money, but the damage has got to be stopped. This lavishness is happening on Mr. Steele's watch, and he ain't watching.
The GOP is not the party of small town virtues and verities if it has multi-thousand-dollar bills for meals and drinks at The Beverly Hills Hotel and the Voyeur Club.
I am sure Mr. Steele is a fine man, and obviously a party guy in many ways. But he is not the man to lead the charge to get a GOP Congress and a GOP president in the next elections.
It is time for Mr. Steele to go.
Good bye, Mr. Steele. You will find everything you want in Baltimore.