One Republican Senate aide familiar with Wednesday's conference call said Steele's latest remark couldn't have come at a worse time. "Democrats were having a bad week," the aide said. "They had retirements out of the blue, the poll numbers were in our favor and now all of sudden the news is that Republicans are somehow at fault."
According to multiple sources, Republican congressional aides bristled at Steele's decision to use his book tour to question Republicans' political chances. They pressed RNC staff to keep Steele quiet and cancel any more media appearances. ...
"Their response was, 'We're not booking the book stuff,' " a second GOP Senate aide said. And while RNC staff said they would try to get Steele "back on message," this Senate aide said the frustration goes well beyond Steele's latest statement, charging that he is using his position at the RNC to line his own pockets rather than raise much-needed campaign cash.
"Republicans at all levels have been working day and night to build a wave, and every time we turn around the guy standing on the surfboard is busy trying to collect admission to watch him ride," the aide said, arguing that "he has an agenda of his own that isn't reflected by the goals of the party as a whole."
Apparently some Republicans are also upset Steele has acknowledged the importance of the Tea Party movement in the upcoming elections:
The RNC declined to comment on GOP staffers' comments. In an interview with ABC News radio earlier today, however, Steele told his critics to "get out of the way."
Republicans said there's a growing concern that Steele is catering to conservative activists and others who may not have the party's best interests at heart...
"He's talking like he's some kind of tea partier ... when [in 2006] he was THE most moderate candidate we had in the field. That was his whole thing, and he had no problem trashing [former President George W.] Bush and others for being too conservative," one GOP aide said.
"I'm telling them and I'm looking them in the eye and saying I've had enough of it. If you don't want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way," he said.