One of these things is not like the others…

He’s the recent GOP chairman, so surely he’d have a place at the RNC convention in Tampa.  Look at all the past chairmen who got invites.

There were several major players there: Priebus himself, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ron Johnson, Barbour and nephew Henry Barbour, former Virginia governor and former RNC chair Jim Gilmore, former chair Mike Duncan, and others.

With the presence of Priebus, Barbour, Gilmore, and Duncan, the event featured the current and three former chairmen of the party.  But there was one very recent chairman who was nowhere to be found, and whose name didn’t come up: Michael Steele.

Why is this?  It’s not like he didn’t kick ass in his time as chairman.

Steele was chairman when the party selected Tampa as the site of its 2012 convention.  Steele was chairman when the GOP came roaring back after defeats in 2006 and 2008 to pick up 63 seats to gain control of the House in 2010, and also to gain six seats to greatly strengthen its position in the Senate.  In addition, during Steele’s time in office, Republicans won key governorships in New Jersey and Virginia.

So why was he absent?

Asked about Steele’s absence, an RNC source noted that most past party chairmen are also part of their state’s delegations to the Tampa convention, and are thus automatically part of events here.  “Nobody is ‘invited,’” the source said. “You either are part of a delegation or not.  The people from, say, Wisconsin are delegates and alternate delegates.” At the University Club event, however, there were several people who were not officially part of a delegation but rather guests of those who were.  “Each of those people [delegates and alternates] gets a guest pass, but it would be up to them,” says the source.

So nobody is invited, unless they’re invited by people attending.  Some people got invited.  Some (Steele) didn’t.

This is peculiar since…

Steele is the party’s only black chairman at a time when Republicans are particularly worried about their continuing difficulties in attracting minority voters.

You’d think somebody would’ve invited him for political expedience, if only for the sake of appealing to the African American vote.  Perhaps the difficulty drawing that vote is in the approach.  For instance, I just went to Mitt Romney’s facebook page and ganked the first bunch of photos on it.  Notice something missing (Hint: black people)?

It’s like a Where’s Waldo book without Waldo.

There was actually one photo of a black dude.

I love how it’s just “tax payers” with no qualifiers, suggesting that everybody will feel a relief from the tax strain if Romney gets into the Oval Office.  Of course, if Romney gets in, taxpayers will still get the bill, just not the wealthiest tax payers.  Why go to the blood bank when you can keep trying to get blood from a stone, right?  Romney 2012!  Woooooooooooo!

Maybe Steele just isn’t popular for some other reason, like leaving debt or what not (y’know, all the things those other past chairmen did too, to lesser results than what Steele achieved), but given how fervently the RNC has doubled down on appealing to the nuttiest of the nutty, I suspect Steele wasn’t invited because of the political expedience of catering to the people in these pictures.

  • Kaoru Negisa

    Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of how racist the GOP can be, but it’s equally likely that they didn’t invite him because he’s annoyngly “moderate” on several issues and took a job as an MSNBC consultant. Mind you, he’s not a liberal by any stretch of the imagination, but since the election of Obama combined with the rise of the Tea Party, the GOP has become obsessed with purity and Steele only holds most of their insane ideas.

  • Ace of Sevens

    My guess was that he can’t be trusted to stick to the script, which is also why he’s no longer chairman.

  • Saint Gasoline

    From what I’ve gathered, Steele hasn’t been on the best terms with the GOP for purely political reasons. When he was RNC chairman his big controversy was spending thousands of dollars for the RNC on some bondage strip club (Maddow was fond of reporting this story), and his political positions aren’t always hardline Republican. I don’t think race enters into it that much; he’s just not well-liked among the GOP.

  • loreo

    Reminds me of something Larry Wilmore said on The Daily Show a while back: Romney’s efforts to reach out to African American voters would help shore up Black votes for the GOP much in the same way that “jumping gets you closer to the sun”.

  • Eric126

    The black vote is expendable for the Romney camp. I believe it always has been. This is about turning out the base. Choosing Ryan proved this, and they’re not going to risk breaking stride by including the token black guy.

  • smhll

    Romney’s commercials with lovely panoramas of America and “Americans” are nearly all white. (OK, the few that I saw. Which was not a lot more than one. But still.)

  • baal

    I think Eric126 @ #5 nailed it. Also generally missing is W, the lesser Bush.