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By Jay Cost

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The Michael Steele Vanity Project

As I have written time and again, I think Republicans should be concerned that Michael Steele is working to transform the Republican National Committee from a behind-the-scenes fundraising/campaigning powerhouse into a platform for his own political career. I have written about this at length, and now Politico adds a new wrinkle:

Trevor Francis, communications director of the Republican National Committee, abruptly resigned Monday, and two Republican strategists familiar with the situation said he was pushed out because Chairman Michael Steele didn't feel he was getting enough credit for the GOP's electoral success earlier this month...

A former official at public relations giant Burson-Marsteller, Francis was tasked with trying to keep the voluble Steele on message and explaining away the instances when he strayed.

While still occasionally committing gaffes, Steele has become more disciplined in his frequent TV appearances.

But after Republicans won the closely watched gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey this month, Steele expressed frustration that he wasn't receiving accolades for the party's success, said the two Republicans, both of whom conveyed frustration with the chairman's leadership style.

OK. Reality check. Chairman Steele deserves very little credit for the Republican resurgence this year. He may have contributed the cash, but this cash came in just as cash always comes into the RNC, and any chairman in his right mind would have contributed to promising campaigns. Come on.

As I have written many times, this is the "candidate centered" age of elections. It's not the "What Up! Everybody look at me, I'm Michael Steele!" age of elections.

If Trevor Francis lost his job because Michael Steele is confused on this matter...oh dear.

Memo to Republican pooh-bahs: This fellow is a problem, an unnecessary problem in a midterm cycle in which you hope to take a giant step toward a full comeback. The requirements for the RNC chairman are pretty straightforward: raise the cash, spout the party line on cue, don't cause trouble.

Can Steele do this?

If he can't, what are you going to do about it?

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-Jay Cost