The Republican National Committee was caught with its hand in the nookie jar this week, as a report revealed Monday detailed thousands of dollars spent by the RNC on everything from extravagances like limos and private jets to not-so-family-friendly visits to a bondage-themed strip club that features simulations of lesbian sex romps.
Now that the RNC has been busted for its alleged R-rated extra-curricular activities, pundits are calling for everything from chairman Michael Steele's head on a platter to a re-evaluation of how spending is monitored:
The strip-club scandal isn't just another political oops -- the story is shocking enough that it has the potential to become a serious thorn in the GOP's side, Michael Tomasky blogs for the UK's Guardian. The RNC saga will "develop some legs, and quickly," Tomasky writes, because of the hypocrisy of the GOP's "family-values" agenda: "If the DNC chair did this, the right-wing agitprop machine would be all over it and he'd be resigning by the end of the day," Tomasky writes.
Sara Libby at True/Slant agrees, writing that the GOP has no room to criticize Dems when it's spending its cash on private planes and bondage clubs. "This is, of course, coming from the same party that charged sexism anytime you brought up Sarah Palin's astronomical wardrobe costs, and that delighted in the revelation that John Edwards got pricey haircuts," Libby blogs.
Besides giving the RNC a bad rap, the strip-club scandal could seriously hinder GOP efforts in midterm elections, Daniel Stone writes for Newsweek. The sexy spending could be a "distraction" and cause "bad press," Stone writes, but its more serious consequences could be a drop in donations. "What coaxes donors into writing large checks is feeling like they are -- or eventually will be -- on the winning team," Stone writes. "Tawdry snafus like these make one feel dead last -- and downright dirty."
Ben Smith at Politico doesn’t buy any major short-term fallout for Michael Steele, given the outcomes from past controversies that involved the RNC chairman. “He is the party chairman through January of next year and will be so until either a) he resigns or b) he's forced out by a two-thirds vote of the national committee,” Smith writes. “Neither is likely to happen, barring further shoes a-droppin'.”
This is just the latest in the long line of the RNC's -- and, particularly, Michael Steele's -- woes, Adam Serwer writes for the American Prospect's TAPPED blog. The strip-club, private-plane misstep is "in the midst of other lavish but less risque spending that is bound to enrage Republican donors," Serwer writes, prompting him to ask: "I'm starting to wonder if Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele is a plant who secretly works for the Democratic National Committee."