I didn’t have a horse in this race myself. I heard good things about Ann Wagner and people I respect supported her (big tea party favorite). Other people I respect as well supported Michael Steele (on the he was in charge when we won theory).
The problem? The RNC is having is grass-roots fundraising problem. The conservative grass-roots does not like the idea of hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on, shall we say, less that loyal conservatives/republicans (read Dede Scozzafava, Charlie Crist). Combine this with the internet and the ability of individuals to give cash directly to candidates the actually like, and poof the RNC becomes irrelevant.
Establishment republicans who really don’t like the rise of the tea party (because they understand a true anti-spending movement decreases the perks and the power that are the rewards of office) wanted to keep their favorite out of the chair. Those big donors are looking for a return on their investment. The tax payer spigot being turned off is the last thing they want.
The winner Reince Priebus as a former Steele is likely a safe choice who can hopefully navigate the shoal between those rocks that Steele didn’t.
The thing about being a party chairman is that by definition you have to support any person with a (R) next to their name. If the leaders were really devious they could have supported Wagner and then hit her if she didn’t give moderates the time of day.
The real smart move would be to build a structure to advance republican thought. Such a move would create republicans. The National party could rather than funding candidates, steer funds to groups closer to the ground while allowing the sub groups such as the tea party to give to specific candidates perhaps using funding in an emergency manner to push a close or promising candidate over the top.
It’s a tough job but if we win, there will be plenty of kudos to go around. It all depends of if the idea is to advance a philosophy or to get a meal ticket. The choices made by the party will tell us which goal really counts.