Photo by TheBusyBrain

Photo by TheBusyBrain

It’s Michael Steele vs. Karl Rove in an epic battle for the soul – and the wallet – of the Republican Party!

There is growing worry that a mysterious new Republican political action committee formed by Bush-era heavyweights including Karl Rove could harm the Republican National Committee down the line….

“That is very destructive to the party,” a former very high-ranking RNC official told me in an interview today. The official said the group, which already has $30 million in donor pledges but does not seem to have an active Web site, will have broad implications for the RNC if it is successful during this election cycle.

(…)

If Rove and his team do raise the cash they are boasting about, the RNC will run out of money and the old Bush team will be controlling the finances of the party, the official griped. That may leave top donors looking to American Crossroads and others instead of to the national party in future cycles.

National Journal reports that American Crossroads “has received commitments of almost $30 million and is seeking to raise a total of some $60 million to help dozens of Senate and House incumbents and challengers this fall,” while the RNC has just $8.4 million.

Granted, commitments and goals are not money in the bank, but it sure does sound like Republican donors want to be reasonably certain that their cash won’t end up in some stripper’s buttcrack.  So rather than bet on an incompetent gaffe-prone jackass, they’re betting on the guy with a proven track record of winning elections for an incompetent gaffe-prone jackass.  Because if there’s one skill that’s absolutely invaluable in a Republican strategist, it’s the ability to carry idiots across the finish line.

The interesting question is what happens after the midterms:  Does American Crossroads stick around as a new and Bushier power center?  Or does it exist primarily to pick up the slack for Steele’s cluelessness, fading cheerfully away if/when the RNC hires a non-buffoon?  Or is it more like a shadow RNC-in-waiting, its key personnel swooping to the rescue as soon as Steele steps down or chokes on his own foot?

And most importantly of all, does the existence of a theoretically more competent alternative to Steele’s mess of an RNC help the GOP more than a power struggle and Dubya’s shadow hurt it?