By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele isn't the first political big mouth to run afoul of a party's elders with controversial comments. Howard Dean did the same during his first months at the Democratic National Committee in 2005. And now Republicans want Steele to follow Dean's lead and pipe down and speak as far away from Washington and cameras as he can. "He's become our Howard Dean," says a top Republican leadership aide. Steele's latest remarks that the party won't take control of the House in the November midterm elections—a prediction he later backed away from—have revived talk of replacing him. But senior party officials say they plan something worse: just ignoring Steele. "It's going to be out of sight, out of mind," says one aide. And firing him won't work. "That would just expedite the talk show where he bashes us all the time," he says.