Michael Steele's biography at Wikipedia shows a person of accomplishment. However the biography then goes on to describe why Steele was elected as RNC Chair
"On November 24, 2008 Steele launched his campaign for the RNC chairmanship with the launching of his website. On January 30, 2009, Steele won the chairmanship of the RNC in the sixth round, with 91 votes to Dawson's 77. Steele, the Republican Party's first African American chief, was selected in the aftermath of President Obama's election, when many in the GOP saw him as a charismatic counter to the first black president"
This is mirrored in the comment by the Baltimore Sun on Steele's campaign to be Lieutenant Governor of Maryland:
In 2002, Robert Ehrlich, who was running for Maryland Governor, selected Steele as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor. The campaign was waged against Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who was running for Governor and Charles R. Larson who was running for Lieutenant Governor.
Steele resigned his chairmanship of the Maryland Republican Party to campaign full-time.The Baltimore Sun praised Townsend's running mate, Larson, for his experience and expertise, stating that: "state GOP chairman Michael S. Steele, brings little to the team but the color of his skin."
There was considerable opinion voiced during Steele's campaign for RNC Chair that ascribed both his high profile campaign for the role and his subsequent victory to the need for the GOP to not have a white Southerner in the role, given the ascendancy of Obama to the presidency as the GOP needed to affirm visibly it had no connection to racism in the new climate.
That Steele did a poor job as Chair, with financial problems and public gaffes like having a function in a strip club is beyond dispute and a major contributing factor to his not being re-elected.However,Steele broke the mould and his performance was so bad that even the most strident liberal could not ascribe his defeat to "racism"
What has been a further legacy of Steele's election is that in future no Black man-no matter how many Black Democratic party presidents there are in a row, will ever be elected again based on the color of their skin-rather,and as it shoudl be,the person elected will be chosen by Dr. King's dictum "for the content of their character" (and capability of course) no matter what race, relgion, genderor creed the posses.
Steele's service has also had the benefit that the left can no longer tar the GOP with the epithet of being racist and had allowed even a strong Southern accented white man like Haley Barbour of Mississippi to consider running for president with hardly an eyebrow raised on the left
What has become clear as the Obama administration grinds on and he sinks deeper in the polls agains "generic Republican" according to the respected Gallup polling organization is that then candidate Obama was, like Michael Steele, the right person in the right place at the right time. A unique combination of an economic hurricane, a poor GOP candidate, a poorly run Clinton campaign, Bush hatred, an admittedly good speaking style, an energized youth base, and, vitally, a large measure of white guilt on the left, gave Obama the victory as this last effect did similarly for Steele.
The end result, as far as competency is concerned, is the same, and, as things are going, the re-election result also looks like being the same. Although the country and the economy will have been the worse for the election of Obama, again, as with Steele, the mould has been broken and the race barrier has been broken. Hopefully, never again will an untried empty suit be placed in such a position of power based on the color of his or her skin.