I've long thought that the greatest impediment to the advancement of the civil-rights movement is the leadership of the civil-rights movement. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the like inspire (intentionally, I believe) division and angst where none need exist, personally profiting from the perception of victimization but thereby alienating their cause.
This syndrome can just as easily affect a political party. Thus, Democrats attempted to portray Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove and the Tea Party as de facto leaders of the GOP. These attempts generally failed, but the GOP has been laboring to provide its own red meat for the grinder. RNC Chair Michael Steele has been an embarrassment and general disgrace from the onset, and continues to make headlines with his unprecedented and shady spending.
Party leaders generally ought to be distinguished (by longevity or merit) members of Congress or sitting presidents. A president is an obvious and inevitable leader, but the out-of-office party may find itself without a discernable head - or sporting a multitude of heads. Both are generally unsightly conditions. Nonetheless, peripheral characters, such as Palin, Romney, Huckabee and Steele, are dangerously unaccountable. They may work mischief without being personally held responsible by voters (unless they attempt to run for something) - the party suffers for their sins.
Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Sessions, Pence and Ryan spring to mind as genuine GOP leaders. Insofar as a character such as Steele shares the stage, all the more pressing is the need to divest him of his authority.