Michael Steele unintentionally said it best himself at a debate for chairman of the Republican National Committee: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," he said, incorrectly attributing the line to "War and Peace," which he called his favorite book. (It's from "A Tale of Two Cities.")
Today, at a sprawling resort just outside Washington, Steele delivering a speech -- in his capacity as RNC chairman -- was essentially his last pitch to members before today's vote of the 168 committee members who, will determine his fate this afternoon.
"You shocked the world," he told the assembled members, as he delivered the chairman's report on the past two years.
Steele was deferential, crediting members with wins in 2009 in Virginia and New Jersey as well as touting the committee's efforts to take back the House and place John Boehner as speaker.
Of course, Steele once said, "I won" the Virginia and New Jersey races. Today, he said, "You won." And he once said the GOP wouldn't take back the House. "Not this year," he said.
But Steele is looking to be re-hired for this job, so he made sure to shower the members with praise.
"It does not get done without you, our state chairmen and our national committeemen and women," Steele said. He added, "You did not shrink from the challenge. You did not walk away from the opportunity. The effort of our party speaks for itself."
Sounding a bit like failed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (R), he said, "For the first time in a generation, we saw us. ... We drew in America. They responded to your voice; they responded to your efforts.
He touted the GOP's electoral successes in 2009 and 2010, calling the RNC "one of the best committees in a long time."
He lauded get-out-the-vote efforts, more offices in states, the RNC's new Web site, and winning even mayoral races in places like Albuquerque, NM, county offices in Upstate NY, and even in Guam.
Yes, today Guam votes, too.
"I want to thank you so much," Steele said, "so much for the chance to serve at a time when our party was changing. ... We stand proud."
Regardless of the outcome of today's vote, Steele told the RNC to "appreciate what you have done" to "establish a Republican renaissance."
In concluding his remarks, Steele exhorted the audience "to give the Democrats Hell over the next two years."