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Michael Steele Becomes The First African American RNC Chairman

Earlier today, the Republican National Committee made history by electing Michael Steele as their first ever elected Republican Party Chairman. Steele was the former Lt. Governor of Maryland who lost a bid for the U.S. senate in 2006 to Congressman Ben Cardin. Steele is a decent and likable man, who once spent three years in a Roman Catholic seminary in study to become a priest, but then decided to attend law school and later entered Maryland state politics.steele.jpg

In the 2008 general election, only a mere 4% of African American voted for John McCain. And the conservative views of Steele are unlikely to sway many more votes from this community. However, Steele is a great communicator and certainly puts a polished image on some tired old Republicans ideas such as individual health insurance bank accounts or other old retreaded traditionally Republican ideas. However in other areas, such as affirmative action, Steele seems to recognize that some level of government action is needed to address inequality and to equalize the playing field.

The election of Steele is probably the most positive event for the GOP since their 2008 election drubbing by the voters. However, it is not really clear whether Steele is as effective of a manager as the party really needs right now or whether he can help to move the party towards a more centrist stance on some issues to attract more voters or not. Steele certainly has a major challenge ahead of him. Steele is also going to have to quickly decide if the role of the Republican congressional opposition against the economic stimulus legislation is harmful to the party's image or not. To many voters angry about job losses or other economic losses, such actions look merely as political.

Michael Steele now leads a party suffering from both public image problems as well politically unpopular stances on many issues only complicated by the bad aftertaste of George Bush. Steele certainly has some major work to do to rebuild his party.

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Rating: 3.5/5 (6 votes cast)

Comments (4)


Congratulations, Lt. Gov Steele. If you are half as excellent for the RNC as you were for the state of Maryland, the Republican Party is lucky to have you.


As the nation descends into crisis, if the Republicans want to exercise power, they need to present real solutions. "Let's give an across the board tax cut to millionaires" is not a solution to the liquidity crunch. As a corporate CEO would YOU rush out to hire more workers if you got a big tax cut? NO! You'd squirrel it away and not spend it! Why not? Because you're still uncertain about the future. You'll try and get by with the employees you already have. I.E. THANKS FOR THE TAX CUT, BUT NO NEW JOBS! How can anything be clearer than that?

The stimulus may not bring about a complete "recovery" of the economy - it is too small and contains too many tax cuts - but it will at a minimum stave off further disaster and give many people some help in weathering the tough times. People will see that and remember it when they go vote in 2010 and 2012. The Republicans are basically betting that won't happen, which is a terrible bet if you know even a teensy bit of economics.
I just read a couple of articles about how the Republicans are trying to figure out What Went Wrong, basically involving lots of finger-pointing and "Mr. Bush, meet Mr. Bus." But if they're serious about winning back voters, the very first thing they need to do is acknowledge their complicity in getting us into this mess. If the only excuse they offer for the past eight years is that Bush and Cheney were evil overlords who sucked the Republican Party dry of its soul while Congressional Republicans were powerless to resist, voters aren't going to buy it.
Hell, even McCain had the stones to go back to Letterman and admit he screwed up.


Steele/Palin 2012!! That will be good news!

I wouldn't get your hopes too high, MPR. First Steele and Palin are both very different in nature. Steele is a serious and competent man. Palin is a little screwy and sometimes erratic. But Steele's ability to manage a large organization like the RNC has been so far largely untested. So the ability of Steele to manage a large organization will be the big challenge here. Certainly he has a great personality.

Steele also needs to represent some real constructive ideas that voters really want. So far Steele is only a new personality trumping the same old tired Republican ideas. And I expect that with Mr. Obama moving ahead with so much action so rapidly, that most voters will find something they like and re-elect him by a huge margin in 2012, leaving any political ambitions for serious GOP challengers hanging in the wind until 2016.


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