Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is Michael Steele Really the Man to Lead the RNC?

I know that I'm going to catch a lot of grief over this from my fellow Free Staters.  I'm going to ask the question anyway.  Is former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele the right person to be the next RNC chair?

I know.  He's a great guy.  He's "charismatic".  He's relatively young.  He's African-American.  He's on FOXNews.  He's our favorite son.

To all of this I say, "SO WHAT?".

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not prepared to say that Michael Steele ISN'T the right person for the job.  I'm just seriously concerned about whether he is.

We can all probably agree that current chair Mike Duncan needs to go.  Despite seemingly large agreement on this among the grassroots, particularly on the net, Duncan still remains a front runner.  I'm almost amused by the claims that winning the Chambliss and LA run-offs should somehow be credited to Duncan and the RNC.  Sarah Palin had far more to do with Saxby Chambliss winning than Mike Duncan did.  Perhaps he should step aside for her.

Of the other top and second tier candidates for the job, SC Chair Katon Dawson doesn't seem to be the right guy.  He's got great credentials to be sure.  I particularly like his plan for the future.  However, if we expect the next chair to be the public face of the RNC, Dawson will continue to catch tons of flak for his membership in an exclusive (you know, all-white) club.  BTW - that "I was going to change it from within" stuff just doesn't fly.

Saul Anuzis seems to have a lot going for him.  He's the child of immigrants.  He's from a blue collar, "Reagan Democrat" background.  He seems to have more than a passing notion of how to use social media.  I love his notions of "One Neighborhood at a Time" and "One Idea at a Time".  I particularly like the fact that he entered the race as a relative unknown and has worked his way to the top tier in a short period of time.  As each day ticks by Anuzis picks up more public support from the RNC membership.

I've always been a fan of Ken Blackwell.  He's got great conservative credentials.  Blackwell has just entered the race and is picking up support fast.  Remember, it the 168 members of the RNC that will be voting.

Former Tennessee chair Chip Saltsman is the youngest in the crowd.  As Mike Huckabee's campaign manager, he's got gravitas on the campaign side.  If you've read Mike Huckabee's new book (I'll admit that I haven't finished it yet), you would also see a serious negative - bringing a fractured party together.  I don't see non-SoCons flocking to Huckabee AND Saltsman will carry at least some of that baggage.  I may be wrong.

Back to Steele.

I have a deep personal prejudice against being pandered to.  Michael Steele was a founder of the Republican Leadership Council - a group of moderate Republican within the party.  I don't have a problem with that as much as the fact that Steele seemed to abandon the RLC when he decided to run for chair.  He got some bad ink from some bloggers, the American Spectator and the Weekly Standard.  What does Steele do?  Have his name purged from all of their material.  I've got a lot more respect from someone who stands by their principles.  It makes me feel like we've got a local version of Mitt Romney running for RNC chair.

Again, I want to emphasize that I don't KNOW that Michael Steele won't make a good RNC chair.  However, given the current problems in the party we should all take a concerted look at some other candidates who have some great credentials.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

GA - I agree with you almost completely.

Let's not forget Michael Steele endorsed Wayne Gilchrest in the Primary for the 1st district saying "Wayne is a good Republican" just to have Wayne turn around endorse the Democrat and then enlighten us all the he voted for Kerry, O'Malley, and Obama.

This lack of judgment makes me very concerned about Steele. He is a nice guy, but lacks good judgment.

Michael Swartz said...

I second that sentiment, particularly because as a former Ohioan I've always been impressed with Blackwell and thought he got a raw deal numerous times from the Ohio GOP.

It would be great to have a forum or debate with all of the contenders present and answering questions from the rank-and-file.

Anonymous said...

I agree too. Michael Swartz is right about the OhioGOP shortchanging Blackwell. There's been a battle raging in the OhioGOP for awhile between the conservatives (Blackwell) and moderates (Taft/Voinovich).

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