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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michael Steele's Stock Has Bottomed

You would have really needed to be following inside baseball of politics to notice, but I believe that Michael Steele's stock as RNC Chair has bottomed and we are now likely to see what he can do in leading the party.

For those that followed, you would have noticed that Steele's tenure as RNC chair started off in a very tenuous manner. He started off by accidentally picking a fight with Rush Limbaugh. He then made comments that made it unclear where he stood on the issue of abortion. There were even rumors that his prior campaign may have siphoned off money to family and friends. Then, the state parties tried to subvert his authority by 1) calling for a national RNC referendum to call the Democratic Party the Democratic Socialist Party and 2) by changing the rules so that the Chair, Steele, would have less power in distributing money.

Now, in the last week, I believe we have finally seen Steele gather himself. I believe he has stopped the bleeding and several events have made me believe that he is at the beginning of a comeback. First, there was this speech.

This is among the most clear and concise visions laid out by any Republican of the way forward since their defeat in 2008. The speech was well received and it finally put Steele in the position of authority that he had been desperately missing.

At the same time, Steele made it clear that if rules are changed and his funding authority is removed he will resigned. He said that he refused to be a "figurehead". So far, the rest of the party apparatus has been silent to his challenge.

Also, the rest of the party apparatus backed down on their threat to change their platform to call the Democrats Democratic Socialists. Instead, the party will say the Democrats are moving us toward Socialism.

Finally, Steele got the endorsement of Sarah Palin.

The transition from Candidate Obama to President Obama has been as predictable as Alaska's winter snow.

We are now witnessing actions that will lead to a monumental shift away from free market capitalism and the strong work ethic that built this great country. 'Change' in this administration has meant rapid movement toward massive government growth, huge tax burdens on future generations, and an unprecedented reliance upon foreign countries.

Today, we learned that Obama’s decisions continue to impact Alaskans; while we as taxpayers now own General Motors, Obama closes another dealership – this time in Soldotna as more of Alaskans’ hard-earned money and jobs are lost to big government. Government should not be in the auto industry business. In Alaska, we have also seen a shift in federal priorities that threaten the loss of subsidized village health care services under the same candidate who led you to believe he'd insure all Americans. The inconsistent messages and actions are unsettling.

But we have another voice in Washington, DC – a man who understands what Alaskans believe: less centralized government control, restrained budgets, more opportunity for development, and fewer taxes. Today, we have a friend in RNC Chairman Michael Steele and his bold and courageous speech defines his leadership goals that will guide us all through this most difficult time for our nation.”

There's almost nothing that helps an embattled leader more than a vote of confidence from a heavyweight. That's what we have with this endorsement by Palin.

Much like in life, being a chairman often comes down to momentum. The first several months of his chairmanship had decidedly negative momentum. Yet, in the last week, he has turned all that around. The momentum is now behind him and so I expect that Steele's best days as Chairman are in front of him.

1 comment:

Jason Gillman said...

I have always liked Steele, even though he is likely a little more moderate in his personal views.

His recent handling of the whether the Republicans should call the Democrats the Socialist-Democrat party was probably done as well as it could be. There are folks on both sides of the issue which will never be satisfied however.

The MSM in general will parse, and pick apart anything said by leading Republicans or conservative leaders in an attempt to marginalize their positions or opinions. To make it seem that Republicans don't care for Steele would be both a win for them, and wrong.

So "bottomed" might well be a good way to present the position of Steele, who has started to do a better job of clarifying his role in a way that will not be picked apart as often.