Skip to comments.Does Michael Steele Pass Muster With Conservatives?
Posted on 02/04/2009 2:01:43 AM PST by markomalley
The mainstream media will never give him a break, but conservatives should probably be comfortable with new RNC Chairman Michael Steele. On CNN, Don Lemon asked the CNN political reporter, Is the RNC pandering, is Michael Steele legitimate?
In an appearance on my radio program on Monday, Steele said the Republican party is called racist when they dont reach out and pandering when they do. He went as far as to tell a reporter that asked him if he was legitimate to come back when he had a real question. If only the questions about his credentials were coming from the left. So the question is, will Steele pass muster with conservatives?
Three months ago, I wrote about Steele after we participated in a panel on the 2008 Elections. I believed then he would be the next chairman of the party, and it had nothing to do with race.
It was not an easy path to the chairmans office for Steele. Groups opposing his involvement with the Republican Leadership Council say hes too liberal. When Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday tried to box him in on the RLCs mission to recruit pro-choice and pro-gay rights Republicans, he said he was not going to focus in on two issues and then invoked Ronald Reagan. However, these two issues are at the core of the social conservative agenda.
Michael Steele is a social conservative. Hes encouraged by the success groups in California cobbling together social conservatives, religious Latinos and Blacks on Proposition 8 in November. In 2008, the value of preaching a socially conservative agenda in minority communities increased dramatically. Prop 8 represents the future of the morality movement in America, and Steele sees it as both a winning movement and a way to mend fences with social conservatives who think hes not one of them.
The new chairman understands the GOP message on immigration, and he knows how to communicate it. Its not just conservatives that want border security. Steele said on Sunday, The GOP's position on immigration is very much the position of many, many Hispanics who are in this country. Steele went on to make the case when he said, The GOP's position is secure our borders first. Let us know and let us make sure the American people know that we've taken care of the important business of dealing with illegal immigration into this country. You cannot begin to address the concerns of the people who are already here unless and until you have made certain that no more are coming in behind them . How we messaged that is where we messed up the last time. We were pegged as being insensitive, anti-immigrant, and nothing could be further from the truth, because you talk to those leaders in the Hispanic community, they will tell you the same thing. They understand the importance of making sure the United States' borders are secure.
That is the grassroots position held by a majority of Americans, not just conservatives.
The elephant in the room for Steele is not whether hes a conservative -- he is -- but rather will he be conservative enough for the grassroots of the Republican Party. The code language for this is Christian conservatives. CCs are the most hated, loved or feared group of people in the Republican Party, depending on your point of view. The RINOs think these Bible-thumping hayseeds are ruining the party, but Christian conservatives represent the Partys core values; RINOs dont. And you cant win without Christian conservatives. Steele is one of those Christian conservatives and has talked openly about his Roman Catholic faith.
Conservatives are responding positively to Steele but are wary. Theyve heard the talk before. Action is the only thing that will calm their fears and lead to wins for Republicans by getting the grassroots engaged again. Chairman Steele is hitting the ground running with updates to the website and how they will collect and disseminate information. Hes beginning to target upcoming elections in New York, New Jersey and in the off year. He knows he needs some wins under his belt, and when he gets those, conservatives will begin coming back to the fold and be happy about it. This Republican Chairman will have to be about message and a call to action. Hes got one election cycle to prove himself, and I think hes up to it.
So will Michael Steele pass muster with conservatives -- fiscal conservatives and social conservatives? Yes, he will, and I think the hard-fought battle to become RNC Chair has honed his skills. Hes political, he wants to win and is conservative at his core. If he implements as well as hes adapted in his campaign to be RNC Chair, then hell move conservative values forward through Republican wins.
But one warning from a Christian Conservative who believes hes conservative enough to move the party forward: Dont recruit wishy-washy conservatives. A party is only as good as the candidates and the actions they take once elected, and the electorate is impatient. You have a 4-year term, but like President Obama, your midterm exam is in 2010 and will determine what the future holds for you and the Republican Party. But for now, Mike, keep leaning right.
I think the position today is unique in its historical context. The chairman will become the default spokesman of the party. I suspect he is also going to be the leading policymaker-if he has the stuff for it. He must carry his policy with his rhetoric and he must contrive a policy which will justify the rhetoric. I see no one else on the horizon at this time who can step up to that role. By virtue of their offices the minority leader of the Senate and the minority leader in the House might offer themselves. Mitt Romney might evolve to a party spokesman but that will be awkward for an undeclared candidate. By default, Michael Steele will be the face of the party and probably its brain.
As you point out, his responsibilities include the nuts and bolts of running the party and that means herding cats but also a host of other duties: although he inherits $20 million, he must raise tens of millions more; the entire IT footprint of the party must be adapted to the Blitzkrieg introduced by the Democrats in the last two elections; candidates must be found who can wage credible campaigns at least in a few areas where we might regain some ground; a strategy must be developed to penetrate the red states and that implies selling something that the voters want to buy; legislative strategy must be coordinated with our minorities in the House and Senate so that the party speaks with one voice; discipline must be established and ruthlessly maintained; and finally, a sense of urgency and destiny must be imparted so that the whole country knows what is at stake and what must be done, they must believe it can be done, they must believe that it will be done. They must believe that only the Republicans can do it.
In sum, he must define conservatism and throw down the gauntlet to the creeping statism represented by Obama and his ilk. He must define the limits; this far and no further! These responsibilities call for a Winston Churchill or a Newt Gingrich. They beg for charisma. The Republican Party might have only one more chance for survival. We need a wartime leader not a conciliator. The best analogy I can think of is that of England in 1930s reluctantly shaking off Neville Chamberlain, its exponent of appeasement, for Winston Churchill whose warnings had been so terribly vindicated that no one now could gainsay him. He told him what his policy was: to wage war. to wage war on land, sea and air. He told them what his aim was: victory. Victory at all costs, victory whenever the price, victory no matter how long or hard the road.
Since the Republican Party is that it position analogous to Great Britain after the fall of France, anything short of this level of commitment dooms the party which in turn shelters and nurtures conservatism and that ultimately dooms the Republic.
This is no time for business as usual. Can Michael Steele grasp the nettle?
Michael Steele is black? When did that happen?
Good luck there and bring knee high boots, you'll need them for what the democrats are shoveling at you.
|Michael Steele on Civil Rights|
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This may be a unique opportunity to build a relationship or a bridge between the conservatives and the moderates in our party and so she asked me to serve on her board and I said well this will be good. Itll be a pro-life conservative voice on a board with a pro-choice leadership that is looking to elect moderates. We have to elect moderates in the party.From "Michael Steele to his Conservative Critics: Wake Up People!" (David Brody interview, CBN News)
And then there is Eric Holder...As a top Obama adviser, Holder...In a radio appearance last week, Michael Steele, a Holder supporter who is a candidate to become head of the Republican National Committee, explained this, er, strategy. We have to be smart about picking our battles, he told a disgruntled conservative caller. Steele asked, is there any real chance of beating Holder? When she conceded there was not, he replied, with evident self-satisfaction: Why would I want to get into a fight we cant win? He then spoke vapidly about how it was more important to get Holder in power: that, you see, is when we really get to confront him on issues. Somewhere, President Obama was smiling.
Russert forced the Kool-Aid down Steele's throat on abortion, back when Steele was running for U.S. Senate in Maryland, a liberal State. So of course Russert chased him around the room until he said he didn't want Roe vs. Wade revisited. Good wedge issue if you're a liberal 'Rat trying to beat a conservative in a liberal State -- or get the conservatives fighting each other.
Steele is wrong on affirmative action, but he's clean and green across the rest of the issue spectrum as far as I can see. Some people have tried to interpret things he's said as being anti-2A but I don't buy it. Also pro-gay, but what he actually said was, he wants to compete for the gay vote based on economic and liberty issues. Ditto women and other Hillaryoid "identity-politics" groups.
As for Roe vs. Wade, I think he's really pro-life, Tim Russert or no Tim Russert. Well, actually, it's no Tim Russert, isn't it?
I had an instant gut feeling toward Mr. Steele and it was I liked him.
I hope like his name invokes Michael is a man of Steel conservatism a Churchill?
If not...will we even have a Republic after Obama?
A hard road ahead indeed!
And, in case I wasn’t clear, I like the guy.
"If you want to talk about gun control, that's where you need to start. We've got 300 gun laws on the books right now. At the end of the day, it's about how we enforce the law."
In plain English this means, "Screw your gun-control bill, we've got enough gun laws. Don't like what's happening on the street? Arrest the criminals. Quit trying to hassle law-abiding gun owners with your statist crap."
Maybe this will help limn where Steele's coming from on 2A.
Enforcing existing laws is the right answer to gun crime.
The problem with Steele is that he is really a liberal...His positions on gun control and homosexual marriage will drive away voters who are usually reliable voting blocs
If you do not think his stance on gun control will hurt pro-self defense voters....then ask Al Gore about losing West Va and Tennessee in 2000 because of his gun-control stance...
You seem to be trying to make Steele out as some liberal on abortion, but this Q&A doesn’t do that. In the end he is saying this should be tossed back to the states, which is something many conservatives have called for—if that is done, which is clearly his desire, RvW would be null and void.
If you’re trying to paint him as a pro-abortionist, this doesn’t do it.
O’malley? ... I don’t buy Steele’s conservatism. We had a chance to listen to him during his last Maryland campaign, and I came away wondering if he knew just who he was. There was no conservative heart behind the words ... that was my impression after listening to his speech and comments: a politician trying to squeeze himself into the shape of something people wanted to hear, without passion or real core belief’s and principal. Saying the words, but you came away not sure he believed them. He’s a real friendly guy, amiable, physically imposing in somewhat of a CEO mold, but I think struggling to place himself. Maybe he is RNC chair because he is NOT so deeply committed to conservative principal. It seems a better position for him than candidate, however.
I have seen numerous attempts to make Steele look like a lib here. None convince. I haven’t made up my mind about him, but if all those who oppose him have is his attempts to not let Tim Russert and other MSM types paint him into a corner so his Dem opponents can have a “Gotcha!” then it just shows how many conservatives have fallen into the MSM trap and don’t know it.
I’ve been following this guys career for awhile now, and I like him, who knows the GOP might pull themselves out of irrelevance yet... But I’m not holding my breath!
Abortion? He should simply have given a constitutional conservative opinion, that individual states should have the right to decide the issue.
What positions? I see a typical NRA talking point in his reply on gun control. What about the homosexual "marriage" (non-marriage) issue?
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