June 9, 2009

Steele's RNC seems to be all wrong

This should scare you if you are a conservative, hoping that the GOP has got the gears back on it's RNC machine. Over at the Horse Race Blog on RealClearPolitics, Jay Cost made three good points back on May 29th about measuring Michael Steele as chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

The problem is that, while many of us were willing to be patient, there really isn't a lot of time to get this role right, and there isn't a lot of room to get things wrong. Steele had to hit the ground running, in a full on sprint, because while the DNC and the Democrats may be short on meaningful and sound policy, they are proving to be expert at the politics of winning.

Point 1: Focus

For those of you who, like me, think a party chairman has better things to do than host a radio show - you'll be interested to know that Steele is still doing that. He again guest-hosted Bill Bennett's radio show this morning.

Absolutely! Like his job. What's his job supposed to be? I've discussed it on Twitter before - he needs to get candidates. He needs to raise vast sums of cash for a GOP war chest. He needs to make inroads into untapped constituencies by organizing community outreach efforts to conservative minded groups of Hispanics, African Americans and manufacturing workers that have no voice for their conservatism - other than to do things like vote against California's Proposition 8. If they can do that, they can vote conservative. Reaching them is more important than being a talking head. He's not great at it anyway. He comes across as an apologist. Stay focused Mr.Steele.

Point 2: Stop being an apologist and pandering

In what seemed like an effort to distance the party from claims that Sotomayor is "racist" and an "Affirmative Action" pick, Steele repeatedly said that Republicans should be hailing the historic nature of Obama's pick.

"I'm excited that a Hispanic woman is in this position," Steele said. He added that instead of "slammin' and rammin'" on Sotomayor, Republicans should "acknowledge" the "historic aspect" of the pick and make a "cogent, articulate argument" against her for purely substantive reasons.

Grow some backbone Michael Steele. There's a reason the base is up in arms over what looks to be a racist pick. The reason? IT'S A BAD IDEA.

Most importantly, Point 3: Show me the money

Mr. Chairman - crazy suggestion for you. Instead of spending your Friday morning fielding calls on a talk show, why don't you pick up your phone and try to find the RNC the cash it'll need to compete next year? Or call up that marginal, would-be candidate one more time to talk him into running - perhaps by promising him the support from all the donors you're about to call. This task might also be referred to as...your job description, which does not include posturing against your party for the satisfaction of your own vanity/ego while guest-hosting a talk show and serving as the party's chief media whore pundit.

Amen to that Jay. As I pointed out with respect to point 1, the RNC needs a massive War Chest, not another talking head. Instead, it looks like the GOP might be saddled with the reverse. It's still not too late, but the fat lady is already warming up.

2010 started on November 5th 2008. Steele didn't get elected until January 30th 2009. That gap wasted 3 months of 24, or 12.5% of the GOPs time. Steele seems to have compounded the problem with the three issues above. It's now nearly 30% of the way from the Obama win until the 2010 election. Can you believe that?

Time's a wastin'.

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