No Hope for Michael Steele

Rich Trzupek is a veteran environmental consultant and senior advisor to the Heartland Institute. He is the author of the new book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books).


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Rather than broadening the appeal of the party, Steele’s frequent public gaffes were embarrassing at best and counterproductive at worst. Cadillac could rebrand itself because it had the ability to actually produce a different kind of product that would appeal to the younger generation. But, you can’t repackage conservative principles like limited government and fiscal responsibility. These are ideas that will never be either hip or cool, because they necessarily require hard work and deep thought. The mission of the RNC and its chairman is therefore not to convince voters that electing Republicans is the trendy thing to do, but that it’s the necessary thing to do – that doing so is essential if the future of the nation is to be secured.

Worse, Steele often seemed to be more interested in promoting Michael Steele’s personal agenda than in protecting the interests of the party he was elected to serve. Steele accepted fees for speaking engagements, for example, even though promoting the party and its ideals is a primary part of his job description. At the same time, he was apparently a disinterested administrator, overlooking RNC compensation for private jets and almost $2,000 at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed night club featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex. In the big picture, such expenditures are barely noticeable when the federal government spends trillions without so much as an afterthought. And yet, this sort of irresponsible behavior inevitably undercut the core message Republicans were trying so hard to impart: that public entities should spend money wisely and cut waste to the bone. Time and again, Steele made decisions that reinforced the perception that Republicans expected and received the trappings of a privileged, moneyed elitist class whose mantra is “do as I say, not as I do.”

In announcing his decision to seek re-election Steele played the race card, saying: “Who you elect as our next Chairman will speak volumes about our willingness to truly be the party of Lincoln.” That was a very unfortunate choice of words, implying that if the GOP rejects Michael Steele, the RNC would do so because it’s more concerned about the color of Steele’s skin than the wisdom of his policies. Steele ought to know better. If he truly aspires to be the sort of public servant that he claims to be, then Michael Steele needs to come to grips with the fact that his party is more concerned about the wisdom of his policies than the tone of his skin. The Republican Party gave Steele a chance to lead. And, while he’s had some positive impact, the bottom line is that Michael Steele has done more to distract the electorate’s attention away from core conservative principles than to focus it upon them. His term as chairman of the RNC was a noble experiment, but it’s not the sort of  experiment that Republicans should wish to repeat if they’re going to preserve their momentum heading into the next election.

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  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    once more its not about political Gains its about laws and the system that makes a nation work, the so called political system is now a joke, the system is coming apart day by day we all can see it in the face if we want to.

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    "…willingness to truly be the party of Lincoln" has eroded into mere imitation of competition with the "rival" party. In fact GOP under Steel and Bush turned into the plan-B part of de-facto one party system (of Bilderbergs). It is the role of Republicans which is the most grotesque, because they actually played on the side of Democrats! They did vet McCain – their proper candidate, yet did not vet the opponent (impostor Obama). Some of "prominent" "Republicans", like Colin Powell or Michael Bloomberg in fact openly backed and campaigned for the rival – usurper Obama, rather than for the own party candidate!
    http://www.resonoelusono.com/Infamy.htm

    • davarino

      I dont know, I may be suffering from battle fatigue, but I am starting to think obama may have been the best thing for america. Instead of the left nickle and diming us to death, O tried to do it all at once which exposed for everyone to see, what the left is really all about. Maybe I am a slow learner, but it almost seems like the rnc meant for McCain to lose so Obama could win, which set the current events in motion. I dont think Michael Steele is that smart but maybe the rest are. It just seemed so wierd how McCain didnt even try to get elected, it didnt bother him at all that he lost, and seemed to work at losing. I dont know, maybe I should stop drinking so much eggnog : )

      • AnimalFarm

        Carry on with the eggnog, you're right! McCain, as you may recall, was the gift from the democraps who switched parties during the primaries to stick us with a loser. They knew he was a loser candidate, and that most republicans would have to hold their nose if they had to vote for him. In the end, as painful as each day of the Obama regime is, Obama is the best thing that could have happened to conservatism. Had McCain won, we'd be back to the old style, pre-Reagan republican party, which was indistinguishable from the democrats. Having this commie overtly trying to change America into a socialist state has awakened Americans like nothing else could have. Hold your nose and have another eggnog, more nog than egg, and say, "Thanks Barry".

    • AnimalFarm

      Totally agree with you in that Bush was no conservative. He tried to out-democrat the democrats. Colin Powell is a RINO, but Michael Bloomberg is just a true, dyed in the wool liberal, who's had -D -R and -I after his name. If there was a Poop party, he'd switch to that if it got him elected, so he doesn't count. Our job now is to make sure true conservatives get elected, not just a -R after a name. McCain, had he been elected, would have been far more damaging than Obama in the sense that it would all have looked the same, R or D. Like bitter medicine, Obama will be responsible for the rise of conservatism and a re-awakening to American greatness.

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      thank you and if we have only a de facto system we have at some point a camp system and down the road a mass murder nation which willonly have enslaved people.

    • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

      Thank you, Fred Dawes. I could not agree with you more… GOPs and Demicans are just two wings of the same Bilderberg party. As Dr. Savage put it, after 8 years of GOP's doing the system, it is the turn for Demicans and vice versa. They both committed a treason seating their Manchurian "president". Both parties must be destroyed as parasites which almost completely consumed the nation. No injection of healthy "conservatives" would help. And where are those "conservatives"? They all silently submitted to the impostor and agree to allow him to stay the full term….

  • Kevin Stroup

    Can anyone tell me when spending was under control when the Republicans were in charge? Can anyone tell me when the Republicans actually decreased the overall number of government employees? The Republican Partry is a joke, a sick, pathetic alternative to the Socialist Democrats. Wow, some choice.

  • nomalmohere

    I haven't given money to the RNC because it's run by RINO's like Steele. Do we even need an RNC?

    • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

      No, we don't! GOP and Demicans must be thrown into a dustbin…

  • http://www.fightinwords.us Walter Scott Hudson

    Frankly, I haven't followed Michael Steele enough to have an informed opinion. From my perspective as a Tea Party activist, the leadership of the RNC has been a relatively insignificant factor in the turn of the political tide – as you note.

    That said, I think what Steele was trying to do should not be discounted. I get why you find those pictures with interns embarrassing. I agree that the issues and arguments are of greater importance than trendiness or pop culture relevance. However, conservatives in general, and Republicans in particular, cannot expect to secure power (and thus the ability to affect public policy) without finding a way to garnish the message with something sexy. Marketing is a genuine necessity, and we can't be prudish about it.

    Don't get me wrong. We must not compromise on principle. However, we can't get by continuing to appeal strictly to the same old crowd. We have to make inroads in younger and more ethnically diverse communities. We have solutions to their problems. But we have to get their attention before they'll hear them out.

    • bdouglasaf1980

      You are correct. We must not compromise on principle. Steele's biggest mistake was putting in the appearances of compromise. He tried to appeal to people the way the democrats did. He injected racism into the mix. All that diminished his appeal. That said, I don't think the party leadership is ready for real grass roots change. That is way, like you, I will not support the national level republican party. He turned off his base without energizing anyone.

      We need smart marketing that makes our case very strongly.

      My question is, how do you make inroads into ethnic groups that support the democrat party 85 to 90% without them simply seeing you as the bad guy or a sellout? How do you overcome such onesidedness? How do you make people realize giving them something is actually bad? These are the brutal questions that must be answered.

      • http://www.fightinwords.us Walter Scott Hudson

        Good questions. I think you start by finding those within the community who are already inclined toward conservative principles, whether they know it or not. Not everyone lives on handouts or rejects the principles of hard work, family, and individual liberty. It may only be 10% or 20%. But that's a start. You get the shoehorn in there and pry.

  • USMCSniper

    Michael Steele didn’t steer the Republican Party toward victory in 2010 so much as he hitched a ride while forces beyond his control swept the election toward its inevitable conclusion. He may try to hang on and even play the race card if it gets nasty.

  • AnimalFarm

    I've always had a healthy dose of respect for Michael Steele, but we need a different chairman for the RNC. Sarah Palin would be a good choice. She's able to energize the base, raise funds for candidates, she resonates. She should forget running for POTUS,
    I think she could do a lot of good as chairman.

  • AL__
  • suprkufrB

    There's idealism, and then there's reality. If there's one thing I've managed to learn during my seventy year stay on this planet, it's that islam is inherently evil, and that its unwavering goal is to impose the world caliphate upon free peoples everywhere, in the process snuffing out any vestigial manifestation of the decency and tolerance we in the free world have come to value so greatly.
    Put simply, it's us or they. Sleepers awake!