I had mixed feelings during the last RNC chair election. I liked Michael Steele based on his appearances on Sean Hannity and other shows. I thought he'd make a good spokesperson and I liked the fact that he was known and popular. I wasn't 100% sure about his core beliefs, but I knew him to be a strong conservative.
However, I really liked some of the other candidates, too. I wasn't familiar with all, but Saul Anuzis and Katon Dawson were two strong conservative candidates. Either one would have done an outstanding job.
I stayed fairly neutral during the selection process although I watched it closely. When it was all said and done and Steele won, I was pleased with his strong finish and thought the change would bode well for the Republican Party.
Steele has had a few ups and downs since taking the helm. Being the RNC Chairman means having every little thing you say parsed to the nth degree. Steele was used to being controversial. His role on talk shows was to spice things up, debate and provoke. Not so with the position he's in now. He has to talk smooth, not ruffle feathers (unless they're Democratic plumes) and pull everyone in the Party together.
Pulling all the various factions in the Republican Party together is not an easy task as anyone on "our" side knows. Herding cats is an oft-used phrase that pops into conversations dealing with pulling us all together.
Conservatives are principled and generally don't like to compromise on their principles. It's easy for us to love our brother, but not so easy to vote for him if his views on abortion are different than ours. It's easy to embrace and try to convert our agnostic sister, but impossible for some to vote for her.
There's a lot of debate going on right now in the Party. Big tent or straight and narrow? Follow the Ronald Reagan path or broaden into moderate territory? Win at any cost or take a chance on losing by sticking with conservative principles?
I'm one who falls into the stick with your true conservative principles court. What's the point of winning the battle (election) if we lose the war (our country, our principles)?
I'm still not exactly sure where Steele falls on all the various issues I raised above. He has certainly stirred the pot in some pretty negative ways. You don't go after Rush Limbaugh and expect to win many friends. Even those who don't like him know he is a powerhouse and he speaks straight.
Steele's recent comments on abortion have another faction up in arms. Can't say I blame them. I am pro-life. Strongly. However, I don't think it should be the ONLY issue we use as a yardstick for measuring the worth of our candidates. It's a tough one though. If someone ran and said they were pro-murder, there is no way anyone, left or right of the great divide, would vote for them.
There's isn't much in the way of middle ground on the abortion issue, which is why it's like storming through a well-seeded field of land mines. No way you're not going to step on one.
I have a friend who loves Ronald Reagan. She has a room devoted to him and a huge bust of him that you see as you walk in her front door. She is pro-choice. She is as conservative as you can get except in that one area. She bleeds red, white and blue. She keeps her mouth shut when the issue comes up and knows she'll never be able to run for office as long as she holds her current view on abortion. Should we kick her out of the Party? I don't think so.
Despite the early controversy I'm still pulling for Steele. I think he has a lot to learn and he has to reshape his way of thinking when it comes to speaking. I am still very open minded and optimistic. He needs to get his act together fairly quickly though if we're going to be successful in the next round of elections.
Despite Steele's rough start, many in GOP optimistic
The new party chair has been mired in internal feuds, but expectations for next elections are building.