Thursday, March 12, 2009

Should Steele Quit? Part II

I haven't been all that interested in the Michael Steele controversy, to tell the truth, mainly because I don't consider national party chairs as all that important as political actors.

Oh sure, the out-party needs leadership, and right now that's the GOP. But campaign finance reform curtailed the main source of power for the national party committees up through the 2004 election, and that was the "soft money" loophole which was closed by McCain-Feingold. The DNC and the RNC are just plain old party committees now, not huge money-laundering operations as they had been in the past, especially during the Bill Clinton years.

The other type of activities important to the parties - candidate recruitment, polling and research, and planning for the quadrennial national party conventions - are not glamorous duties, and can be performed by obscure party hacks who've worked their way up to prominence from behind the scence. Jim Nicholson is a good example. He wound up as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, after a stint as Ambassador to the Holy See. An unusual case on the Democratic side was failed 2004 presidential hopeful Howard Dean. If the former Vermont governor really deserves credit for an effective "50-state strategy," he didn't get it from the incoming Obama administration, and especially "
Rahm the Knife." If anyone earned a cabinet post in the incoming administration, Dean was primus inter pares, and especially as the HHS portfolio is concerned. It's a thankless post, the party chairmanship.

So, maybe all of the backlash facing Steele now is just one more sign of how low down is the current GOP. Outside of party operatives and the Beltway establishment, Rush Limbaugh really is the genuine leader of the conservative movement. Perhaps Steele sees the party chairmanship as a launchpad to higher office, so he's got a stake in making the position prominent and successful. But he's getting off to a really bad start.

interview at GQ certainly can't be helping his cause. I just skimmed it, but he's advocating affirmative action for "non-whites" as of that's something the GOP should be supporting! And his comments on abortion are just a disaster for himself and the party. Even if Steele attempts to "back out" of his comments later in the inteview, the whole thing comes off as an attempt to move the party to the center to attract "progressive Republicans," whatever that is.

I think
Mike Huckabee is right on when he says:

Since 1980, our party has been steadfast and principled in believing in the dignity and worth of every human life. We have supported a Constitutional amendment to protect life and the party has taken the position that no one individual has the supreme right to own another person in totality including the right to take that life. For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it's a violation of the most basic of human rights - the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I can't recall a national party chairman having been removed from the post, and I don't know what's happening with the latest rumors on Steele's possible sacking. I do think Steele's not well-suited to the job, and if he can't get his act together quickly, the national committee should cut him loose and hire a trusted and nondescript GOP functionary to take over during the rebuilding process. American politics is candidate-centered. I can't see how wasting so much time on unproductive debates helps Republicans reorganize. If right-wing media spokesmen like Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh continue to hammer Steele over the next few days, the national committee should consider make it clear that the jig is up.

See also, "Should Steele Quit?."


Righty64 said...

No, Steele should not quit! Read my thoughts. Also, a good piece over at Right Wing News by John Hawkins. Steele is trying to do the impossible and has had some bumps. Give him a chance. BTW, thanks for the plug!

dave in boca said...

I agree with Righty64 for my own reasons. Tactically, I think the MSM and Dems in general are trying to mess with the Republicans and split them in several ways. To succumb to such blatant BS such as the Carville "swing vote" not supporting Rush in his idiotic poll [what office is Rush running for?] just demonstrates a White House orchestrated attempt to attack a private citizen[s] [don't forget Hannity is another target] and vilify Jindal and Palin on style points---the Frenchified Demo-bots take style over substance ten times out of ten!

My libertarian gene understands Steele's statement on abortion, but my papist gene rejects it, because human life is sacrosanct, although the infanticide left babykillers deny this while prattling about Human Rights for all sorts of minorities. Fetuses at any given time are a minority!