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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Steele Fights to Maintain RNC Chairmanship

Bill Smith, Editor: Fred Lucas covers the present competition to replace Michael Steele as RNC Chairman in the below article. But first a few comments as an activist working in the trenches supporting the conservative cause and candidates during the last year. In summary, I did not find Steele making our job easier. He had too many personal distractions and while lucid before the cameras and continuously seeking money, he failed to share a strong message with the public or with new media activists. I was pleased to have had him contribute two articles for the ARRA News Service. But on the whole little information of worth reached us from Chairman Steele.

Fortunately, across our nation most State Republican Chairpersons took their job very seriously. They, the county committees, the candidates, independent groups and organizations, Tea Parties, and new media activists advanced the message far more than the RNC lead by Michael Steele.

Efforts by various PACs, independent and Republican, did well in sharing information and keeping people informed as to why people should give and be involved. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) leadership and staffs did far better than in years past and worked closely with grassroots political activists. And these efforts paid off with good relevant articles on candidates and issues.

TEA Parties and national organizations like Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, and many more did wonders in addressing issues and used the new media to help get their message out to the public. People like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Mike Pence, Herman Cain, and Jim DeMint added consistent conservative voices and clear messaging. Radio and television personalities added to the mix.

Synergism occurred! And, the Republicans had great results in the 2011 elections because informed motivated voters elected more Republicans.

But this synergism was not due to the leadership of Michael Steele or the RNC. He maybe trying to take credit for the Republican victories but that argument is very shallow. The RNC staff cannot be blamed because they are constrained by the parameters of their leadership. The RNC under Steele's leadership was encumbered by Steele's personal issues and his efforts to raise funds for his own debts. The RNC provided boring emails / letters with little new information. While raising money is indeed important for Republicans at the national level, the RNC was not the motivating force behind the 2010 election success. In fact, if raising money was the only criteria to be considered, Mr. Steele would be let go by most fund raising organizations.

To win elections in a presidential year, the RNC will need to offer a more dynamic outreach to both financial contributors and to new media activists. There is a lot of competition out there looking for money. And we now know that the RNC is starting 2011 with a sizable debt. Until this debt is covered, no money will be available for messaging or candidates. Whether the RNC realizes it or not, they the new media voices far more than we would even need them.

At the 2010 Southern Leadership Conference (SRLC), almost every speaker of any note made their way too the new media room. Politicians dropped by. They were aware of the voice of the new media. However, Mr. Steele avoided the new media activist. We were only a few yards from the RNC restricted special guest lounge. We were reporting at no cost to the RNC or SRLC on events and promoting the conference. The SLRC support team / contractors working with the new media did very well. But where was Mr. Steele?

He was not interested in us or our efforts. This was a mistake on his part and a wasted opportunity to seek our assistance. Some of the new media activists had readerships close to a quarter million readers. Together, the new media activists were reaching several million each day. Our stories feeds were pulled by other sites, blogs and the "lame street" media. Why did Chairman Steele avoid us? Maybe it was because we would have asked him some very difficult questions. Which brings us to the following article:

Steele Battles Opponents in Fight to Maintain RNC Chairmanship

By Fred Lucas: ( – Michael Steele spent Monday afternoon doing what he has done for much of the past two years: fending off criticism about his job as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

“My record stands for itself,” Steele said during a debate against four other contenders for the RNC chairmanship at the National Press Club. “We won. I was asked to win elections. I was asked to raise money, $192 million over the last two years. We won. The fact that we’re here right now celebrating that win, I think says a lot about the record.”

During Steele’s term as chairman, the GOP has captured control of the House, several state houses, and captured big victories in off-year elections in 2009. But his tenure has been mired by gaffes, debt and fundraising problems. This makes his reelection by the 168-member Republican National Committee – a vote that takes place on Jan. 14 – challenging.

[View video] His opponents in the debate, which was sponsored by the Daily Caller, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Susan B. Anthony List, were former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, former RNC Deputy Chairwoman Maria Cino, former Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and former Missouri GOP Chairwoman Ann Wagner. While his opponents did not attack Steele by name, they talked about the current condition of the national party infrastructure.

“It’s time for some tough love for the Republican National Committee,” Wagner said. “How can an organization that has lost its credibility, is $20 million in debt, is steeped in mismanagement, distraction, and drama actually lead us into the next election cycle in 2012? I think it’s time for real change and a change of course in the Republican National Committee.”

Anuzis touted his management skills and fundraising experience in Michigan. He said in the dark years of 2006 and 2008, he was able to raise $29 million for the party in a blue state. “What I bring to the table is a set of unique skills that basically covers the entire spectrum of all we need for the next chairman,” Anuzis said. “I think we need somebody who will make the trains run on time. I have the political skills.”

One of the questions in the debate concerned what issue would disqualify someone from being a Republican. Most of the RNC chairman candidates said a Republican must meet the three legs of the stool of social, fiscal, and national defense conservatism. Steele affirmed that conservative principles are important, but he cautioned against a litmus test.

“I see the job of the chairman, as the standard bearer, is to one, uphold that platform, yes,” Steele said. “But to recognize everyone who comes into this party will have some problem with this platform, and it’s your responsibility and opportunity to work with them and help them want to be active and want to assume leadership. “We have to come to understand the importance of these principles and what they mean. But we cannot be a party that sits back with a litmus test that excludes,” he added.

Priebus took a somewhat firmer stance. “We are about to walk off of a fiscal cliff, and I think that the RNC chairman ought to take a chance and promote that conservative platform every time that he or she has an opportunity to do it,” Priebus said. “If we don’t have a chairman who understands that being a Republican means something, that if you’re pro-abortion, pro-stimulus, pro-GM bailout, pro-AIG, then guess what, you might not be a Republican.”

Cino, who stressed her experience at the national level, said she would not need on-the-job training. She also said that Republicans have to get in touch with the grassroots that brought them to victory in 2010. “When we lose our way on spending and taxes, when we lose our way on the deficit, we lose elections,” Cino said. “We lose voters at the ballot box. If we’ve learned anything from our friends the Tea Party, it is that we need to stay focused and we need to stay on message: cutting taxes, cutting government and reducing the deficit, it wins elections. It won in ’94. It won in 2010.”

Most of the candidates agreed on general policy matters. During a lightning round, they unanimously favored closed Republican primaries at the state level, the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, and each believed that 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin could win a general election.

Each candidate was asked to name his favorite book. Steele – struggling to maintain his leadership role despite the major victories in November – said “‘War and Peace.’ It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The phrase, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” is the first sentence in Charles Dickens’ novel “A Tale of Two Cities,” published in 1859. “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy was published in 1869.

Tags: RNC, Republican national Committee, Chairman, candidates, competition, Michael Steele To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 10:15 PM - Post Link


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