When Michael Steele ran for RNC Chairman, I was behind him 100%. There were certainly other qualified candidates, but he seemed like the best selection. He understood the conservative base, he had a great personality, and we definitely needed some new blood at the RNC.
Well, Steele got the nod and his tenure at the RNC turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. Fund raising wasn’t as good as it should have been, spending was too high, he made a number of gaffes, and some of his choices of personnel left something to be desired.
All that being said, I think Michael Steele probably did a better job than most people have given him credit for.
He cleaned house at the RNC, which was really good for the organization. He helped build an outstanding New Media Department that allowed the RNC to catch up to the Democrats technologically. Although he wasn’t always perfect, he generally stood with the base against the establishment. Also, despite the fact that some people don’t like to admit it, the fact that we’ve had a black man running the RNC for 2 years was very good for the image of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.
All this is being said because Michael Steele has chosen not to run for a second term as RNC Chairman. Some people may assume that he’s not running because he couldn’t win. I’m not so sure that’s the case. In fact, I’ve had people close to the process tell me that they thought it was more likely than not that Michael Steele would win as Chairman if he ran for another term, although it would probably be an ugly pitched battle. Given that Michael Steele’s relationship with the major donors and the base has soured a bit, I think he made the right decision in deciding not to run.
At the end of the day, you can say what you like about Michael Steele, but he was the first black RNC Chair in history, he played a significant role in delivering the best election night the Republican Party had since the forties, and he’s going out on top. That’s something any man could be proud of and whatever people may think of Steele today, I hope they’ll give him a little extra credit for being willing to step aside rather than engage in a divisive fight that might weaken the party going into the 2012 election cycle.
Update #1: Well, apparently the early reports were wrong because the word is now that Steele will run…
Controversial Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who last month presided over the GOP’s biggest electoral gain since 1938, will announce tonight that he is running for reelection. FOX News has just learned that from two RNC members. Steele plans to throw his hat into the ring during a conference call with RNC members at 7:30 pm tonight, these sources have told us. Steele is said to be amused by these false reports of his retirement and intentionally kept his plans secret for the past month in order to flush out competitors for the post, FOX has learned.
I like and respect Michael Steele and really hate to have to come out against reelecting him as chair, but if anyone from the Republican National Committee happens to be reading this, the take-home line from the post is this one,
Given that Michael Steele’s relationship with the major donors and the base has soured a bit, I think he made the right decision in deciding not to run.
I’m not sure whether the initial reports were wrong or whether Steele changed his mind, but either way, the Republican party would be better off with someone else as RNC Chair.