Michael Steele is the new RNC Chairman. This is big for a few reasons.
First, and most obviously, is Steele’s race. The Republican Party has nominated a female vice presidential candidate and elected a black party chairman in the past six months. These events are helping answer criticism of the GOP as the “white male” party.
Second, is that Steele has experience fighting in Maryland, a deep blue state. Republicans must be aggressive in taking on their opponents. During the Bush Administration, the party seemed content with electoral losses in blue states, reasoning that those citizens just weren’t receptive to Republican messages. That is exclusionary thinking; and even if it’s true, the party cannot admit it as such. An optimistic party chair must at least pay lip service to the belief that all Americans would be receptive to his or her message – as Howard Dean did when he launched his 50 state strategy for the DNC.
Third, Steele is an aggressive communicator, which the GOP needs if they are to remain on offense even as the minority party. The Republican Party has fallen into a rut, pointing to their past successes and resting on their laurels, quoting Ronald Reagan and pining for a return to 1985. I don’t care how fast your DeLorean goes, that just isn’t happening.
Republicans need a positive, forward-looking message that goes beyond the past and certainly goes beyond waiting for President Obama and Congressional Democrats to screw up. (This Washington Times article should be required reading for all GOP and conservative activists.) Michael Steele appears poised to bring a voice that can deliver that message.