Michael Steele RNC chair
Michael Steele is now the RNC Chair.
Congratulations to Mr. Steele!
Michael Steele makes history as the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee, and as a rare winner — at least in part — of an outside game in what is usually an insider’s contest. He won with 91 votes, 6 more than he needed, over South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson.
Steele’s victory also marks a decision by some GOP leaders that to elect a man associated with an all-white country club — when America just elected a black president, and the GOP itself runs a risk of being branded an all-white club — was too big a risk to run.
Steele ran in large part on his ability to rebrand the party and to do battle on cable news. Though he is, in fact, quite conservative for the spectrum of American politics, he wasn’t the conservative choice, and his win marks a real defeat for elements of the party’s conservative wing. For younger Republicans and those seeking a dramatic break from the past, he was the choice, and his win suggests that the party is emerging from the phase of denying that, in the wake of its 2008 rout, it has a problem.
For the duration of his campaign, Steele fought perceptions that he was too moderate to lead the party because of his blue state roots and his former membership in the Republican Leadership Council, a group that sought to curb the influence of social conservatives in the party.
“I’m proud to say I’m a conservative, have been, always will be,” Steele told CNN earlier this month. “So this notion that I’m a moderate is slightly overblown, and quite frankly a lie.”
Steele brings a national profile to the committee, having shot to fame in the political world during an underdog Senate bid in 2006 distinguished by a series of clever TV commercials. He has since become a fixture on cable talk shows, experience that boosted up his reputation as the best communicator among the field of RNC candidates.
I for one, am delighted he won.
Via Larwyn, In a Tough Time, GOP Turns to Man of Steele