Republicans now party of Steele

Well, that’s one less statewide candidate the Maryland GOP has for consideration.

Needless to say, much of the mainstream media spin is that Michael Steele is the first black GOP head and was the most moderate of the five candidates who were formally nominated today. I damn well hope that the color of his skin had nothing to do with his appeal (and it probably didn’t) but certainly that will be the way this event is reported.

In a five-candidate race, Michael began in second place after the first balloting behind incumbent Chair Mike Duncan, but caught up to Duncan on the second ballot. Steele took the lead on ballot number three, which is when Mike saw the writing on the wall and bowed out. Subsequent ballots saw the perennial last-place candidate Ken Blackwell fold up his tent and endorse Steele after the fourth go-round and Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis drop out after the fifth.

In the end, Steele polled 91 votes to Katon Dawson’s 77, enabling him to finally win on ballot six.

So we have a guy from Maryland running the Grand Old Party. What does that mean for our state?

Obviously it takes Steele out of contention for 2010. And with signs pointing to Senator Mikulski making a re-election bid next year, it’s likely we’ll not see a very strong contender from our side this time around. The state party may decide to put all of its marbles on a possible Bob Ehrlich-Martin O’Malley rematch for Governor; however if you believe this post on Joe Steffen’s Darkness Rising blog Governor Ehrlich has a long uphill fundraising slog to regain the seat. It’s not like the Democrats aren’t going to lie and obfuscate their pathetic record of leadership in Maryland under O’Malley just to get whatever votes they have to count twice or make up out of thin air to win.

Probably the biggest favor Bob Ehrlich can do for Maryland Republicans is announce his intentions early, like this spring.

Granted, the Maryland GOP doesn’t have all that deep of a bench. It’s not for a lack of trying, but a good number of their players are either statewide losers or not nearly known enough to play at that level. To continue the baseball analogy, it would be like the Orioles roster was peppered with a few guys who got their cup of coffee in the bigs but struggled to succeed at Norfolk coupled with players who shone at Delmarva and Frederick but may not have been polished enough to play in Bowie, let alone the big leagues.

Obviously this isn’t to say we won’t be successful in 2010, just that the bigger push may have to come mid-decade when the Governor’s chair would be an open seat and Senator Mikulski may finally decide to retire. Pushing our House of Delegates ranks into the fifties and Senate numbers over twenty would probably rank as a successful 2010 campaign overall.

Where can Michael Steele help on that front? For one thing, he noted in his platform that:

My plan for winning the future relies on collaboration as the foundation to the road to victory.   We need to forge a new working relationship between the RNC and state and local parties that will deliver a unified message and assure an amplification of resources.  This will require constant dialogue.  It will require a free and open exchange of ideas.  And, it will require an immediate and collaborative examination with the Republican leaders of every state and the leadership of the RNC on what is and isn’t broken.  Each state Party must examine how the Republican brand, and Republican ideals, can best be advanced in their ongoing efforts to improve.  As leaders, our role is to listen to a broad universe of stakeholders, to unify around our common goals and then to create solutions that work.

And also:

Building our grassroots will be paramount to winning elections.  We must do a much better job of networking into our communities. We spend too much time talking to ourselves instead of spreading the gospel to potential believers. As a party we need to focus on the people who live and work in our districts.  We need to speak to them directly and we need to facilitate their grassroots and turnout.  We must build and energize new volunteer networks. Without them, we lack the most important means of communicating our message — word-of mouth and neighbor-to-neighbor. To that end, I plan to recruit and train 25,000 new activist leaders by 2012.  Many of these folks will become campaign managers.  Most will help organize, train and lead volunteer organizations in their communities.  Activist enthusiasm and energy has to be fed with knowledge and resources.  We will lead the way in cultivating activists through training tailored to their strengths, interests and the needs of our Party on the ground. As their enthusiasm matures into success we will continue to invest in their growth and will recognize and celebrate outstanding accomplishments annually in Washington, DC.  We need to ensure our grassroots activists never have cause to doubt the immense value we place on their contributions.

While Steele wasn’t my first choice, he seems to be a good choice. And while I’m not exactly what one would call a prototypical grassroots activist, I’m certainly not afraid to advance a conservative agenda!

So let’s hope that my assessment of the Maryland GOP is one of underpromising, and we can overdeliver both on a state and national level in 2010 – Lord knows we can’t do it soon enough!

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

2 thoughts on “Republicans now party of Steele”

  1. Once again we see through your support of Blackwell that the views are not even part of a plurality of the Republican party, let alone anything approaching a majority of the people.

    We should all take note that you have stated Steele was a “good choice”. When he lines up a roster of RINOs in 2010, I am sure you will change your tune.

  2. This is why I didn’t say Steele was the “best” choice – witness his support for Wayne Gilchrest. However, Steele ran a great campaign and obviously he’s the best known of the contenders.

    And my job is to help make conservative views those of the majority of the people. In some places we’re there, others we need to work on.

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