There’s a couple other things I’d like to get to, but for tonight I’ll stick with the RNC debate I liveblogged earlier today. Rather than try to copy-and-paste a long transcript, you can just go here and hit “replay”.
It was the first time I’d ever tried liveblogging and I thought I managed it pretty well for the most part. Probably the hardest thing was trying to pay attention to what was being said and also the comments coming in. I only had 2 or 3 different commentors so it wasn’t really difficult once I got the feel for watching the column where comments are shown for approval. But that’s why you have comment blocks instead of their being dispersed closer to real time. Now I know.
In a way I’m sort of glad I didn’t have a giant audience – maybe it was 6 or 8 at most. Then again, people can go back and reread it anytime so there may be more who see the post. As I noted in my introduction, who’s brilliant idea was it to place the debate at the same time Rush was on?
The consensus of those voting in my liveblog poll was split 50-50 between Ken Blackwell and Michael Steele winning the debate. Personally I though Blackwell did the best while Michael Steele didn’t really take advantage of the hometown crowd as much. Saul Anuzis had his moments as did Chip Saltsman. I really didn’t care much for Mike Duncan because he had the opportunity to do these things he was suggesting beforehand and didn’t take advantage – it’s time for new blood in my opinion.
As for the form of the debate itself, I really wasn’t enthused about the “lightning round” questions, nor was I big on all the references to Facebook and other social networking sites. Certainly they will be helpful but if you don’t have a message they won’t matter. Ron Paul pretty much owned the internet insofar as the GOP went and we see how far he got.
I just got an e-mail from the Media Research Center and they’ve made a choice in the race. It may not be all that popular in these parts, but here you are:
The Republican Party needs to be rebuilt. It needs to be reconnected to the conservative principles that made it the majority Party in Washington.
And we have at this important moment a genuine opportunity to affect the direction the Party will take in the years to come. The election of the next Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair will take place at their meeting at the end of this month. Who they choose will determine the future of the Party, and for conservatives and our country this decision could not be more important.
Last Friday, conservative leaders representing some forty different organizations met. These leaders represent a broad cross-section of the conservative movement. One attendee, Virginia Republican National Committeeman Morton Blackwell, had prepared and distributed a list of questions for the RNC Chair candidates to help determine who would be best suited to move the Party forward. (The 37 questions and the six candidates’ answers can be found at Townhall.com.)
All of the candidates responded to the questions, and all made an effort to promote the conservative cause. Each would be a fine choice to lead the important RNC rebuilding effort.
But after our review of the candidates’ answers and a discussion of their other qualifications, my colleagues and I announced our support of Ken Blackwell — and urged the 168 members of the RNC to elect him at their late-January meeting.
We face many challenges in the weeks, months and years ahead. We need a strong, focused, conservative Republican Party engaged in the fight. I think Ken Blackwell is the person to lead this charge.
Ken Blackwell has been a principled Reagan Republican his entire life and career. He ran and successfully served the people of Ohio in multiple capacities as an unquestioned and unapologetic conservative. He has long been a leader in the conservative movement, both nationally and in growing it from the ground up with his involvement with state level organizations throughout the country. He has been a tremendously successful entrepreneur, and is a stalwart champion of the free market.
He is a man of unquestioned integrity. He will be an outstanding RNC Chair.
I think either Blackwell or Steele is going to win. The letter from the MRC asked us to contact our state committee representatives to urge them to vote for Ken Blackwell, but that’s not happening in Maryland, no way no how.
In thinking about this race, I believe that the kingmaker is going to be Mike Duncan. Certainly the “establishment” Republicans will be behind him, and it’s probably not going to be a situation where any candidate wins on the first ballot because there’s six running. However, I see Duncan as a strong enough third to have his supporters be a sizable bloc which can make or break either candidate – my guess is they’d go for Steele as their second choice. The longer voting goes, the more chance that Michael Steele will be seen as a compromise candidate who straddles the line between the rabid conservatives who seem to be lining up behind Blackwell and the establishment Beltway GOP.
I’ll place myself out on a limb and say that if there’s only one ballot, Blackwell wins. But if they need a second ballot or more, eventually Steele will be the victor. In either case, we need someone who will take the fight to our liberal enemy and stand up to those in the party who want it to drift toward the center.
Over the last 30 years or so, the center of the country has actually shifted rightward. This is no time for a course reversal, but an acceleration in those places where we can achieve the desired results. The winner needs to hit the ground running for 2010 because there’s little time to waste.