Some Obligatory Advice For And About Michael Steele

I supported Michael Steele when he ran for the RNC Chair, supported him after, and still support him. After watching how things have played out over the last few weeks, let me say something, first to the people that don’t like Steele and then to Steele.

First of all, for the people wondering about Steele: He’s not doing a terrible job as chairman. He is doing a pretty good job of raising money and he’s also generally a good spokesman, despite the occasional missteps. He also did a great job of cleaning house at the RNC and finally under his leadership, for the first time, the RNC is moving out to the cutting edge on the technology and new media front.

Let me also add that the lesbian bondage themed mini-scandal, despite being funny, has been very overplayed. Essentially, some jerk over reached horribly by trying to expense that event to the RNC and they probably just didn’t pick it up. It’s not as if the bill said, “Scandalous lesbian fund raiser on it.” It was a screw-up, but it shouldn’t be treated as an end of the world scandal.

The reason things have blown up for Steele is in large part because he has three groups of people gunning for him. Liberals in the media hate him because he’s black and hence, they’re supposed to own him. Black men are not allowed to be Republicans in their eyes; so they’re desperate to create as many problems for him as possible, lest he succeed and lead by example.

Then there are the two groups on our side. There a lot of people on the Right who aren’t sure about Steele’s conservative credentials. They’ve been burned a lot and they simply don’t trust him. Honestly, that has more to do with the state of the Republican Party today than it does with Steele. There’s another group of people at the Republican National Committee who don’t like Steele because he’s not a committee member and he’s not Katon Dawson. These two groups are not behind all the criticism from the Right, there certainly have been some good reasons to beat up on Steele –: but every time there’s some minor kerfluffle, these two groups, along with the liberal media, hype things up to the max.

However, here’s the issue: You’re not going to be able to get rid of Michael Steele before the election. Heck, even after the election it may not be as easy as some people think. Keep in mind that we’re going to have a winning year and people don’t like to change horses in mid-stream right after a victory. So, all these “We’ve got to get rid of Steele” complaints aren’t accomplishing anything and, barring some sort of cataclysmic scandal, they’re not even going to be practical to discuss until after the election. Let me also add, that if we were getting rid of the heads of the NRSC, NRCC, and RNC, Steele would be the last one I would fire.

That being said, Steele has really not helped himself in some areas. He had some trouble switching his thinking from TV commentator to RNC chairman, doing a book tour gave people a valid reason to complain, and these race comments are getting annoying. Steele is the RNC chairman because a lot of Republicans put him there and it’s irritating to have him out there insinuating that his race may have something to do with the problems he’s having. If Republicans were racist, he wouldn’t be the RNC Chairman in the first place.

Moreover, although Steele’s done a decent job of fund raising, the perception is that he’s alienating donors and not doing a good job of keeping expenses low. Maybe some of that’s unfair — doing high end fund raising is not cheap — but the perception is damaging to the RNC and Steele needs to do a much better job of tackling it.

Long story short, there are a lot of conservatives who WANT to like Michael Steele, especially in a year when we’re going to need the RNC firing on all cylinders to take full advantage of the favorable political landscape that’s out there. Hopefully, conservatives won’t give up on Steele and Steele, for his part, will tighten up his game, acknowledge his own missteps, and bend over backwards to show people on the Right that he’s on their side.

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