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Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Posted by: MichaelW on Friday, January 30, 2009

Congratulations to Michale Steele for winning a tough race for the RNC Chair. It took several votes, but I think the RNC made a good choice:
Meet the new chairman of the Republican National Committee: Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, who defeated South Carolina party chairman Katon Dawson by a 91-77 margin on the sixth ballot.

"As a little boy growing up in this town — this is awesome," Steele said bluntly in accepting his victory.

Steele came six votes shy of the magic number 85 on the fifth ballot, and was able to get over the top after Michigan chairman Saul Anuzis dropped out to make it a clear two-man race. Steele is now the first African-American chairman of the RNC.
I don't know a whole lot about the other candidates except that Chip Saltsman proved himself to be politically tone-deaf (regardless of being unfairly treated in the process), and that allegations surrounding Katon Dawson (which appear to be unfounded) would only serve to cement the view of the Republican Party as the home of racism.

Michael Steele, on the other hand, served as Lt. Governor in Maryland, and I'm familiar with his stances on things like taxes, spending and government intrusion into people's lives. He tends to be against the government getting too involved although he has been in favor of affirmative action in the market place, as well some SoCon positions. He's not a libertarian's dream by any stretch of the imagination, but I think he's a good enough friend of freedom to help steer the GOP back towards small-government principles. Of course, now that he's in charge, he may prove to be just like every other pol.

The big story, naturally, will be that the RNC elected an African-American as its chair, the first time that has ever happened (for either party, I believe). I think that's great, but I am doubtful that it will make much difference. Having Colin Powell and Condi Rice appointed to powerful positions in the Bush Administration never did anything for the GOP, so I'm not sure why having a black RNC chief would do more. Nevertheless, it does bespeak of change within the Party, and that's probably a good thing. Many black people are actually pretty socially conservative, and it would seem that they would feel much more at home in the GOP. However, Republicans have been so successfully branded as the party of racists that its somewhat understandable why blacks shun it en masse.

In any case, I think the RNC chose well this time. Now we'll just have to see how he performs. Good luck, Chairman Steele.
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