In my endorsement of Ken Blackwell yesterday, I decided to leave the other candidates out of it and reserve my comments on why I didn’t endorse the other candidates for another day.
As I make these comments, I don’t think any of these guys are bad people who’ll destroy the party, but they’re the wrong choice to build it back up. Here are my reasons for my non-endorsements.
Chip Saltsman and Katon Dawson: I actually like both of these guys. I think they’ve been given a bum rap on some dubious racial charges. That said, I don’t think they seriously have a shot at taking the job. The RNC doesn’t want the media to have a “racist” RNC Chairman meme to run with the next two to four years, no matter how flimsy charge.
Mike Duncan: Want to send America and the GOP base a message that you’ve learned nothing from losing seven (probably eight) senate seats and twenty-one house seats? Try re-electing the same Senate leader, the same House leader, and then to top it off, put the same guy back in charge of the RNC. Duncan’s run is unprecedented and that it has a chance to succeed shows how troubled the GOP. We need fresh blood.
Saul Anuzis: Saul Anuzis knows how to use Twitter. So do you several other million people. The challenge is not to use new technology but to leverage as a tool for political success. Can Anuzis do that? Judging by the results of his leadership in Michigan I have to say no. Show me that you can turn around a state before you try and argue that you can change the course of the national party.
Michael Steele: I like Michael Steele, but his leader on the moderate “Republican Leadership Council” as well as his response to being challenged on it are trouble for his candidacy. Nothing has really changed what I wrote a month ago, quoting Steele’s own comment to CBN News:
Wake up people. I mean, what are you going to do? Are you going to kick these folks out of the party? I have watched this party self disintegrate for the last four or five years. I’ve watched this party isolate itself from itself.
This may be a unique opportunity to build a relationship or a bridge between the conservatives and the moderates in our party and so she asked me to serve on her board and I said well this will be good. It’ll be a pro-life conservative voice on a board with a pro-choice leadership that is looking to elect moderates. We have to elect moderates in the party.
For all you little folks out there who think that you’ve got me on this: you don’t. My being on this board had nothing to do with lessening my conservative values or somehow appeasing them or compromising them. It had everything to do with reasserting them.
Let me give a conservative assessment: What Steele said here is the equivalent of John McCain’s GOPAC statement: “Calm down.” Ultimately, this doesn’t explain the objection. In the video, he compares his service on the board of the Republican Leadership Council to appearing on Bill Maher. Bill Maher isn’t a Republican moderate who aims to “reclaim the Republican Party.” Nor to go on Bill Maher does it require you partner up with Planned Parenthood and the Log Cabin Republicans.
Steele will enter with far more mistrust than any candidate than perhaps Duncan. We don’t need a party chairman that the base of the party is lukewarm to.
Other than winning one election of his own in Maryland in a Republican year (2002), he has no real track record of success to indicate that he’ll be able to rally the GOP base in the same way that Blackwell would.