Allahpundit gave the election of Michael Steele as RNC chair great coverage on Friday, and I’d like to add my congratulations to both Mr. Steele and the RNC. The election got conducted in a public, open manner, with several good candidates vying for the position. Despite some early nastiness, the final few weeks of the debate focused entirely on the issues surrounding the Republican Party’s two successive electoral losses and how to rebuild the GOP back to a competitive position across the country.
I have to admit that I lost interest in the competition early in the process, mostly because the candidates all seemed to have realized that the organization needed a complete technological makeover. Any of them would have done a credible job on the inside of the RNC. I’d say that a change was necessary, though, which means that the RNC needed to say goodbye to Mike Duncan and try new leadership for new results. Otherwise, the RNC had a slate of great candidates.
However, only one of them really had the national reach necessary for a party in the wilderness. The GOP has no national leader in a political position. If Republicans controlled the House, it would be John Boehner; if the Senate, Mitch McConnell; the White House, John McCain. Without a national presence that can control the flow of legislation or agency enforcement, the RNC had to find a national chair who could provide a recognizable face and be at ease in the role of party spokesperson. Of all the candidates, Steele alone fills that bill — and does so naturally. He will provide an eloquent and welcoming presence in the national media for Republicans at a time when they need both to rebuild their strength as a big-tent party.
It took a few ballots, but the RNC finally recognized that need in electing Michael Steele. I believe Republicans will find themselves very happy to have Steele as our representative on a variety of issues during the opening months of the Obama administration.