I like it, but Steele embodies “change” a lot more than Fred does and Change is, after all, the order of the day.
“I’m extremely excited that he’s considering it,” said Scooter Clippard, a Middle Tennessee businessman who spearheaded national fundraising for the Thompson and McCain campaigns. “It’s time for a change. Fred Thompson would be the absolute best person to articulate that message for the party.”
Thompson’s appeal, his supporters say, is that he has no future presidential ambitions for himself — only for his party. The former actor is also an able communicator — once famously described as a “southern-fried Reagan” — in a party sorely in need of a new message and a new direction.
“The party’s going to be looking for a messenger. Here’s a guy who’s looking toward the future of the country, not looking to pad his resume,” former Thompson campaign staffer Bob Davis of Nashville said…
Thompson has not said anything about the RNC chairmanship publicly, but the prospect has his supporters intrigued. Even former Republican presidential nominee John McCain is in on the speculation.
Whether he’s really considering this or whether it’s his fans trying to draft him by building buzz — not unlike how he ended up running for president — I leave for you to judge. One’s preference for him, Steele, or Gingrich depends on what one thinks the GOP most desperately needs: A return to traditional conservatism, an expansion of the party’s base, or an infusion of new policy ideas, whether those ideas are especially sound or not. (Notably absent: An emphasis on managerial competence.) That’s not to suggest that any of the three couldn’t pull off more than one of the above, but we’re talking symbolism and priorities here. One possible strike against Fred: The party’s now so identified with the south that RNC members might actually consider it a liability to reinforce that impression with a chairman as overtly southern as Thompson. One possible strike for Fred: Turns out Michael Steele’s in no hurry to overturn Roe v. Wade, per his 2006 appearance on Meet the Press.
Maybe it’s as simple as asking which one you’d most like to see on TV over the next four years. They’ll all be on Hannity’s show regularly no matter what; one will simply have a little more authority than the others. Exit advice to the eventual winner: Try to avoid implicit comparisons between the opposition and South Africa’s apartheid regime.