Steele misses his bus stop

RNC Chair Michael Steele is claiming credit for the Republican wave in 2010, but he was just along for the ride — literally. Spending the last months of the campaign season driving around the country in a bus on his magical mystery tour, Steele may have been inhaling the spirit of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, but he sure wasn’t leading the party where it mattered — in fundraising or field operations. The only person who promised more and delivered less in the last two years was Bernie Madoff.

Taking a cue from Joe Miller (think Alaska and we don’t mean Sarah Palin’s Alaska) in an effort to defy skeptics, Steele has decided to fight on and seek re-election with the same tenacity as The Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Can Steele win? Unlikely, but he has been working on maintaining his friendships with committee members from the territories and selected GOP state parties in Democratic strongholds, so it is possible for him to garner the 85 votes needed to secure re-election. We’re more certain that two more years of Steele at the helm would make the Republican National Committee irrelevant in 2012 and beyond thanks to donor fury.

With President Obama capable of raising close to $1 billion for his re-election bid, the GOP will need all hands on deck if it is going to win the White House and the Senate. This means the next RNC chair will have his or her hands full focusing on three items:

Job number one will be to smooth over donor relations in an effort to raise funds for 2012, while simultaneously paying down an ever-growing party debt. It’s a daunting task that would make former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan quiver, and we don’t mean like Chris Matthews.

The second order of business will be to boost state parties in 2012 battleground states (e.g., Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania). Once the Obama tax plan has been approved by Congress, Axelrod and Co. will be mining these states for votes in a P.R. blitz that would make any Hollywood agent jealous. The GOP must prepare for Democratic incursions in these states, and it must start now. 2012 will be all about “Main Street,” Middle America and Florida, and the White House knows it.

The final task will be to organize the most successful get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operation in history. In 2010, despite Republican gains across the country, this is where the party most missed the mark — it fell short of converting enthusiasm into voter turnout. The GOP cannot make the same mistake twice, because if it does, it may not only find itself locked out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but it could be bounced out of the House as well.

Leading up to 2012, the RNC needs a new game plan, a renewed energy and a leader who can focus the story without becoming the story.

Ford O’Connell and Steve Pearson are the co-founders of ProjectVirginia and CivicForumPAC.

  • ringbell

    Who cares if Steele is or is not Chair for the RNC? Better yet let’s put the Republican Party out of our collective misery. Just look at all their votes for the “Obama Tax Cuts” Being a Republican is like joining a fraternity of nerds. You don,t want to be seen with them. They are never going to date a good looking girl or be the class validictorian. They voluntarily sit at the back of the bus. They have no guts, no sole and no vision, and will black ball any pledge who does. They rcan only ring their hands and say “golly gee.”

  • Newly Minted


    What we really need is some spine in the Republicans in the lame duck session right now. This horrible spending bill in front of now needs to be defeated now. Any Republican who votes for it will lose my trust forever.

    Spending has to stop. Period. No discussions. End it. No talk about “emergencies” or whatever. The money’s there for unemployment coverage in Obama’s reelection slush fund know as the unspent “stimulus” money.

    If the Republicans fail to deliver radical change in the new Congress, it’s over for both the party and the country.

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