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Republican National Committee elects first Black Chairman to lead the ‘Party of Lincoln!’

With the world still reveling in the afterglow of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American to hold office as President of the United States, the Republican Party has taken unique steps in its own right to change the face and tone of the modern day ‘Party of Lincoln.’

Michael S. Steele at 2008 Republican Natl Convention
Michael S. Steele at 2008 Republican National Convention

Michael S. Steele, former lieutenant governor of Maryland, was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 30. He is the first African American to ever hold this position. Prior to his elevation to RNC Chairman, Steele served as chairman of GOPAC and worked as a partner at the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf.

He was elected and served as Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007. Steele was the first African American to hold a state-wide office in Maryland and the first Republican lieutenant governor in Maryland’s history. During his tenure as lieutenant governor, he was the highest-ranking African American elected official in the United States.

With the election of the new Republican National Committee chairman, the Republican Party leadership hopes to begin making strides in renewing itself and reasserting itself as a relevant voice of America. The fact that Steele was elected over several more traditional candidates is seen as a sign that the GOP is getting on board the “change” train and sending a message that they can be moderate and sane. Some have asserted that this “change” would allow the party to expand its appeal beyond  adherents of intolerance, Toby Keith fans and religious conservatives, which many had criticized it has having catered to too heavily at the expense of its moderate members.

Michael S. Steele, newly elected RNC Chair
Michael S. Steele, newly elected RNC Chair

Steele is known as a moderate voice in the Republican Party circles. He was well aware he was an outsider at the election. He was considered an outsider because of his politics. He is a moderate Republican who isn’t a member of the RNC. He has been criticized for being Republican in name only. He created a stir when he publicly upbraided President Bush for his handling of the Iraq War and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Steele faced stiff opposition from several more traditional candidates. Incumbent committee chair Mike Duncan lost his steam after the first round of voting and dropping out. The race came down to Steele and Katon Dawson, head of the  South Carolina Republican Party, who represents a view of the Republican party more in step with the Bush administration.

The turning point for Steele came when his only African-American rival, Ken Blackwell, dropped out of the race after the fourth vote and endorsed Steele. Blackwell and Steele might get grouped together because they’re both black Republicans, but Blackwell is far more conservative, and his endorsement was a big win at a crucial time.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele was chosen over several candidates in this writer’s opinion because some refuse to accept diversity in this nation of ours and still believe President Obama was elected only because he is just a fad.

    Instead of truly looking at their recent and past failures, the Republican Party took the trendy approach and selected a black man as its leader believing that change will come to their party and people will follow him because of his skin color.

    The past GOP chairman quit because he states that the winds have changed and a black chairman might help to resurrect the Republican Party.

    America, this is why the Republican Party is continuing to die a quick death. It always looks for the quick fix in every approach it takes whether by going to war in Iraq or this mess in choosing a black man to head its party, regardless of whether he is qualified or not.

    Republicans wake up! The American people have spoken and chose change, qualifications and honor over the usual suspects and the same way of doing business!

    If Obama would have been a white man with the same qualifications and speaking the same way about a plan for changing our nation, people would have still voted for him.

  2. Totally disagree with both of you. Steele is a great conservative and has had issues with Bush over some of his “Moderate” decisions and leanings. Michael was very outspoken about these issues. As I watched election coverage I was struck by how much more conservative and qualified Steele was compared to McCain.

    Secondly, I have issues with the accusation that they are hopping on a fad. I think all Americans need to understand that this election of an African American was nowhere as historic as it should of been. The fact that everyone made such a huge issue about him being black shows us that we have a long way to go. It will be a historic day when no one cares if he is black! Then we will have true equality.

    Next, I will have to disagree with that the American people voted for change. Poll after Poll showed that the vast majority of people knew nothing about President Obama, but were feed up with President Bush. They didnt vote for President Obama because he was the right guy, they voted for him in protest to several republican issues that were never addressed.

    Lastly, people would not of voted for Obama if he had been white! President Obama was elevated to “messiah” status by the Media. His election had more to do with their bias then his electability. He has a horrible voting record, he is the least qualified person to ever run for President, he stands on the wrong side of issues that face most middle class Americans, promoted at one time partial birth abortion, abolishment of the 2nd Admendment, raising of taxes, and many other issues that clouded his character. People voted for him because the media with their hiden agenda told every one he is a God. In the NY TIMES they had an article with his picture and an arrow that said “OH MY GOD”. In other places he was referenced as a savior, and still other places referenced as a reformer similiar to Jesus Christ.

    THE SAINT

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