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Steele Confirms RNC Interest

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) confirmed Sunday that he is interested in replacing Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

"We're looking at it, having not had any serious conversations as of yet," Steele said during an appearance on C-Span's Washington Journal. He added that his experience as a Senate candidate against Rep. Ben Cardin (D) this year confirmed that "it's time for the party to rethink its views, how we move forward, how we position ourselves."

Steele ran an effective campaign as a change agent against the longtime legislator Cardin, but was ultimately unable to overcome both the Democratic nature of Maryland and the strongly Democratic national political atmosphere.

Mehlman, who announced he would not return to the RNC late last week, made outreach to the black community one of the hallmarks of his time at the RNC, and Steele, who is African American, would make a logical successor to continue that effort.

In that vein, Steele decried the GOP's so-called "southern strategy" -- the use of hot-button racial issues to lure southern white voters to the Republican Party -- a tactic first employed by President Richard Nixon in 1968. "It has been a continual process since 1992 of the breakdown of that southern strategy and what has to happen is our party, like the Democrat party, not only has to stand for ideas, it also has to stand on principle, and it has to put into action things that touch the people of this country in a real way," said Steele. (Mehlman, too, has repudiated the southern strategy.)

Other names being mentioned for the RNC post are Mary Matalin, a former senior adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, and Maria Cino, a longtime RNC operative.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 13, 2006; 8:04 AM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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Comments

Cheryl: I find your history a bit convenient, and your comment "(you can find this bit of history from research)" a bit cavalier. You didn't "toss facts into the mist (Mix?)" You muddied the waters, if anybody took those facts at face value.

The only thing I can find in a number of searches about MLK voting for Eisenhower all go back to one source - the National Black Republican Association. A little too convenient.

Especially as other parts of the same material are inaccurate or at best poorly worded. You have to question the accuracy of the author when the history is so slanted and there are technical errors.

You're going to have to provide a valid historical soucre for me to buy your statement. The NBRA doesn't qualify.

Also, Constitutional Amendments are passed by the Congress and mean nothing unless they are ratified by the states. The Presidents have little control over their ratification.

Fact: the XIII and XIV Amendments were passed while a Republican and a Democrat were President, respectively; and both were ratified while a Democrat was President. Not what you posted as a "fact."

Lastly, frankly I don't care whether or not Dr. King was a Republican or a Democrat. His cause transcended politics. Politics was part the world in which he had to work. He should have been apolitical.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 13, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Cheryl Collins.... You said "If the Democrats are so angry at the term Religious Right and want to keep the church out of politics, how come Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry have been preaching at churches? Sounds like a bunch of hypocrites to me.
Any explanation on this abuse of churches by the Democrats?"

One thing is for sure, you don't catch Bush or Cheney in church, they save all of their church for power politics.

Pleeeeeze, preaching or attending church isn't the same thing as passing laws placing religion in government... BIG difference.

Ron, glad to see you are passionately defending Steele.... good for you. You'll find many of our politicos have overcome difficult circumstances, Harry Reid and Gov. Vilsack come to mind. To me, though, that isn't a qualification for governing. It's how one applies their life experiences that counts.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 13, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter: Your 1:30pm post has to do with what I have been saying for so long now. The Clintons, IMO, feel betrayed by Gore in that he choose Leiberman as his running mate, who in fact was the chief critic of Bubba and to make matters worse Gore choose to distance himself from Bubba in the campaign and in doing so lost the best political mind this country has ever seen. That is why I have stated in the past Gore was handed the POTUS on a silver platter and blew it by these choices that he made.

Posted by: lylepink | November 13, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Rufus: Playing fast and lose with the facts again, I see.

Yes, the Democrats lost 72 seats in 1938. The country's resounding rejection of the New Deal gave Republicans a commanding House majority of, uh, wait a minute, even AFTER losing 72 seats the Democrats controlled the House 262-169.

The country's rejection of FDR's policies continued in 1940, when he was defeated for reelection, uh, I mean in 1944, when he was defeated for reelection, uh, oops. Never mind.

Nice try Rufus. Stick to current events, little boy.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | November 13, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

RL:

Don't be sure about Anthony Brown not getting the nod to run for state-wide office - he probably impressed me more than any other candidate running in MD this cycle. If he is able to/allowed to accomplish anything as Lt. Governor, he will be a very powerful candidate, more electable than Mfume because from what I can tell, he doesn't have a lot of baggage. Mfume might have won against Steele because of the general political environment, but his candidacy would have been a hey-day for the Republicans and a nightmare for the Democrats. I think Mfume would have been great and he certainly has the charisma, but talk about skeletons!

Posted by: star11 | November 13, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

So much hate towards Steele. The fact is, Abe Lincoln could not have won in MD in 06; he's a Repub. LOTS of good GOP candidates (including Gov. Ehrlich, who had a 60% approval rating) lost because of voter disgust with Bush and Iraq. I'm STILL waiting for someone to tell me what achievements Rep. Cardin can claim in his decades of service, but no matter, he won and we're stuck with him until John Sarbanes is ready to reclaim the family business. My point is this: there are racists in both parties. Look at the Dems taking shots at Steele with the "where would he be if he weren't black" tack. And we know all about the Southern Strategy (whic, BTW, was almost 40 years ago, and is about as relevant as Strom Thurmond, who is dead). Blacks voting for Dems in a kneejerk fashion only empower Dem racists. Whatever Anthony Brown's qualifications, you can be sure he will never win a statewide nomination -- because the MD Dem organization will get the Dem financiers to back the Dem org candidate, just as they did with Mfume. I think MOM will run for Mikulski's seat in 2016 (or 2010), and Doug Gansler will run for Gov. when MOM gets tired of Annapolis. (Maybe that was the payoff for Brown -- that he could be Gov. in 2010 when MOM runs for the Senate -- but there's no way Doug Gansler puts his ambitions on hold past 2012.) being Dems is the only relevant qualification in MD (as it is in DC), so they will of course win.

Posted by: RL | November 13, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) gets the post. Not sure about the choice but it is a nod to Hispanics and the importance of trying to win their votes.

Posted by: gomer | November 13, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, here is a bit of homework to back up my statements. Martin Luther King voted for Eisenhower in 1952, because of his disgust at being taken for granted by the Dems. (you can find this bit of history from research)

Also, Mississippi sent the first black US Senators to Congress, look up the names Hiriam Revels and Blance Bruce. (both are men who worked their way up into being well-respected by the Republican party) Plus you can do some research into over 20 black Republicans elected to Congress from the South right after reconstruction, from 1870 until the 1920's.
PSB Pinchback was elected as Lt Gov, and he was the first black governor when the elected executive was removed from office. More research shows that he was supported as a US Senator but the Southern Democrats blocked him from being sworn in.
Jim Crow laws were created by Southern Democrats afraid of being under the thumb of the African-Americans.
Some of you might remember the name of Ed Brooke of Massachuetts in the 1960's and what you might not remember is that this is the guy who Hillary Clinton spoke against at her college graduation. Strange to see that speaking against African-Americans is still in vogue.
Now, riddle me this. If the Democrats are so angry at the term Religious Right and want to keep the church out of politics, how come Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry have been preaching at churches? Sounds like a bunch of hypocrites to me.
Any explanation on this abuse of churches by the Democrats?
**********Yes, and A DEMOCRAT governor of Arkansas blocked the black students from entering a school and a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT Eisenhower got the federal troops into Arkansas to protect them.
*********Look up the amendments to the US Constitution, 13th and 14th, and they were passed under a Republican President with support from Republicans.
As long as we are debating history, I tossed a few facts into the mist.

Posted by: Cheryl Collins | November 13, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

It us completely understandable that the RNC would want Steele for its chairperson, despite the fact that he has failed at everything he has ever done. He is charismatic and presents a good face - plus he is black. The thing I don't understand is how he has allowed himself to be completely co-opted by the Republican party - he is being used by them and I am not sure how he sleeps well at night knowing that. Doesn't he have more self-respect than that? Maybe he hasn't figured it out yet. It is terribly sad.

Posted by: star11 | November 13, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Steele is a personable, even charismatic, figure and the idea of centrism has appeal to some. Let's take a look at what he couldn't overcome though:

- Mike Tyson
- Don King
- Philly homeless
- the Scarlet Letter
- losing debates
- being squishy on Meet The Press
- misleading flyers/signs/bumper stickers
- segregated country clubs
- stem cell holocaust
- Steele Democrats
- Iraq War support
- Clarence Thomas worship
- didn't highlight achievements
- GWB homeboy
- illusory Oreos
- same old talking points
- etc.

Most of these were misteps of his own or of his campaign. So I would hardly call the campaign effective, except at preventing more of a loss. As far as RNC chain, it'd be nice to put a little shine on what the GOP is peddling. However, without a swing back from its present radicalism it won't make a difference.

Posted by: Lune | November 13, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Cheryl C and drindl,

A short history lesson: The Party of Lincoln sold the Afro-American residents of the South down the Mississippi by agreeing to end Reconstruction for Southern elector votes for their presidental candidate (Harrison?) over John Davis in 1876 thereby creating the solid Democratic South. The Republic Party tended after that to try to ingore the "Negro Question" as much as possible except to assert that time will heal all when pressed.
The Southern wing of the Democratic Party imposed Jim Crow and aided and abetted the terrorism under color law (the anti-lynching laws passed by most but not all of the old Conferderate states being a notable exception). However in the 1948 the Democratic Convention adopted a Civil Rights Platform for all Americans culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1966. The Platform of 1948 and those two Acts have wedded the Afro-American Votes to the Democratic Party for now and forever (not really forwever, but for a really really long time to come).
After 1966, the old Southen Democratic Party, became the New Southern Republican Party aided and abetted by the Nixon Southern Strategy which despite all protestation by Mehlman and Steele continues to this day.
When one sees a Republican nominated Afro-American run for statewide office in a state of the Old Confederacy (Virginia would count Maryland did not and does not) than one may say tlhe Southern Strategy is dead.

Posted by: A Hardwick | November 13, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your expressions, drindl. I don't know if the truth behind the flyer will ever come to light, but I was upset about it, too. It was a bad tactical decision in a close campaign and it cost him and Governor Ehrlich dearly. I don't fret as much about the workers because it's not unusual for campaigns on both sides of the fence to pay people to work the polls, and they'll bring them in from every locale imaginable. It's hard to find enough people these days to give up a full day of their lives to volunteer at the polls.

Truth Hunter, I am a new poster. I generally read the comments but don't respond because while I have deeply held beliefs, it's even more important to me because of my faith not to take offense or to offend ("If it be possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men"). I guess I should let everyone here express their views without questioning their intensity, so please accept my apologies.

There's a lot of talk about Mr. Steele's lack of experience - what are folks looking for in his background? As a former county and state party chairman, and the highest ranking elected black official in the country, it would seem to me that the RNC chairmanship would be well-suited for him. And I can't imagine a better time for someone to come in and steer the GOP in a new direction. When a party is rejected at the polls as the GOP has been, it leads to a lot of soul-searching and calls for change. Now is the time to refine the message and make it relevant to more people. Unlike some people, I don't think conservatism as a philosophy is morally or intellectually bankrupt - my parents raised me as a conservative, and they are African-American Democrats. I think the branding has to change and relevance to the lives of people outside the GOP base demonstrated. It's a challenging and exciting task, and I for one think Mr. Steele is better suited for it than the long-time party operatives who don't have his life experience. Mr. Steele was born and raised in a home with an alcoholic, abusive father who died when he was 12. He and his siblings were raised by his mother who worked two jobs to help them make it. To come out of that background and graduate from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown with his bachelors and law degree respectively, and to eventually become the lieutenant governor is something to celebrate. He can and will, if he is selected for the job, bring a different worldview to the GOP and perhaps change it for the better.

Posted by: ron | November 13, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

All,

Drindl's only "technically" incorrect, not practically. Southern Democrats were called "Dixecrats, as they regularly and routinely voted WITH REPUBLICANS to block civil rights legislation and labor law enactment. A Republican was unelectable in the south in those days, the result of a generational holdover from Republican being associated with Lincoln, who was considered the Scourge of the South. Thus, if a pol wanted to get elected and was a conservative, he HAD to claim being a Democrat (Strom Thurmond or Jesse Helms, anyone?), and then just voted with the Republicans. Once the south had a sufficient influx of northern republicans (70's and 80's due to tech and commerce growth) being a Republican no longer equaled being defeated. The Rep's "Southern Strategy" is a direct outgrowth of this transition.

Posted by: BlueDog | November 13, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter -- it isn't just the Clintons, it's the whole DLC crowd that wants Dean gone. Because he's a populist, a progressive who wants true reform -- and now they see he can deliver the money and the votes. So they don't want to give him a chance to be involved in the selection of the presidential candidate.

What the DLC [Rahm] wants is to just to change the sign on the lobbyist feeding trough from R to D. That's what all the 'centrist' talk is about -- corporate money. Tons and tons of corporate money, because the last thing they want is a candidate like Gore [or Spitzer] who won't be bought, who won't let them write the laws, who might even break the iron rule they have over this entire country -- or world, should I say?

If you want to see where a candidate really stands --look at the voting record. You'll see that any of them who calls themselves a 'centrist' has sold out their constituents, has sided with profits for corporations over the public good, with just about vote.

Check out the roll call on the morally reprehensible bankruptcy bill, for instance...

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink, Is it possible the Clintons would like to see Dean gone, isn't Rahm their guy? Is Dean close to Gore? Just a thought.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 13, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Well, there was George Wallace to begin with. Big one. You are right Nor-eastern that indeed, some of those firehose toters were Dems. But the bombers were from the religious right... and the point is, in recent years the racists in the south [including the KKK] have gone republican:

'The segregationist leaders of Cherry's [bomber] home state were among those who created the Republicans "Southern strategy," which continues to rely on coded racist signals to build its dominance in the once-Democratic South. Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 Presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Missisippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered by segregationists. The symbolism was not lost on Cherry's allies and sympathizers at the time. The same goes for George W. Bush's 2000 campaign speech at Bob Jones University, where interracial dating was still banned at the time.'

And Martin Luther King was a democrat -- always. He was demonized by republicans at the time and J. Edgar Hoover hounded him incessantly.

I'm not trying to make'delcarative' statements about Steel's intentions. However, he was caught doing something completely unethical, which was hiring homeless men to distriute a brochure full out outright lies to voters. I don't like people who try to steal elections. It makes me angry, you understand? I care about democracy.


Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Ron.... You must be a new poster. The whole point of this exchange is to say what's on your mind. Passionate defense of a political position is the norm.

We're not judging Steele personally... we're judging his political actions, and they just don't pass the smell test. Nor does his resume command "big things" for him, regardless of skin color.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 13, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

drindl: You could not be more accurate than your 12:10pm comment. By watching the Sunday talk shows and reading various newspapers I can not figure where all this junk, yes junk, is coming from. There must be a bunch of money behind it and I cannot find a clue anywhere as to who or what it is connected to. Any info would be nice to have.

Posted by: lylepink | November 13, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

drindl,

I share your disgust with the tactics you're describing from the days of the civil rights movement, but those weren't Republicans on the other end of the fire hoses, dogs and bombs thrown into churches. White southern Democrats fought to keep segregation in place; in fact, during that era in the South, Republicans were the ones encouraging blacks to register to vote. Someone please correct me if I'm mistaken on this, but I'm confident that is the case. Republicans were in the minority in the South and didn't rise to power until the Reagan years and beyond.

Frankly, neither party can claim sainthood when it comes to race relations, so I avoid letting my emotions dictate which party or person I support. As for the comments regarding Mr. Steele, we're all fortunate that God doesn't judge us by the same standard we use to judge others. How many people know the man or his family personally to where they can make such declarative statements about his character or intentions? There's more than just disagreement in the statements I'm reading - there's outright hostility. Where does this come from?

Posted by: ron | November 13, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Drindl - Weren't the Governors, Mayors, and Sheriffs who "...cheerfully spray black kids with firehoses and sic police dogs on them? Oh yeah, and blow them up in churches?" actually Democrats?

At least in name.

The courting of them by the Nixon camp in the great realignment in the South moved them into the GOP for the most part. But, historically, they were Democrats at the time.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 13, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Steele seems to be a top contender for the GOP. His approach didn't work in a state whose voters chose substance over skin color--despite the incredibly unsavory tactics in PG County. "Steele Democrats" and other misdirection didn't fool us on Steele's social conservatism.

Is that the future example for the Republicans? Let them then, the Democrats will have a blowout in '08 with that kind of leadership.

This election proved that Republicans have lost credibility on what they claim is their platform...voters are looking at the facts and ignoring the rhetoric.

Posted by: jamiek | November 13, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the Republic win in 1994 was double what we saw this year. Except that was in a President's 2 year and not his 6th. By the way, the Dem numbers in 2006 were about half of what the Republicans gained in 1938 as the country rejected FDR's New Deal. Fact.

Posted by: Rufus | November 13, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh Cheryl? Perhaps you forgot how the 'party of Lincoln' used to cheerfully spray black kids with firehoses and sic police dogs on them? Oh yeah, and blow them up in churches?

The fact that lowlifes like JC Watts and Kemp are anywhere near the memory of Martin Luther King makes me sick.

I have contempt for Steele because he lies and cheats to win, I don't care what his skin color is. Or do you think that should be okay because he is black? Because that would be racism. Or do you find racism [like that the RNC used against Harold Ford] is admirable. You're the one that should be ashamed, babybee, by trying to co-op the legacy of Martin Luther King, after the GOP hounded, harrassed and tried to assasinate him. Don't try to revise history. I was there.

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

In one of the first posts, The Eyewitness Muse used the term "flip flop" in making analogy of Kerry to Steele.

For decades, "They flip flop" has been one of the major negative arrows that the Right shoots at people they oppose.

On the Sunday before the election I saw tape of the President telling supporters at a rally something to the effect that if they "...vote for Democrats, they are voting for the terrorists."

Then by the end of the week he's making nice with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in the White house.

Is that not one of the biggest "flip flops" in U. S. political history?

If not, then why do I have whiplash?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 13, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Right here, today the WaPo's faitful rovian steno delivers a steaming bowl of DC BS CW:

'Democrats have been quick to claim that 2006 will be remembered as the end of a conservative era. No one doubts that the midterm election was a rejection of President Bush's policies in Iraq and of the Republicans' style of governance. But was it really a rejection of conservatism itself?

What the election was not, in the view of strategists in both parties, was a powerful affirmation of the Democratic Party, despite its takeover of the House and Senate.'

Oh for god's sake. When the republilcans had a win this size in 1994 -- it was a revolution, according to the media. It was a Really Big Win. But when Dems win, why, they didn't really win, you know.'

Sorry WaPo, but your rightwing frames are showing aghain.

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of disrespectful comments today as we watch the dedication of the Martin Luther King memorial. JC Watts and Jack Kemp stood on the stands along with other Republicans who worked for this project and donated money. President Bush and his Secretary of State reached out to the African-American community today to lift up our society. These YAPPERS in here seem to have nothing but contempt for Mike Steele, so the Democrats might as well use the word TOKEN while they are at it.
*******Did any of you guys consider the fact that Ken Mehlman was at an event for Steele during the final election week? Many African-American Democrats crossed the party line to support Steele, and that is an amazing thing.
*******The Washington Beltway will be deciding who the next leader will be. Mary Matalin gave up her job with Cheney to stay home more with the 2 daughters and hubby James Carville. She is not going to be the next RNC chair since it requires too much travel and too much time away from her home duty. Sorry but true.
********If Steele is the next RNC chair, the party of Abe Lincoln and ending slavery will enter a new chapter is fair and equal treatment for all minority groups. The Democrats do not and never have owned the minority vote.
*******Finally, are the liberals and Dems who complain in this room so afraid of the RNC being led by Mike Steele that they think spreading nasty rumors will sink his nomination? Here we are as a symbol of representative government to the world, and the Democrats would be just a happy to stick it to Steele. That is real pathetic.

Posted by: Cheryl Collins | November 13, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of disrespectful comments today as we watch the dedication of the Martin Luther King memorial. JC Watts and Jack Kemp stood on the stands along with other Republicans who worked for this project and donated money. President Bush and his Secretary of State reached out to the African-American community today to lift up our society. These YAPPERS in here seem to have nothing but contempt for Mike Steele, so the Democrats might as well use the word TOKEN while they are at it.
*******Did any of you guys consider the fact that Ken Mehlman was at an event for Steele during the final election week? Many African-American Democrats crossed the party line to support Steele, and that is an amazing thing.
*******The Washington Beltway will be deciding who the next leader will be. Mary Matalin gave up her job with Cheney to stay home more with the 2 daughters and hubby James Carville. She is not going to be the next RNC chair since it requires too much travel and too much time away from her home duty. Sorry but true.
********If Steele is the next RNC chair, the party of Abe Lincoln and ending slavery will enter a new chapter is fair and equal treatment for all minority groups. The Democrats do not and never have owned the minority vote.
*******Finally, are the liberals and Dems who complain in this room so afraid of the RNC being led by Mike Steele that they think spreading nasty rumors will sink his nomination? Here we are as a symbol of representative government to the world, and the Democrats would be just a happy to stick it to Steele. That is real pathetic.

Posted by: Cheryl | November 13, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of disrespectful comments today as we watch the dedication of the Martin Luther King memorial. JC Watts and Jack Kemp stood on the stands along with other Republicans who worked for this project and donated money. President Bush and his Secretary of State reached out to the African-American community today to lift up our society. These YAPPERS in here seem to have nothing but contempt for Mike Steele, so the Democrats might as well use the word TOKEN while they are at it.
*******Did any of you guys consider the fact that Ken Mehlman was at an event for Steele during the final election week? Many African-American Democrats crossed the party line to support Steele, and that is an amazing thing.
*******The Washington Beltway will be deciding who the next leader will be. Mary Matalin gave up her job with Cheney to stay home more with the 2 daughters and hubby James Carville. She is not going to be the next RNC chair since it requires too much travel and too much time away from her home duty. Sorry but true.
********If Steele is the next RNC chair, the party of Abe Lincoln and ending slavery will enter a new chapter is fair and equal treatment for all minority groups. The Democrats do not and never have owned the minority vote.
*******Finally, are the liberals and Dems who complain in this room so afraid of the RNC being led by Mike Steele that they think spreading nasty rumors will sink his nomination? Here we are as a symbol of representative government to the world, and the Democrats would be just a happy to stick it to Steele. That is real pathetic.

Posted by: Cheryl | November 13, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

As someone who adamantly opposed Steele for Senate here in Maryland, I'm glad the Republicans are considering continuing their losing ways in selecting Mr. Steele to be head of the RNC. Contrary to popular belief, especially among those inside the beltway, who thought Steele's puppy ads were cute and intriguing, they were baseless and issue-less. He never once ran a single ad that talked about ISSUES. He ran solely on his personality. He has had no record as Lt. Governor and then he runs for Senate and loses big time, by over 10 points! He barely got the same vote as Bush got in this state in 2004. So, again, why is everyone clammering for Michael Steele? Because he's new and different and not part of the establishment? Perhaps, but he's still unaccomplished and couldn't seal the deal here in MD. Good luck, RNC!

Posted by: Baltimore | November 13, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Carville didn't push for Terry McAuliffe to return as head of the DNC.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 13, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

--This is good news, though. this is the first war in US history where war profiteering while our troops are dyin[ng, has not been despised and punished. I want to know where my tax money went -- and the theives punished:

'Democrats Aim to Save Inquiry on Work in Iraq
"Congressional Democrats say they will press new legislation next week to restore the power of a federal agency in charge of ferreting out waste and corruption in Iraq and greatly increase its investigative reach.

"The bills, the first of what are likely to be dozens of Democratic efforts to resurrect investigations of war profiteering and financial fraud in government contracting, could be introduced as early as Monday morning.

"The move would nullify a Republican-backed provision, slipped into a huge military authorization bill, that set a termination date for the agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The agency's findings have consistently undermined Bush administration claims of widespread success in the reconstruction of Iraq." (NY Times)'

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Steele gets my vote for most overrated politician of the year (and as a Maryland resident, that's the only vote of mine he got.) Loses a Senate race by a substantial margin, only elected office is Lieutenant Governor when he was second place on a teamed ticket, and people are interested in him as a national party leader? (And would there be the same interest in him if he were white? Just asking...)

If Steele is interested in running for office again in MD, then he should think twice about being a national GOP spokesman. So much for presenting himself as an "independent voice" which was his only chance of winning in a decisively Democratic-leaning state. Not enough voters bought that, and even fewer will if he becomes RNC chair.

I can see the Democratic ads now with two/four years of GOP-boosting comments from speeches and talk shows. He can either be party chair or run for office again, but he probably can't do both successfully.

Posted by: MHK919 | November 13, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid, Chris, you're losing credibility by the moment with your continued obssession with Steele. He lost his race, even though he tried every dirty trick in the book.

Is that your idea of a leader? Someone who's willing to jump at the chance to lie to his own community? I say he's not a repudiation of the Southern Strategy, he's an integral part of it.

I'm afraid the election has unhinged the beltway pundits -- they're all spinning like berserker tops. Yesterday the NYTimes [the loathsome Kornblut] repored that becasue James Carville [who is only an entertainer, at this point in time, he has no constinuency] said on TV that credit for this election goes to Rahm Emmanuel and that the Dems wanted to replace Howard Dean with Harold Ford... so that becomes the new Conventional Wisdom.

If they actually do this, after Dean, almost single-handedly delivers them an astonishing victory and hand it to a guy who just lost his own state -- maybe they'll hire Bob Shrum the consultant again, because after all, he's helped them lose what is it -- 15 elections?

And now I see R's have caught the D's disease --let's hire a LOSER to help us win.. Must be something the Beltway water....

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Correction: "Mehlman, who announced he would not return to the RNC late last week, made outreach to the black community one of the hallmarks of his time at the RNC"

Should be changed to: "Mehlman, who announced he would not return to the RNC late last week, made shameless, transparently shallow attempts to manipulate the black community one of the hallmarks of his time at the RNC"

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | November 13, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. A guy who brought in homeless people from outside of Maryland, and had them hand out flyers identifying Steele as a Democrat wants to head the RNC. Well, it fits, with the way the RNC runs its campaigns.

Posted by: Scott | November 13, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris: Steele lost by double digit numbers statewide and by 3 to 1 margins in most predominantly African-American areas. What is it about that track record that suggests he would be able to help elect others (black or white)? Do you view smiling and being Republican at the same time as the same as walking and chewing gum? Steele's only noteworthy accomplishment to the present, so far as I can tell, was his ability to convince the Maryland Republican party to pay him to run for Lietenant Governor. This might qualify him to be a Republican but how does it help with national party chairman?

Posted by: bob | November 13, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

George W. Bush = Michael Steele's "homeboy"

Nuff said.

But I will go on to say that I watched that MD race from beginning to end and I STILL dont know one position he stands for except puppies. Publicly and on TV he tries to talk like he's this friendly down-to-earth "independent", but Russert or anyone asks him a question about Republican tactics or policies its SPIN SPIN SPIN and no substance whatsoever. On any number of issues he appears to be a diehard Bush/GOP apologist while at the same time attempting to show a facade of "independence". It's as disgusting as it is stupid. Voters, even in the GOP, are clearly SICK of this type of plastic politics. But you never know with some people. In fact it may be that his blabbering on and on while saying nothing is the reason why Cilliza has such a profound fondness for him. We need to be watchful of simple-minded Republican shills who will say absolutely anything to appease certain voters. Look where that has gotten us (Ken Mehlman, Karl Rove, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, etc).

Posted by: F&B | November 13, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more with those who are angry about the "Democrat Party" comments that spew from the mouths of the RNC drones. Either these people are ignorant, or they are deliberately insulting Democrats.

Posted by: Venicemenace | November 13, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Mike G.... Doesn't it make you wonder how Harris "suddenly" overcame her large polling negatives to win her Rep. seat in the first place? Picking the scab on this one may open up a whole cesspool.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 13, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

So Steele confirms that he is interested. That's got to be the biggest news of the day. The guy loses by a potful, is instrumental in dirty tricks, and kicks puppies. Just the candidate to lead the Republicans into the slough of despair.

Posted by: NoVA | November 13, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I am not a happy camper when people go after CC - mostly because every topic is valid - and we need a diversity of opinion - on this issue though I would like to raise a question about media racism

The news media, and we see this in the Steele case, has tunnell vision about promoting so called minorities (as a Latino queer male I can use that term) - the news media, especially in the beltway presumes that we are all alike and that we cannot see when we are being taken for a ride by someone like Steele who effectively tries to pass himself off as not being black - at least in the eyes of Republicans.

The so called news media is not promoting minority interests by promoting any rising star in either party who happens to be a minority -

This is the racism - they think we are simpletons who will vote for anyone in our own group - here in Brownsville (95% Latino) in the second poorest county in the country, my City Commissioner is Anglo - Atkinson - if my section of town is not the poorest it is certainly the second poorest -

Martin Luther King asked that we judge people based on the content of their character - Atkinson will win reelection every time based on his character - not based on his race - we as Latinos care enough to vote based on character instead of race.

I'm getting long - put it eats at my craw (whatever that is) when the news media promotes people for no better reason than their race - the Republicans do not have an Obama or a Ford (both who merit support based on ideas and character) so they have to promote people like Steele and Rice (Powell has finally seen the light on how insulting the Republicans are to blacks)so as to appear to be balanced -

when is the news media going to start looking at people based on the content of their character? Never - because character is not a prerequisite to being a journalist.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Anonymous | November 13, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I know this is off topic but I'm wondering about the election to replace Kathleen Harris in the House of Representatives. Sounds like a theft of a election is under way. Hell of a strange place for it to happen, too.

Posted by: mike g | November 13, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Ken Mehlman is being replaced by his evil twin, Michael Steele or Mary Matalin. Seems like the RNC barrel of candidates is rather.... well, bottoming out.

Of course, this may just be shameless self-promoting by Steele, abetted by Chris.

Rudderless Steele or Marching-Orders Matalin to follow Muck-up Mehlman.... priceless.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | November 13, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Please, please, please. Mr. Steele, the name of the Democratic Party IS the Democratic Party. NOT the Democrat Party. (This request applies to just about every other Republican politican as well.)

Please be accurate. How would you feel if I dropped the "e" off your last name? Or should we drop the "e" and change "ee" to "ea" thus changing your name to "Steal." An appropriate name for the head of the Republican Party don't you think?

Posted by: InChicago | November 13, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Jaxas: Your comments are very well taken and I just wanted to mention the MLK Tribute that is currently on c-span 2.

Posted by: lylepink | November 13, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Jeez...American politics really has become "brand" oriented. Michael Steele would NEVER have been selected in the first place to run as Lt. Governor had he not been the rarest of creatures--a Black Republican. Contrast his stunning lack of political experience four years ago with the man Martin O'Malley picked as his Lt. Governor--Anthony Brown was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates where he was Majority Whip.

And, as the story in the Post (and previous coverage in the Baltimore Sun) made clear, when it comes to dirty political tricks, Michael Steele could give lessons to the ghost of Richard Nixon.

Which I guess makes him a perfect candidate for the RNC, come to think of it.

Posted by: Jack | November 13, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

An RNC chair that's willing to reach out to inner-city minority populations, and give them $100 to (mis)represent the republican party to other minorities is just fine with this Dem!

Posted by: Mark | November 13, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

While you're at it, Chris, why not rename your blog "The Fixation on Michael Steele"?

Because I have certainly not seen anyone else spend nearly as much time focusing on any other candidates who lost by 10 points this cycle.

Posted by: subpoena power | November 13, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I am so happy for your BFF Michael Steele that he is being considered as chair of the Publican National Committee. I hope you remembered to send flowers.

Did you perchance catch the article in your own newspaper today about the Steele-Ehrlich plan to try and trick black voters in Prince George's County into voting Publican by having homeless men bussed in from Philly to distribute misleading fliers? And that Steele and Ehrlich did the same thing in 2002, only using DC homeless men that time?

Great pick. Steele will fit right in.

Posted by: subpoena power | November 13, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

One other point Chris: In your encounters with mainstream media people like Chris Matthews, when you are confronted with this silly argument by the right that this was a defeat for Bush and the republicans and not for them, you should point out that both Bush and the republican Congress has spent almost all of their time pandering to the far right--Schiavo, its judicial appointments, the gay marriage amendment and a bevy of meaningless resolutions on flag burning, prayer in the schools and the importance of religion in government while important issues like health care, energy, the environment, tax reform and the national debt were virtually ignored.

Don't let these panicky conservatives convince you that Bush and the republicans lost because they were not cvonservative enough. Anyone who buys into that screwball philosophy ought to have their head examined.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 13, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I note that Michael used the term "democrat" instead of the correct term "democratic" to refer to the democratic party. Maybe democrats should be instructed to use the term "publican" for republican party.

Look. This is a small thing but it is a significant incicator that Steele has been indoctrinated by the far right in the use of such euphemisms to describe the democratic party. What it means is that he is walking around with these traditional, conservative talk show talking points in his breat pocket that he must whip out occasionally to ensure that he remains politicall correct, that being very, very conservative.

If he insists that he is a centrist or a moderate, then he needs to begin expressing himself that way instead of using these code words to hint to the far right that he is in synch with them. It was Bush's consistent appeasement of the far right in his every thought, action and policy that brought him and his party down.

America has made it clear that it wants moderation, civility and common sense in its political dialogue. You don't get that by using transparent political code in your conversations to convey the impression that the other party does not really believe in democracy.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 13, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Let Steele take the RNC chair. If the GOP chooses Steele and abandons there right base then the Dems will have a nice long stay in Washington. The party chair should be someone who can raise money and get the base motivated without putting their foot in their mouths too many times. Steele cannot raise money from the country club repubs that fund the GOP, and he can't excite the base voters. So by all means pick him, and keep Elizabeth Dole as the head of the RSCC too. Happy days happy days...

Posted by: Andy R | November 13, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Chris, are you a little obsessed with Michael Steele? Don' tyou think you might pay attention to Feingold's decison not to run, or Pelosi's backing of Murtha.

Posted by: max | November 13, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

CC: Good topic as will be seen as the day goes by. The interest shown by Steele was not unexpected and he seemed prepared for the question. As mentioned earlier the Southern Strategy has worked well for a long time and will be very hard for the party to change it in the near future as some are saying they want to do and my thoughts are again these folks will do or say anything to win, and to change this part is only talk, when in fact they have no intention of doing so.

Posted by: lylepink | November 13, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

This MIGHT be a story worth writing about IF Steele had actually been offered the job or if ANYONE other than himself was considering him for it.
Has ANYONE from the RNC, the White House, the Republican Congressional leadership (an oxymoron ,I realize)or the state Republican chairs even mentioned Steele's name ? This is another great ploy by Steele to make people think he is qualified for a job for which he is not. I guess he didn't learn that LAST week.

Posted by: jmsbh | November 13, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Twice your stories have made mention of the "repudiation" of the southern strategy. If anythng it seems like Mehlman expanded and added a new chapter to the southern strategy with the "playboy" ad that was aired agianst Ford. I do not buy his explanation that a local group controlled that ad and the RNC tagline. No where in the business world does someone allow another party to use their name. That ad was approved by the RNC and speaks to their values. Typical Republican games: say one thing, but do another

Posted by: kranman | November 13, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Mehlman reputed the southern strategy? Except for when he said the RNC ads in Tennessee were not racist. Jesus, Chris, you should just be bared from writing about Michael Steele, because every time you do, you spin lies.

Posted by: Greg in LA | November 13, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Why did he have to order chicken? That is so stereotypical. Couldn't he have ordered crab cakes?

Posted by: Offended Marylander | November 13, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'm glad to see that he's already trying to solidify his support with the childish Limbaugh set by referring to it as the "Democrat Party". I'm not sure why, exactly, it's supposed to be insulting to us to say the name of our party wrong, but it is supposed to be insulting, and kudos to Steele for jumping right in on that.

Chris, is your heart aflutter with the possibility of Steele having some national prominence?

Posted by: adam | November 13, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"Steele ran an effective campaign as a change agent against the longtime legislator Cardin, but was ultimately unable to overcome both the Democratic nature of Maryland and the strongly Democratic national political atmosphere."

What about not being able to overcome not having ever accomplished anything in government, and not standing for anything during his campaign. All this guy did is run some slick ads. Give me a break. I voted for Cardin because of his accomplishments and because of his stands on the issues not the "political atmosphere".

Posted by: kep | November 13, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

It would help if Michael Steele and the rest of the Republicans would refer to the opposing party properly, as the 'Democratic' party not the 'Democrat' party.

Posted by: imgoph | November 13, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I believe if Steele gets the job it will be a direct message to the far right that the Repubs no longer need their vote - this is a highly unlikely message -

people are talking about the Ford ad - that was nothing - here in South Texas a Republican trial judge running to be an appeals judge against the Dem incumbent - the ad featured a black male rapist released from prison on appeal by the incumbent - it was disgusting and so typically Reputrican

I recognized no one knows of this ad because according to the AP and CNN Houston is South Texas - meaning there is therefore nothing further south than Houston - (South Texas is still 6 hours south of Houston- according to reality Houston is Central East Texas)(Just the facts CNN just the facts.)

While I am on it - according to CNN our US district courts are civil courts - not true CNN they are courts of general jurisdiction which means they are equally civil and criminal (just the facts and truth CNN)(CNN hept reporting that a former soldier would be tried in our civil courts for criminal conduct in the military)

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes | November 13, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, I kind of like Steele--sans his politics. In another year, he might have gotten my vote.

But come on, if Kerry was a flip-flopper, Steele is a spinning top. Mr. Inside, Mr. Outside, to Mr. Inside again? Come on...

I think it would be a bad move--my advice. Go back to Maryland and stalk a House Seat, don't be a mouthpiece for a party that pays for ads like the one that undid Ford.

OHMYGOSH...have you heard the news about Fox, you won't believe it!

Fox News in a Funk, Grief Counselors Dispatched
http://www.eyewitnessmuse.com/musings.php?p=245

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | November 13, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post:

"Michael Steele Orders the Chicken"

Posted by: Venicemenace | November 13, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

this is the most important political story of the day?!?!?

Posted by: JEP | November 13, 2006 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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