A few weeks ago, Jon Henke at The Next Right brought up the idea of installing Mitt Romney in the Chairman’s chair at the Republican National Committee. I think it’s a worthy idea for consideration, not just because I supported Mitt for the nomination way back when (I love Palin, but I still believe the better ticket would have been Mitt Romney/Peter Pace), but because I think the GOP needs a major overhaul from top to bottom, and love him or hate him (and quite a few people here quite obviously still do really hate him), Romney has made a career of turning troubled entities around into highly successful enterprises. However, since the man is reportedly not interested in it, it’s a moot point.
Going with yet another guy who ran for the nomination this year, there’s an active movement afoot in favor of drafting Fred! for the job. Jon Henke in his follow-up post to his Romney for RNC Chairman trial balloon suggested once again dividing the Chairman’s spokesman and management roles (i.e. Paul Laxalt/Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. in the 80s and Mel Martinez/Mike Duncan in 2007) between Fred and Mitt to give us the best of both worlds.
Another very, perhaps even more popular name, with people I deeply respect, than either Mitt or Fred – especially in the aftermath of 2006, and now in the aftermath of 2008 – is that of former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele. Would it that President Bush had listened then, because now, the GOP offering the job to one of the better qualified men on the scene will almost certainly open ourselves to the charge of engaging in the crassest form of tokenism. Notwithstanding his qualifiations, a hostile Press Corps is certain to report that his selection was solely in response to the Democrats giving the nation it’s first black President. That said, the fact is that the man ran one of the best campaigns in 2006 and likely would have won were it not for the albatross President Bush and his Administration’s political incompetence had become around the neck of every Republican. Add all this to his very successful tenure as Chairman of the MD GOP and his two years as the current sitting Chairman of GOPAC and he clearly has the resume to take the reins at the RNC. Another advantage is that he is a highly charismatic and able communicator – a welcome difference from the last eight years of New Tone™.
In other words, Michael Steele is a first class choice …
But, at the moment, I believe a better person would be Newt Gingrich. Back when I heard that the former Speaker was thinking about throwing his hat into the ring for the Presidency in 2007, I was very definitely not happy. But as the Chairman of the RNC, I believe the chances are better than even that he would prove as positively transformational a figure as he did when he took over the leadership of the House GOP from Bob Michel. First of all, his opinion of the GOP’s pedestrian coterie of pencil-pushing campaign consultants pretty closely matches my own (strangely enough, so do a lot of actual GOP campaign consultants). And second, and most important of all; he gets it – the fact that political success is about all of the following in equal parts; salesmanship, vision and principle.
Watch this below; this is Newt at Mackinac Island, Michigan last year. Take note of the fact that he points out the need for innovation in communications strategies to circumvent the liberal Press Corps, he mentions outreach efforts and messaging, he talks about recruiting in every area for offices at all levels of government, he addresses the importance of ideas and following Thatcher’s algorithm of winning the argument in politics – the basic building blocks of any overaching strategy to rebuild a party on the ground and struggling to get up. Consider also, that he has been on the receiving end of what Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and most recently, Sarah Palin and Joe (the Plumber) Wurzelbacher have endured, and therefore, unlike every other top echelon Republican, he’s not burying his head in the sand about the MSM’s partisanship and bias.
Newt has apparently let it out that he would be willing to serve if called upon by the Republican National Committee and apparently both his and Steele’s camps are gearing for the selection by the full committee in January. He’s also made it clear what direction he wants to go …
The RNC has to do some soul-searching and decide what level of change is necessary. If that answer is bold, energetic change led by someone who has done it before, then Newt would be a good choice … If the party is eying a shift toward the middle, that isn’t Newt …
In truth, I’d be happy with either Steele or Newt. But at the moment, I believe that every Republican interested in guaranteeing that our sojourn in the wilderness would end much sooner than the Left is gleefully predicting should inform the 168 people that constitute the full body of the Republican National Committee to elect Newt Gingrich to be the next Chairman of the RNC.
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