Shawn Steel, a California national committee member who was one of Michael Steele’s strongest allies, announced last weekend that he is supporting Reince Priebus for RNC Chair. This defection is significant because it is almost impossible for Steele to win re-election without him. Reid Wilson writes,
“There is no path to victory for Michael Steele that does not include Shawn," said Ron Kaufman, an influential committee member from Massachusetts who has not committed to backing a candidate but who has frequently clashed with Steele. "To most on the committee he was clearly [Steele's] biggest supporter. His defection leaves no one left to shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
After having conversations with voting members of the RNC and learning about Shawn Steel’s defection, I am now confident in the committee’s ability to oust Michael Steele as chairman of the RNC. It appears that Steele will not be the second choice for enough of the members for him to ever reach 85 votes after other challengers start dropping out of the race.
Although often overlooked, this election is crucial to the future of the Republican Party because it will likely determine whether or not we will have the adequate ground game to compete with Barack Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. For this reason, our goal should be more than just throwing Michael Steele out; we must elect a new chairman who can lead us to victory in 2012.
I recommend that we elect a new chairman that possesses the following qualities:
- Prolific fundraiser: We need a chairman who will spend more time with major donors and less time on the news. Under Steele’s failed leadership, the fundraising totals at the RNC were pathetic and its debt is in excess of $20 million. Also, we need a chairman who will cut overhead costs and reduce the ridiculous burn rate of 70 cents for every dollar raised. What more needs to be said?
- Political operative: We need a chairman who has experience managing competitive campaigns and/or successfully leading a state party organization. We need to take a more quantitative and micro-targeted approach in how we run our campaign operations. We need to embrace new technologies. We need to build a bottom-up infrastructure that can beat the Democrat’s ground game. (And will someone please improve the interface of Voter Vault. It looks horrible! What age do these guys live in?)
- Alinsky-style politics: We can no longer handcuff ourselves; we must use the same playbook as President Obama. We need to hammer the Democrats with the same style of Chicago politics they hit us with. We need to be aggressive and attack them relentlessly. This starts with redistricting. We need a chairman who will provide the resources needed to ensure that we can gerrymander districts in a way that favors Republicans. If we don’t use Alinsky-style politics against Democrats, then we will lose.
- Conservative worldview: We need a chairman who honestly believes in conservative principles and actively stands for them. The next chairman must know how to take this conservative wordview and put it into practical action.
I am concerned that if we do not have a drastic change in the style of leadership at the RNC, then it will have serious consequences on the future of the Republican Party. Politically there is nothing of greater importance in the next month than the upcoming election for RNC Chair. Our ability to retain our majority in the House and elect a Republican President and Senate in 2012 will likely depend upon the effectiveness of the RNC Chair during the next election cycle.
For these reasons, I urge you to take action by contacting your RNC committee members and exhort them to support a candidate that meets the criteria set forth above. There are still some members who are uncertain who they will support. Take action and call them!
(Website featured on Talking Points Memo, The Blaze, The Huffington Post, etc.)