Sunday, November 19, 2006
Because, Like, Every Black Kid...
President Bush's political advisers are urging Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele neither to seek nor accept a Cabinet post but instead find a national platform on television or radio.
While losing for the U.S. Senate, Steele attracted favorable attention across the country as an eloquent African-American Republican. Bush political strategists have told Steele a high-ranking post in the administration's last two years would curb his independence and cramp his style. Instead, they advised, he could be "a black Rush Limbaugh."
Steele was interested in heading the Republican National Committee, but his independence displayed during the 2006 campaign was not what the White House wanted there. The decision had been made weeks earlier to name Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida as general chairman and Kentucky National Committeeman Mike Duncan as national chairman.
Michael Steele: The Cabinet would make him not independent enough, but he might end up acting "too independent" as RNC Chairman! But as a "black Rush Limbaugh" -- he'd be just right! What's a brother got to do get a "seat-at-the-table" dance? But, hey, talk show host is probably better than HUD Secretary which was what was being floated before. And, of course, it's important to have a Latino -- Mel Martinez -- pushing the whole immigration reform thing, given how well things went in the midterms for the party with that group:
Republicans worked hard this week to get the word out that they had appointed Cuban American Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) to lead the Republican National Committee. On Wednesday, the RNC dispatched an e-mail message in which about 20 conservatives praised the appointment.
"Martinez would give the party tremendous legitimacy among the growing Hispanic voter base," said Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.). "He's an absolute rock star in the Hispanic community."
Take note that Feeney, a Florida representative, says that Martinez is a "rock star" in the "Hispanic community." To the extent that the Hispanic "community" in Florida is defined by Cuban expats, that is undoubtedly true. Does that "rock star" status extend to Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, etc.? Time will tell.
Regardless, this Washington Times story puts the Steele "independence" issue in a realpolitik framework:
The White House isn't quite ready to give up the reins to the party as yet -- and Steele might act like, he was, you know -- actually running things, making decisions, etc!
The Times reported Tuesday that four potential 2008 Republican presidential contenders -- including Arizona Sen. John McCain and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- had called Mr. Steele to urge him to take the RNC post, but only if he won an ironclad agreement to be free to run the RNC so as to further the party's interests rather than take orders from Mr. Rove.
Former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III thought he had such an agreement with the White House but was ousted as Republican national chairman after a short time in office during Mr. Bush's first term because Mr. Gilmore had failed to staff the RNC with operatives from the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign.
Can't have that now, can we?
Technorati Tags: Michael Steele, Republicans