Damned If You Do…

Why the GOP can’t win with its Michael Steele pick.


I can hear it now. Better still, I have heard it already.

“Michael Steele is nothing but a token pick by the Republican Party.”

“Republicans only did this to have a black leader to match Obama.”

Well, true and false.

Michael Steele is the new chairman of the Republican Party in some part (if not a large part) because of President Barack Obama. However, he is not a token selection nor did the Republicans do this to just to have a black face as the new image of the party.

The current image of the Republican Party is one that caters to the old, the white and the rich. The candidacies of two successful black Republicans (former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele) for the GOP’s top post stand in complete contrast to that accepted view.

With the election of Steele after several rounds of balloting, Republicans have shown that they used a different set of criteria to determine who should lead the party for the next two years. This comes on the heels of a historic Democratic victory for the White House and sweeping Republican defeat nationwide.

Yes, the Obama win had a hand in Steele’s election as GOP chair, but it’s not because both men are black.  All the elements that went into Barack Obama’s campaign for president, are exactly what the Republican Party needs if it is to reverse its current fortunes. For example, Obama’s effective use of the Internet for advertising and voter contact stood out in contrast to the Republicans’ failure to leverage technology to their advantage.  Obama’s affability and eloquence was regarded as a strength while public image of the 21st century Republican is the awkwardness of former President George W. Bush and gaffes of Gov. Sarah Palin.