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Steele becomes RNC Chair
January 30, 2009 1:15 PM   Subscribe

Michael Steele, former Lt. Governor of Maryland and one of only a handful of semi-prominent African-American leaders in the Republican Party, has just been elected RNC Chair. He beat out Katon Dawson, Chair of the South Carolina GOP, who had recently resigned his membership from an all-white country club, by a vote of 91-77. Some argue that the RNC Chair race was all about race.

Other candidates who withdrew their names from contention were Chip Saltsman, infamous for putting the song "Barack the Magic Negro" on a holiday mix CD, and Ken Blackwell, another prominent African-American Republican who tipped the scales by throwing his support to Steele.
posted by billysumday (43 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good man, great news. Though Dawson's name has a lovely ring.
posted by dawson at 1:18 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well if they weren't the party of inclusion before, they certainly are now! Good to know racism is finally dead.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:18 PM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


(seconding the nice sound of Dawson's name)
posted by Navelgazer at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's probably a shallow and token effort, sure, but long-term it could still be good if it gets Republicans used to the idea. Let's hope that once they go black...
posted by rokusan at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


these names seem...rather unlikely and prone to punning
posted by dawson at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2009


'Katon'? Sounds like the keytar's kissin' cousin.
posted by box at 1:20 PM on January 30, 2009


Michael Steele? Katon Dawson? You know, I hadn't really considered it before, but I might be able to get behind a republican party where Stan Lee was editor in chief.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:25 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes they can!
posted by klangklangston at 1:26 PM on January 30, 2009




In 2006, Steele's campaign for the senate seat vacated by Sarbanes printed signs that appeared to state his affiliation as democrat, distributed fliers falsey claiming he was endorsed by prominent African Americans such as Kwase Mfume, had homeless people bussed in to hand out fake voter guides that falsely described him as a Democrat and ran a radio ad implying that Democrats founded the KKK.

Christ, what an asshole. I guess this means the RNC strategy for the next election will be to register candidacy as Democrats.
posted by stavrogin at 1:30 PM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jinx.
posted by stavrogin at 1:30 PM on January 30, 2009


Oy. Speaking as a Maryland resident, Steele is a power-hungry SOB who's willing to say anything, do anything and step on anyone to get an ounce of influence. In other words, he's perfect for the RNC chair.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:31 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is the least funny of all the possible outcomes. Feh.
posted by shadow vector at 1:45 PM on January 30, 2009


Steele's a nut, that's for sure. Thanks RNC! He's less likely than ever to mount effective leadership!
posted by Ironmouth at 1:54 PM on January 30, 2009


Steele's a nut, that's for sure.

and Howard Dean wasn't.
posted by dawson at 2:03 PM on January 30, 2009


> ...and Howard Dean wasn't.

If Dean's a nut, he's a well-organized, energetic one who did a pretty good job turning the Democrats from a sandbag into a majority party inside four years. Whatever you think about the Republican party platform and how they do their job, they tend to do pretty well at getting their candidates elected despite having fewer party members.

I'd rather hear what Steele intends to do as Dean's counterpart, tyvm.
posted by ardgedee at 2:21 PM on January 30, 2009


This quote from an ABC blog seemed to spell it out:

"Whoever gets elected can't look like me,” said Holland Redfield, the RNC committeeman from the US Virgin Islands, who is white. “The message has got to be not because we need their votes. It has got to be because it is the right thing to do.”

It's tokenism, pure and simple. And pretty pathetic at that.

How come there weren't any women nominated for the chair position if diversity is suddenly the "right thing to do" and so important?
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:21 PM on January 30, 2009


WE'RE IN YOUR POLITICAL SYSTEM, ONE DROPPIN' YOUR RULE.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:31 PM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


WE CAN HAZ MAGIC NEGRO TOO!
posted by scody at 2:46 PM on January 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


How exactly was Howard Dean a nut? I'm asking a serious question.

As to Steele, as a resident of Maryland this guy will not do much to help republicans. He's shown himself to operate pretty much as a standard republican in his campaigns.
posted by slapshot57 at 2:52 PM on January 30, 2009


This is not really going to endear them to their base, and considering that the key to their successes in 00 and 04 was 'getting the base out to vote', I'm not sure what the long-term strategy is...
posted by eclectist at 2:54 PM on January 30, 2009


grounded & stavrogin: What else did you expect him to do? He had an election to win, and it's not like he was going to convince any Republicans that he was white.

Yeah, I went there.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 2:59 PM on January 30, 2009


I bet it's lonely at the top.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:03 PM on January 30, 2009


So ummm yeah. The republicans used a woman as a vp candidate even though she doesn't really care about what women care about, and now they are using an african american for the same ploy. Do you really expect anything different from the smoke and mirrors party that classifies "Your Personality" like this?
posted by hal_c_on at 3:19 PM on January 30, 2009


[Steele] had homeless people bussed in to hand out fake voter guides that falsely described him as a Democrat and ran a radio ad implying that Democrats founded the KKK.

At the same time? How did his brain not split in two over that?

I mean I have heard of self-hatred, but come on.
posted by rokusan at 3:27 PM on January 30, 2009


*Coff!!*
posted by markkraft at 3:55 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nice, but ineffective move. Using an uncle Tom as the face of a failed party to deflect and confuse. Flooding the political landscape with 'black' people. That'll teach you voters a lesson: vote one in and you'll have to deal with a flood of them, LOL! They really should have chosen the governor of Louisiana. The GOP's going to have this guy on screen as much as possible, watch. I had to call my mom and talk about this one! Republicans broke right after the big loss, and now we're seeing what happens when a bunch of fools try to save a party. OUT OF TOUCH.
posted by Flex1970 at 4:07 PM on January 30, 2009


Good Luck, Michael Steele...

Go out there and get your Lemon Party started!
posted by markkraft at 4:10 PM on January 30, 2009


So, just thinking out loud... if LBJ "lost the South for a generation" for the Democrats...
posted by rokusan at 4:18 PM on January 30, 2009


Lipstick.
posted by billypilgrim at 4:28 PM on January 30, 2009


You can almost hear them thinking "Now we've got the darkie vote for sure!"
posted by Flunkie at 4:36 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is like the Republicans focusing on Twitter and blogs and thinking that'll get them elected.

They continue to fail to realize that their message sucks. They're kind of half way between Democrats and Libertarians. I think one or the other would appeal well right now. All they've got is the bible belt and the anti-Democrats.
posted by SirOmega at 4:56 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wish Steve Gilliard were alive to see this.
posted by RakDaddy at 5:20 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Drill Baby, Drill!
posted by homunculus at 6:55 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If Dean's a nut, he's a well-organized, energetic one who did a pretty good job turning the Democrats from a sandbag into a majority party inside four years.

You mean he didn't do anything outrageously stupid to prevent the inevitable backlash against the Republicans. Big achievement there.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:19 PM on January 30, 2009


What's actually nutty about Howard Dean?

N.B.: I'm already aware that he made a goofy enthusiastic sound.
posted by Flunkie at 7:25 PM on January 30, 2009


Krrlson writes "You mean he didn't do anything outrageously stupid to prevent the inevitable backlash against the Republicans. Big achievement there."

Dems now control all branches of government in no small part due to Dean's "50 State Strategy." Obama won in motherfucking North Carolina. When a dude drinks your milkshake this badly, you should at least acknowledge you've been whipped and try to learn something from it.

(Next up: A Republican-oriented news, opinion, and fund-raising site to trump DailyKos, run by Fred Thompson and Rudy "American's Mayor" Giuliani!)
posted by bardic at 7:31 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]



How come there weren't any women nominated for the chair position if diversity is suddenly the "right thing to do" and so important?


There would have been if Clinton had won the primary and GE. It all just kind of smacks of "me too-ism".

But, you know it may be good in the long term. Tokenism can grow into eventual inclusion, of course that means the GOP would have to change their message and SOP, which wouldn't be a bad thing in a certain light.

(and while the Democrats where not responsible for the (re) rise of the KKK, they certainly where the KKK's party for awhile. LBJ's and Hubert Humphry's actions helped scoured that away. It hurt the Dems for quite awhile but was the correct action to take, and now the Democrats can win the White House with less than 50% of the white vote)
posted by edgeways at 9:17 PM on January 30, 2009


The important thing is the Michael Steele Loves Puppies.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:20 PM on January 30, 2009


I don't see a problem with those "STEELE DEMOCRAT" signs. If you know so little about the candidate you're voting for, you deserve the elected official you get. And it just highlights the problem of voting with a party line, rather than through some kind of ideological examination and introspection.

"This is like the Republicans focusing on Twitter and blogs and thinking that'll get them elected. They continue to fail to realize that their message sucks. They're kind of half way between Democrats and Libertarians. I think one or the other would appeal well right now. All they've got is the bible belt and the anti-Democrats."

Taking my lesson from Dean's 50-State Strategy, I'm going to try out participation in my local libertarian party to see if I can't work towards making it a bit more progressive, left-libertarian, and youth oriented; rather than the jaded conservative and randroid joke that it is now. I think this past election has shown that there is the potential for real change in the current political system. When staunch long-time and respected conservatives defect from the Republican candidate in a presidential election, it shows that there is a decent constituency that feels underserved by the current black and white political "spectrum". I think more than any other kind of change, our elected officials need reminding that they work for us. This is true now more than ever.

And oh god there I go with the marketing speak...
posted by Eideteker at 6:05 AM on January 31, 2009


Michael Steele? Katon Dawson? You know, I hadn't really considered it before, but I might be able to get behind a republican party where Stan Lee was editor in chief.
Don't forget Ken Blackwell

and Howard Dean wasn't [a nut].

Getting over-enthused at a rally and then building the democratic party and then taking on the thankless job of party chairman, rebuilding the party machinery (while taking on the cloistered DC insiders) into something capable of taking a near supermajority in the house and senate in four years does not make you a 'nut'.

I'm kind of surprised Steel won. He'd always had a reputation as somewhat of a moderate, and he actually slammed Bush (off the record) in 2006. Not for anything substantive, just the fact that he was about to lose. Ken Blackwell (also African American) was the real nutcase, and a sleazebag. And the rest were a bunch of dead enders. Blackwell comes from an extremely liberal state, and According to Nate Silver at 538 he's probably a very talented politician if he's able to pull that off.
posted by delmoi at 11:03 PM on January 31, 2009


Clearly, Michael Steele will help the Republicans hold on to the approximately one million black voters who still support the Grand Ol' Lemon Party.As for the other 24 million black voters who supported the Democrats? They're lost to them.

I think we could be talking about a lasting shift in rate of turnout and a considerable slant towards Democrats amongst black voters. If it was about 63% turnout and 78% Democrat before, I would guess it's going to be about 68% turnout and 88% Democrat for a long, long time to come.

Now would be an excellent time for Obama to start boosting the career of other up-and-coming Democrats who could also help shift key parts of the voting bloc clearly in their favor. Let's hope that 2016 gives the Democrats the same chance to change the underlying math with women and/or latinos. ;-)
posted by markkraft at 12:13 PM on February 1, 2009




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