RNC Chairman Thoughts #1

Posted: 01/05/2009 by that's Elbert in GOP, Republican
Tags: , , ,

It would be worthwhile weighting in on the “race” for the RNC chair.

First, Mike Duncan needs to go. There is no malise toward Duncan, however it was on his watch that the GOP took a hit nationally. I don’t have the confidence that he will provide the direction the RNC needs to pull the GOP out of these defeats.

I believe that the new chairman should consider the RNC’s use of technology in future races, even in basic day-to-day communication with Republicans and the public in general. Web 2.0 technology was used on a very limited basis during our last election cycle, but it seemed that it was not used to it’s fullest, thus providing the Democrats an advantage with younger generations. As Michael at Monoblogue pointed out, a recent study conducted by Pew Research showed that the Millennial generation (18-29) look to television and the Internet for their sources of information. I realize that television is an expensive avenue but many web technologies are either low or no cost, such as blogs and micro-blogs like Twitter. This really needs to be taken seriously.

It appeared that in the last election cycle those of us that call ourselves conservatives were ignored or taken for granted. It was very hard to get excited about John McCain when it seemed that he was not wholeheartedly supporting conservative values. Additionally to some degree our votes for him were assumed because Obama was so bad. I observed that many got excited when Sarah Palin was brought on board. I was familiar with her already, and thought she brought to the campaign something it desperately needed, someone with executive experience and conservative values. I would rather not go through a campaign like that again. The chairman needs to be supportive of the Republican base, being someone who possesses mostly conservative ideas.

Previously I have expressed support for Michael Steele for the job. There are some reservations among conservatives, mostly surrounding his involvement with factions such as the Republican Leadership Committee. In an interview with David Brody, Steele said regarding his involvement with the RLC:

“This may be a unique opportunity to build a relationship or a bridge between the conservatives and the moderates in our party and so she asked me to serve on her board and I said well this will be good. It’ll be a pro-life conservative voice on a board with a pro-choice leadership that is looking to elect moderates. We have to elect moderates in the party.”

It is worth spending 4 minutes to watch the interview and hear what Michael Steele is saying. In my opinion, it’s the guy I have seen on the talk shows. He has the “fire in the belly” and appears to be excited about what can happen to the GOP. This is one of his strengths.

Regarding technology, Michael Steele’s site looks good. His “Blueprint For Tomorrow” is easy to find and is posted on Scribd. He has a presence in the social media. I wish he was doing more with the Twitter account. For the most part, considering this type of campaign, I think he’s doing a pretty good job here.

Ken Blackwell is another man that wants the RNC chairman’s job. From what I know about Blackwell, I also favor him. Blackwell has a list of conservatives that support him. The American Spectator writes:

Philosophically, he is running as a “no-pale-pastels” conservative who believes the Republican brand has suffered from ethical lapses, overspending, and a general propensity to govern in a “Democrat lite” fashion. Strategically, Blackwell speaks of implementing “a genuine 50-state strategy.” According to a statement released before Christmas, that means helping state party leaders raise money by recruiting major speakers for their fundraisers and transferring 10 percent of the RNC’s net fundraising proceeds to state party organizations.

But they add some criticism:

One race in Blackwell’s loss column has raised questions about whether he is the right man to lead Republicans back into the majority: he was defeated in Ohio’s gubernatorial election in 2006. Scratch that: he was shellacked, winning just 37 percent of the vote to Democrat Ted Strickland’s 61 percent. By comparison, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele — who is also running for RNC chair — grabbed 45 percent in a blue-state Senate race that same Democratic year.

With regard to technology, Blackwell’s site also looks good, clean and easy to navigate. The one big error on there is that empty page for The Blackwell Plan. For me that should have already been filled, even if only in an outline. Blackwell is also covering the social media. His Twitter account is active. Considering this campaign I would say he’s doing OK, but that blank “Plan” page is not good, not only for the site but for his campaign. When will he let us in on his plan? Hopefully by the end of this week it won’t be empty.

Monday’s debate should help provide a clear picture of the candidates. Whomever I decide to support I will certainly be making my opinion known to those in our state who will actually be voting. For my other fellow Delaware GOP members I would hope you will make your opinion known too.

UPDATE: For what it’s worth, you can give your opinion in a non-scientific poll here and here.

  1. Michael says:

    Regarding the criticism of Blackwell in Ohio’s 2006 election, the Spectator has somewhat of a point. Being from the state, I know where he should have won handily yet Blackwell only carried 16 of Ohio’s 88 counties – he couldn’t even carry the extremely reliable GOP county where I spent my high school years and first registered to vote(Fulton County, west of Toledo.)

    However, the more moderate Sen. Mike DeWine only carried 41 counties in his losing effort and only carried Fulton County by a few hundred votes, leading me to believe that the conservatives stayed home, possibly because they can read polling data too.

    This was after 2 terms of a fairly moderate GOP governor in Bob Taft, who raised taxes and became embroiled in the “Coingate” scandal that involved the coin dealer husband of the former GOP chair in Lucas County (which is mostly the city of Toledo) – it was the very liberal Toledo Blade newspaper which broke that story.

    In all Republicans held the Governor’s chair for 16 years (Taft succeeded now-Senator George Voinovich) and got away from conservative principles with their spending, the state was one of the first to enter the recessionary cycle we’re in now, and the Democrat ran as a pro-business moderate.

    Your readers may be interested to know that I will be live-blogging the debate on my Red County Wicomico site, which can be found at http://www.redcounty.com/wicomico, beginning about 12:45 or so. The transcript will be there and at monoblogue.

    It’ll be interesting to hear from all the candidates. I like Michael Steele – and it’s possible having him in the chair may assist our local and state efforts somewhat – but have reserved judgment until I see the others as well.

  2. Michael says:

    Oops, forgot one piece of context in my comment above – Ohio has 88 counties, with most of them fairly rural.