No, I’m not talking about Obama.
Republican leadership, though, has bought into the myth that Obama is too popular to assail as a radical. So Chairman Steele’s strategy, apparently, is to speak in hurt tones about his high expectations and then express his “disappointment” when Obama does exactly what all the flashing neon signs said he would do.
Call me disappointed.
Now, I won’t argue with his primary issues. Yes, Steele could have been much more effective on the stimulus debate. But the GOP must decide who is going to be our spokesperson.
Effectively communicating your message is a major difficulty of being in the Minority and not holding the White House. There is no single voice, like a President or Speaker of the House, that seizes media attention and motivates the Party faithful. When there is not a single voice, the message risks becoming muddled and ineffective.
Now, for us Republicans, should this voice be someone in House or Senate leadership? Should it be the RNC Chairman? Or a Party talking head like Rush Limbaugh? Are the people in those positions capable? Are they effective? Is their role as such that it enables them to assume the position?
Currently, we seem to be in a trial and error period, trying to figure out who our leader will be. While Steele was relatively ineffective in the stimulus debate, it does not mean he will be an ineffective Chairman. In my opinion, the Party Chair’s primary job is getting Republicans elected, not being the Party’s Press Secretary. Instead RNC members were selecting someone to help the Party evolve, become more effective and win seats. Steele has a history of innovative thinking and Party building success. Our judgements will have to wait 21 months before we can determine his success.
Limbaugh rallied the faithful and helped build an understanding about the dangers of the stimulus. But does the electorate see him as a true leader of the cause, or more just as a medium of the message? He simply doesn’t have a stake or a direct role in the matter. Close, but no cigar.
That leaves Congressional leadership. McConnell and Boehner do a great job behind the scenes. They know how to strike the right deals and when to fight back. But they seem to lack the chutzpah that is necessary.
That leaves my guy from this morning’s post. Eric Cantor.
He’s young. Bright. Articulate. And has already proven his ability to motivate his fellow GOP colleagues to do the right thing by voting against the Stimulus as one voice.
Let Michael Steele do his job, Mr. McCarthy, and let’s hope the GOP sees the leader in Eric Cantor that I see and gives him the opportunity he needs to bring us back.