Saturday, January 31, 2009

New GOP Chair Hits Ground Running

With trunk up and tusks at the ready, the Republican Party seems instantly energized by the election of Michael Steele to RNC Chair, and it may well be because the image conjured is none other than Steele himself.

He has come out swinging at precisely the time the bell sounded and he seems determined to make it a short fight. Charging enthusiastically from his corner, he has been throwing hay makers to gin up his fans in the arena.

OK, so maybe my exuberance gets the better of me sometimes, but I can't help but feel new life for my party, the party I have wistfully watched drift further out to sea as I gazed lugubriously from the pier. And while I realize that few party chairmen have historically made much difference, I also acknowledge that there are but a small number of times when they've been required to even as I'm cognizant that this is just such a time. I know it's all confusing; think how I have felt all these years.

Michael Steele spoke to Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times the other day, and here's how part of that exchange went:

"We've had a hard, cold reality check. We've had our clocks cleaned, with little to show for it," Mr. Steele told me a few days ago.

The new mantra for the party is "Republican for a reason," he said.

"What now? This I ask Republicans: Are you ready to get your game face on and fight for the principles you believe in?"

I suggested it was a call for the party to "get in touch with their inner American" — and Mr. Steele quickly agreed.

"Oh, yeah. Once, Ronald Reagan made it cool to be a Republican again. And that Reagan 'factor' still matters now, but it matters in a different way, for a different age," Mr. Steele said.

"You have to adapt good ideas of the past because politics is not static. It may be a blood sport, but it sure isn't static. You can't change your basic principles and views, but you can express them differently. That's why we saw President Obama succeed. He's translated Reagan rhetoric for this age."

I have nothing but high hopes for Steele and, as a result, our party. I also privately wonder if this development will be sufficient to drag Newt Gingich back into the fray. Watching liberals writhe at such a prospect will be akin to witnessing the squirming of vampires in the rising sun or demons before the Cross.

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