Members of the RNC elected Michael Steele on their fifth ballot today. Steele who isn’t an RNC member but is African America is the Republican Party’s attempt at racial diversity.
Steele said all the right things in his acceptance speech. The Republicans are going to adopt a 50 state strategy. They are going to take their message all over the country. They are going to be more diverse. The American people are looking for something different. It is probable though that Steele would not have been elected RNC chair if he was white. What was fascinating to watch was that another African American candidate, former Ohio Sec. of State, Ken Blackwell helped put Steele over the top by withdrawing from the race and endorsing Steele.
Steele also warned those who want to obstruct that they had better be prepared to be run over. I wonder if he was talking to Democrats or Republicans in the House who seem intent on practicing nothing but obstruction. There would appear to be some disconnect between the mentality of the Republican Party and election of Steele, who is a moderate fiscally conservative Republican, while the base is still largely made up of evangelical and social conservatives.
I was watching the election on C-Span and what jumped out at me was that although there were two African American candidates, the 168 people doing the voting were very, very white. Let’s be honest, Republicans elected Steele because they wanted to say, “Look we can make history too. We aren’t a racist party.” Steele won because the RNC wanted their own Obama.
The RNC could elect all minority leadership, but it won’t matter if they keep ignoring minority issues. The problem is that the Republican Party lost Latinos because of their stance on illegal immigration, and they have not talked about issues that matter to other minorities for decades. The Republicans are still completely out of step with minorities, and putting a different colored face on the same positions doesn’t change anything.