The truth is that elections in 2009-2010 represent one of the greatest routes of the Democrat Party in history with huge Republican gains across the country. While Michael Steele presided over the RNC during this incredible period of Republican success and he should be commended for his hard work and the successes of the Republican Party, Mr. Steele cannot be given all the credit for this. On the other hand, the greatest complaint about Mr. Steele is that he failed to raise sufficient funds that might have permitted even more Republican candidates to successfully campaign for office, and even went into significant debt in an attempt to help these candidates. While it is true that RNC fund raising suffered under the direction of Mr. Steele, he likewise does not deserve most of the blame for this.
Throughout the period from 2008-2011, the people rose up in a nationwide grassroots movement (Tea Party, 9/12 Groups, and others) to protest, not only the policies, edicts, principles and lack of listening to the people of the Democrat Party which had shifted markedly to the Left, but also those of establishment Republicans, who had abandoned many of the basic tenets on which the Republican Party was based and “lost their way”, primarily in regard to fiscal responsibility and morality (especially in reference to political corruption).
“We the people” determined to promote, from the grassroots, the nomination, campaign and election of good, honest candidates we believed would adhere to constitutionally conservative principles and shun corruption, and candidates that would listen to and act based upon the will of the people. This people’s movement intentionally functioned largely within the Republican Party rather than forming a third party which would be likely to dilute and divide conservative will and benefit the Left. This grassroots strategy was calculated to replace both Democrats and establishment Republicans who had failed the American people.
Unfortunately, establishment Republican Party leaders, acting primarily through the RNC in a top-down fashion (RNC decisions imposed from the top down to the local levels), based their strategy on a singular goal of Republicans “winning elections” at the expense of promoting higher quality candidates. This strategy was directly at odds with that of the people, and in many instances the RNC supported establishment candidates across the nation, even in the nomination and primary processes, in direct competition with grassroots candidates supported and promoted by the people. The people quickly learned to support quality individual candidates and the myriad cause groups accepting donations, rather than contributing to political parties that would use those funds to continue establishment people and practices and thwart the American people’s struggle to reform American politics.
This alienation of the American people by the establishment Republican Party (RNC), coupled with the people’s movement strategy of donating to individual candidates and causes, is the single most direct cause of the RNC’s failure to raise the desired funds. Of all the establishment Republican Party leaders, at least Michael Steele, more than most others, appropriately acknowledged and supported the people’s Tea Party movement where he could; this support for the people cost Mr. Steele dearly in terms of establishment Republicans supporting his chairmanship of the RNC. In addition, Mr. Steele provided support to non-establishment candidates once they had won Republican nomination.
The fact that Mr. Steele took the RNC into debt leading up to the 2010 elections, rather than reflecting fiscal irresponsibility, is evidence of his deep commitment to helping elect Republicans to office despite sagging donations to the RNC. Similar commitment was echoed by many of the citizenry who, having exhausted available funds, made donations to worthy candidates from their credit cards. In addition, nearly every candidate for public office goes into debt for campaign expenses. Do detractors contend that this depth of commitment, where people, organizations and candidates are willing to go into debt to support their cause (an expression of free speech), should be condemned?
During the 2008-2011 season there has been dramatic “climate change” to the political environment, I believe for the better. There is a new crop of leaders across the country determined to carry out the will of the people in changing the direction of the country from a freefall into the abyss of socialism and poverty to a return to the Constitution, harmony with Natural Law, preserving unalienable rights, and to recovery of American economic prosperity and employment, not just for Wall Street, Giant Banks and Financial Institutions and other Favored Large Corporations, but for Main Street and the small businesses and the people who live and work there and continue to suffer under the heavy hand of misguided government intervention, profligate deficit spending and excessive taxation.
With due public diligence and oversight, future election cycles are likely to further improve the numbers of quality leaders elected to public office. American political parties that respect, honor and respond to the will of the people will thrive. Those that refuse to reform will continue to suffer the consequences.
Michael Steele’s RNC Chairmanship, while at times considered corrosive by establishment Republicans, cannot be justly criticized for having managed a Republican landslide with severely limited funds. In addition, the restricted ability of the RNC to raise funds is directly due to establishment Republican practices and attitudes, not to Mr. Steele’s chairmanship.
Given the circumstances under which Mr. Steele had to function, his performance as Chair of the RNC has been exceptional. Based on this performance, and if Mr. Steele truly is the face of needed Republican Party reform that he seems to be, I believe Michael Steele has more than earned another term as Chairman.