California Insider Report - What's The Real Story With The RNC Race?


January 8, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - - As the elected Republican National Committeeman from California, I plan on sharing information over the next few weeks on the race for the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. Who wins the RNC chairmanship will either help propel Republicans, or get us sidetracked into a ditch.

The RNC Chair is only the official face and public opposition to the Democrat Hegemony.

When Obama, Reid and Pelosi speak, only the RNC chair can serve as an effective Republican voice, not our guys in the House or Senate. The January 28 election for the new RNC chair is the most important vote for all 168 (3 per state plus 6 territories) RNC members. That vote will take place one week after the Obama Inaugural in Washington DC... and it's getting mighty hot for all 168 members.

There are six candidates. The guy who was in charge of the last thrashing is running for re-election. He is the Bush holdover, having been hand-selected for the job by the President. Chances are you cannot name him. Neither can most Republican leaders or activists.

He is the "invisible" chair. In a recent commentary for Politico I wrote:

"Duncan has been the Invisible Chairman, installed in January 2007 by Karl Rove to be unobtrusive - a mission he has carried out brilliantly. Many, if not most, Republican leaders and activists don't know who he is. For example, when Duncan was a guest recently on the "Hugh Hewitt Show," the radio host asked Duncan why this was the first time this RNC chairman had ever asked to come on the show and address millions of his fellow Republicans.

Duncan couldn't give an answer other than he'd been busy for the past year. I suppose that's one way to look at it. Another way is he hasn't provided the kind of leadership the Republican National Committee needs in this day and age." [see, Mike Who?,]

Two candidates are current state chairs, Saul Anuzis of Michigan and Katon Dawson of South Carolina. Both are sharp, experienced and would be good chairs. Both have important support. Chip Saltzman is a real dark horse. Chip served as Huckabee's campaign chair, but his release of Paul Shanklin's CD featuring "Obama the Magic Negro" voice by Al Sharpton has generated a lot of negative press.

The two remaining candidates are long time successful politicians who have paid their dues. Both are media intelligent, both write frequently; both are movement conservatives.

Both happen to be African American. Ken Blackwell, former Mayor, state Treasurer, HUD reformer and Ohio Secretary of State and Michael Steele, former Lt Governor and Republican Chairman of Maryland, happen to be the best known candidates.

These high profile candidates could have been Asian or Latinos or women. Today, our Party is producing a broader category of leaders. This is extremely healthy for our future.

Ken Blackwell just earned the endorsements of a plethora of conservative icons including Morton Blackwell, Phyllis Schlafly , David Keene, Pat Toomey and Steve Forbes. He owns more guns than any of the other candidates. He will certainly clean house with the good old boys at the fossilized RNC HQ.

I like Michael Steele a lot. I served with him when we were both state party chairmen from 2001 to 2003. Michael a former Benedictine Monk for three years, is the most effective communicator, as seen on Fox TV. He enjoys public endorsements by Sean Hannity, Dennis Miller and has landed a one year gig on Bill Bennett's Morning in America Show, appearing every Friday. He promises to clean the stables at the RNC, and as GOPAC chair knows how to raise the huge funds required to successfully compete in the 2009 emerging "Obama Era."

Have a look here CSPAN RNC Chair Candidate Debate at the definitive debate sponsored by Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, which was featured live on C-Span and several other outlets. Interestingly, the first question posed to the candidates in the debate was submitted by none other than FlashReport's Publisher, Mr. Fleischman!

Of the six candidates, Michael Steele is the only charismatic one. He can sell our values.

Few RNC members have or probably will declare their favorites. Each RNC member achieved their position by spending lots of years in politics. It's a secret ballot, so there will be a fantastic game of Liar's Poker. So anyone can say who they are for and vote another way. The winner must get a majority of the 168. Some predict this race will take up to six ballots.

Between now and Jan 28 the mud will be flying, threats made, friends betrayed, promises made, deals offered - just a good political fight. The key will be how long it will take the RNC to coalesce into a winning formula to change the Party's brand. Our decision will help determine if we will be the out party like the Conservatives in England who still wait some dozen years ago or we get back into the game in 2010.

Mr. Steel is California RNC National Committeeman and a long-time conservative California GOP activist.

2009 Shawn Steel. All rights reserved.