Sunday, February 14, 2010

A 12 Step Program for Destroying a National Party – A Handbook by Michael Steele

Published 01/08/10

At this time in history, the Republican Party, the only true mechanism that has the strength to defeat Obama socialism, should be polling at over 60% in the polls. But thanks to the collision course set in motion by Chairman Steele, we likely won’t have a united party in six months from now. That’s not a joke or even a hunch. It’s a sad reality stemming from the shocking buffoonery of a chairman who has displayed a level of ineptitude that is unprecedented at any time in American politics.

The foremost role of a party chairman is to organize and steadily grow an enthusiastic base of supporters. Michael Steele is a nice enough man for the job. He’s cordial, likeable and energetic. But his tenure at the helm of the GOP has been as follows: Michael Steele has lost thousands of lifelong RNC members by way of unheard of fundraising tactics that defy incredulity, he’s lowered morale and dampened volunteerism by becoming the only public voice to declare the GOP the losers of the 2010 election cycle, he’s failed to enact a single new method of outreach (which didn’t stop him from destroying already existing ones), he’s constantly beat a drumbeat of blame against every leading Republican in the nation and he showers every senior Democrat with accolades whenever the opportunity arises to do so.

In short, Michael Steele is a nice man. And he’s as hapless as he is incompetent on the political stage. And he’s got to go.

When Steele first arrived on the scene, many of us had high hopes for him. While I did not openly support him over the others, I did feel that his energetic, proactive and telegenic presence would do our party well. When he was elected, I was hopeful for the future of our party. I still am, as I believe that his reckless tenure is soon coming to an end.

As it turns out, his campaign was a two bit farce. For all of his bluster about reaching out to people by using the latest in technology, no chairman of any national party has ever made such obvious mistakes or turned off as many people by way of sheer ineptitude. The tactics that Michael Steele has engaged in are more befitting of Laurel and Hardy than they are of a national chairman and the Republican Party has paid a dear price for this outrageous folly.

Mailers have been sent out that have accomplished the singular goal of forever turning off lifelong members and donors. Most RNC members give their donations toward the end of the year. This August, instead of sending the usual photographs, surveys or other enticements to donate, Steele’s “new and improved” fundraising machine began sending out “past due” notices, even to members who had made their annual donations less than a year earlier. That’s right, “past due notices” used as solicitations of voluntary contributions. Too bad he doesn’t fundraise for al-Qaeda. Chairman Steele would stop terror in its tracks.

In truth, there’s nothing funny about this. As a result of his comedic stunt, which he repeated two or three times, thousands of lifelong members decided to tell Steele’s RNC to take a hike. Historically, most people who let their membership lapse never rejoin. Thank you Chairman Steele.

Public statements have been made which defy belief. When the LA Times proclaimed Republicans the likely victors of the midterm elections (a sentiment also implied by ABC’s “This Week” roundtable, hardly one of our most sympathetic forums), Chairman Steele went on the airwaves to assure the voting public that such prognostications were far too optimistic for reality. The fact that his statement, made as party chairman, would cost the GOP tens of millions of fundraising dollars and thousands upon thousands of volunteer hours was irrelevant. What the point of his pontifications was remains unclear.

On the heals of that outrageous interview, instead of issuing a statement of apology, or even a clarification, Chairman Steele instead sent out a mass email mourning the passing of the “producer and director of the world’s largest traveling fashion show,” a show that Steele went on to proclaim “a celebrated moment in American history.” In fairness, that email only cost a few thousand dollars, about the amount it would cost to hire election day workers in a few close contests. The Chairman had it wrong. The hour of his resignation as party leader will be a “celebrated moment in American history.”

Michael Steele is a fine man and I wish him every success in the business world. But if our party is to survive as a united entity, if we are to grow our numbers and if we are to stave off the political scam of a third party (whose leaders are longtime Democrat activists in patriot clothing), then the sad chapter of this chairman’s tenure must come to an end.

Republicans have a choice. We can replace our chairman or we can risk losing half our party - not because of policy, but because of sheer and utter ineptitude.

No Democrat Party chairman ever saw fit to blame the losses of their party on the ineptitude of its candidates, and to remind the public of same on a weekly basis. No Democrat chairman has ever said that his party would lose an election. They all realized that doing so is the political equivalent of being named head coach of the Chicago Bears and announcing at your opening press conference that the Buccaneers will win the next Super Bowl.

No Republican chairman has ever acted so recklessly before either. And at no time has the lone opposition to an unpopular government been in such a hampered position.

Lesson learned, Michael Steele. If we Republicans had ignored style over substance, we’d have been led by a brilliant tactician like Saul Anuzis, a great organizer like Katon Dawson or a deep thinking like Ken Blackwell. Next time we choose the telegenic one, we may as well go with “Chairman” Conan O’Brien, so that our party can at least get some favorable one liners on late night TV. Lesson learned, Mr. Chairman. At least we still have a chance to fix it.

Chairman Steele can resign nobly. He can decide to become a candidate for office or to take some other position of his choosing. But the Republican Party needs a chairman who knows how to be a chairman. Plain and simple, it’s the only way to save the party of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan and the party of Michael Steele.

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