Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Michael Steele's Faint Voice
Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich: Depending on who you talk to, one of them is the leader of the Republican Party. With Sarah Palin safely hidden just south of the Russian border, the discussions about who leads the GOP revolves around these three men. Where does that leave Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, who continues to be losing the battle for media exposure to the big three? Last week, Steele excitedly trumpeted the GOP's prospects. "The two-party system is making a comeback," he said. "The Republican Party is again going to emerge as the party of new ideas." Although Steele says he's excited about the GOP's prospects, one thing has become clear: those ideas he refers to are in very short supply. And Steele and the Republicans face a far bigger problem. Whatever their message, nobody seems to be listening. The last voice of reason for the Republican Party, Colin Powell, has been openly mocked by Cheney and Limbaugh for endorsing Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in last year's presidential race. Limbaugh called Powell "just another liberal" and said he should become a Democrat. Limbaugh claims that Powell endorsed Obama because he's black. Powell shot back last week: "I may be out of their version of the Republican Party, but there's another version of the Republican Party waiting to emerge once again." As the Republican party seems to be shrinking, Gingrich, the former House speaker who's seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2012, agrees about the need to broaden the base, offering this advice: "I think Republicans are going to be very foolish if they run around deciding they're going to see how much they can purge us down to the smallest possible base." He's right about that, but the Republicans are still running around in circles. If you listen closely, you can hear Michael Steele's faint voice rallying for a comeback. His is the party of new ideas, after all. It's just that nobody can come up with any off the top of their heads.