Commentary Magazine


Jostling For The RNC Chair

This report points out that the contenders for head of the RNC are all making statements and flexing their talking-point-muscles on Blago-gate. This emphasizes a key skill for the post, while the opposition is firmly in power: the ability to make your case in the media. The ability to forcefully, but cheerfully, oppose a popular (for now) President is quite a talent.

Michael Steele and Ken Blackwell have plenty of practice in this area, and regularly appear on TV and talk radio. Oddly, the least expert of the candidates may be the current RNC Chair Mike Duncan. I frankly can’t recall seeing him on any cable or network news show. Indeed, his absence from talk radio has been so noticeable that Hugh Hewitt quizzed him on it in a rare interview this Monday.

The challenge for the RNC is to find someone who combines the organizational and media skills to improve both the GOP’s operation and its public image. The most successful of the past RNC chiefs (Bill Brock and Ken Mehlman come to mind) were able to do both. Finding someone who does even one of these tasks well, and who meets with the approval of party insiders, may be tough. Finding someone who does both, may be next to impossible.