It’s not as if anyone expected Michael Steele to mount a comeback for his re-election bid at the RNC chair debate yesterday, especially in light of his increasingly troubled campaign. Though as far as debates go, his performance could have been worse — much worse. No major gaffes, but also no compelling arguments for re-election.
Some of Steele’s statements could have been swiped from one of his campaign speeches from 2008. At one point, he argued that one of the RNC’s major problems was its failure to reach out to minorities.
“When we stopped talking to our friends in the Latino community and the African American community, and when we stopped engaging with individuals and we make assumptions about, ‘Well, they don’t vote for us anyway,’ that’s when we really start to lose,” said Steele.
He added that: “Some new fresh faces and voices that don’t look and sound like us, that don’t have the same walk or background or experience, but bring a wealth of new ideas to the table. We tried to do that through our coalition department at the RNC, created out of whole cloth with the idea of making it grassroots-focused and -oriented.”
But viewers were likely left wondering why the chairman — who had made these same suggestions during his last election campaign — had been unable to follow through on them during his two years in the position.
When Steele was elected, there was a hope that his TV presence and star quality would be able to rival President Obama’s. Obviously, those same attributes led to his downfall. The other RNC-chair hopefuls don’t seem to have the same celebrity presence that Republicans saw in Steele, but that’s probably a good thing. The political winds have shifted enormously since Steele took office, and it will be refreshing to see the RNC take this into consideration with their next choice for chair.