Sunday, February 01, 2009

Steele’s GOP Promise – Analysis - Reaching Out and Winning over Democrats without Compromising Conservative Principals – His Winning Attributes: The

From Wikipedia: Steele Presents award to USNS Comfort Crew

There is a great deal of excitement among grassroots conservatives over the choice of Michael Steele as Republican National Committee Chair – and most media are either missing the point, or ignoring several facets of Steele’s resume and biography that are critical. First, one has to look at the man in total, the fact that he has been involved in Republican politics since Reagan became an inspiration, having ideals similar to his mother’s, hard-working and principled, Steele did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. Reagan’s appeal to those who traditionally voted with the Democrat Party is apparent in Steele, who personally identifies with those constituents and, by virtue of that fact, invites them back into the party.

One major factor of Steele’s biography that has been somewhat absent (while the focus, of course, is the fact that Steele is an African American - truly a moot point), is his Catholicism. Prior to his graduation from John Hopkins (He went onto Georgetown to earn his Law, Degree) Steele, a devout Catholic, graduated from Archbishop Carrol High School in Washington DC, went onto John Hopkins (Where he earned a B.A. in International Relations), and of import, he attended the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University for 3 years, prior to his enrollment at Georgetown. .

Steele’s resume is impressive in many ways, yet, why would the fact that he is a Catholic be a bigger factor than, say race? A quick study of the Catholic vote in the United States is in order.
Catholics are primarily working class (union) and vote consistently with the Democrat Party (with exceptions), and against the teachings of the Church (especially as it applies to Abortion). In fact, since 1972 the “white” (here we go, media obsession with race again) Catholic vote (numbered at 20-25 million or as high as 30 million, depending upon the source), has had an impact on the General Election, in fact, they have voted consistently for and with the winning party since 1972 (noted by Washington Post). Keeping that in mind, the Catholic Vote was more responsible for the election of George Bush in 2004 than evangelicals. -Why? They identified with Bush, not as a pro-life protestant, but as the “guy in the work shirt standing atop the rubble of the World Trade Center, when compared to the “elite” John Kerry windsurfing off the Cape, Catholics voted with the guy who most closely resembled their own ideals (not political party).

What happened then with John McCain? Perception: (Aided by an all too willing media) – The choice was clear, you either voted for a guy who didn’t know how many houses he owned, or the guy who was a community organizer and talked the talk of the working man (unless of course, he was out of earshot at a fundraiser in San Francisco . (A fact, which, for some reason, did not trickle down to the rank and file). Additionally, the issue of abortion played a minor role until the last moments leading up to the election (and afterward), when some Catholic Priests began to make a little noise about Obama’s support for partial birth abortion.

A few events have taken place within the Vatican and the Church since the last election that may be worthy of note: One of Obama’s first official acts was to repeal the ban on aid for abortions overseas, a move that prompted a Senior Vatican Archbishop, Rino Fisichella, to call the American President “arrogant”. (Outstanding treatment and article here at “Right Pundits”) The fact should not go unnoticed that an Italian Archbishop (Vatican Politics) making such a statement is more impactful than one coming from an American Cardinal in the same building – it is proximity to the Pope. Almost immediately following the lifting of this ban, the Vatican suddenly went tech – with a dedicated, English only, YouTube Cannel. Although Church’s are in danger of losing Tax-Exempt Status should they preach politics from the pulpit; there is no restriction on speaking out against the act of abortion, or any other topic relevant to the Church’s teaching – additionally, the church has every right to excommunicate or otherwise prohibit Catholics who are pro-choice from participating in church sacraments; given the more involved Vatican, one might anticipate that this trend will continue and increase in scope.

Now enter Steele, a devout Catholic, at the helm of the pro-life party, who can identify (through his own life experience) with the working class (otherwise known as: dedicated Democrat votes). Additionally, the more the media screams (there really is no other word for it) “Race”, the more Steele downplays that aspect (we are all American’s regardless of color, ethnicity and/or gender) and focuses instead on the truism that regardless of the aforementioned, most Americans are center right – the problem has been that, since Reagan, no one has bothered to engage those voters, giving them (and the states in which they reside) up for lost.

As an Evangelical, Spanish Catholic, living in Massachusetts, the election of Steele and his statement, “To my friends in the Northeast: get ready, baby. It's time to turn it on, and work to do what we always do well, and that is win. We're gonna win again in the Northeast. made the mantra: "Hope and Change" a reality - for Conservatives. For far too long, Massachusetts (among other states that were considered “too Blue) have been all but ignored by the national party – Massachusetts, especially, should be given a closer look for the following reasons: a) the states electorate is overwhelmingly independent; with both Republicans and Democrats losing members in the past two election cycles, b)those independents have been responsible for putting Republican’s, when and where available, into the statehouse, the US Senate and the Governor seat. Finally, independents will also give Massachusetts 12 electoral college votes to a Republican - as they did with Reagan – twice.

What has been lacking to date for the conservatives in this state? Effective leadership at both the state and national level; which changed this past week with the election of Jennifer Nassour (her plan for the State Party bears a striking resemblance to Steele’s plan for the national party), and Steele’s understanding that the Blue States are “ripe for the picking”, (There are sufficient grassroots activists (read conservatives of all strips and registered independents) already in place that will work for the party, if asked to the dance. They’ve been asked to the dance.

While, The New York Times, is making Steele’s Chair about “Race”, they did not delve into his “appeal” to the “regular folk”, or the Catholic Vote, which may end up reducing the ranks of their pet party. Steele, no stranger to the media, is characterized as having an ”upbeat image” by the Baltimore Sun, immediately taking control by publicly telling Republican Legislatures to "Stick to their Guns" on the Stimulus package, a fact that did not go “unreported”.

How important is Michael Steele to the Republican Party’s image? Just Google the new DNC chair, former Gov. Tim Kaine (who will, be in the same position as RNC's Duncan was – taking orders from Obama, as the party leader). Steele has the ability to run the RNC his way - without the restrictions of a Party Head. One can draw the conclusion, therefore, with this change of pace, the expectations regarding races on all levels in 2010 has changed.

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