IF I was Michael Steele…
This morning, Politico posted an article concerning a closed door meeting between RNC Chair Michael Steele and the Congressional Republican leadership. According to the story, Steele was told to stay out of policy matters and focus on winning elections in contested seats across the country.
I am not a Michael Steele apologist by any stretch of the imagination. I have used this column to complain that he opens his mouth before thinking way too often. However, the notion that Congressional Republicans are more worthy to advance any policy directives than Steele is ridiculous and have as much to do with political reality as the shadows that are seen by the residents of Plato’s cave.
If I was Michael Steele, here is what I would say to the residents of Capitol Hill…
1) I would acknowledge the following: Yes, I have not been elected to any office by myself; Yes, they are elected members of the legislative branch.
2) I would remind them that they are the same Republicans who were in office when President George W. Bush was in office. Most of the leadership was in office from 2001 to 2006 (when Republicans still had the majority) and the congressional approval numbers fell from 56% to 25%.
3) The voting members of the Republican National Committee voted for a change in direction and chose Steele to lead it. The members of Congress were elected by a limited constituency. Steele was elected by the entire RNC membership, which is a national election. If anyone deserves to be at the policy making table, speaking for the membership of a national political party, it is Steele – not a Senator from Kentucky or a Representative from Ohio.
Simply put, the Republican congressional leadership had their chance to shape policy for six years; the result of their failure was felt in 2006 (losing the majority) and 2008 (losing the Presidency) to Barack Obama. If I was Steele, I would tell them to put up or shut up. I would tell them to offer real policy alternatives to the American people or get out of the way.
If they want to fight over turf, fine. If I was Steele, I would give them until February to see if they are actually propose anything useful. The Republican Party can not afford another election cycle where they are outmatched, outgunned, and on the wrong side of the issues. The Congressional Republican leadership have proven over the last four years that they are not up to the task; if they continue to fail, 2010 may be Steele’s opportunity to revive the Republican party.