Now the Hard Work Begins

The Republican Party took a small step last Friday toward climbing out of the deep chasm it has dug for itself during the past eight to 10 years with the selection of Michael Steele as its next chairman. I know Mr. Steele to be a man of great character — hungry and with vision for the party. I know he will serve that institution well.

His task is certainly daunting, and fraught with distractions from well-intentioned but misguided and stale power players in the organization’s structure.

The status quo ante simply won’t work anymore. They know that. Michael Steele knows that. And yet, old habits die hard. Those remnants that have helped perpetuate a regional party of wandering, disenchanted white males is where Steele should aim his sights first. The temptation to revert to binary politics — tearing down the Democratic Party in hopes of boosting the Republican Party — will be strong, but they must resist.

For you see, the party is about more than any one individual. Even Ronald Reagan couldn’t rescue this group now; nor should we let him if he were still alive. You’ve heard me argue this point before. The GOP has lost its idea-generating capacity, and no one should be coronated with the notion that he or she is the sole originator of sound policy, sound vision or even sound ideas.

Equally so, it will take more than Michael Steele to resurrect the party and return it to its rightful place.

Steele knows that; he said as much on Friday. He must involve the state party apparatus and all the functions of the national party. He must be tactically stealth-like in his approach — picking fights where it suits their strengths, but presenting the voice of alternative views in an inclusive way in every forum.

The journey begins today for Steele’s GOP. Selecting him was a step in the right direction.




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