Needless Distractions for the GOP

I’m having difficulty understanding the latest drummed-up “saga” between Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and radio personality Rush Limbaugh.

The media has seized on this political chum in the water, and Democrats are all too eager to toss more overboard. Yet if you pause and think about it, the two shouldn’t really care what the other is doing. Rush is an entertainer. Period. Yes, he has a following, and that is good for ratings, ad buys, even stoking the masses when the left missteps — all integral parts to an entertainment show. But he’s still first and foremost an entertainer.

Chairman Steele, on the other hand, is charged with running a national party apparatus. There are so many components to that daily job that I can’t fathom why or even how he would have time in the day to comment on what is reported about Mr. Limbaugh — let alone have enough time to listen to his show.

Yes, Steele is a leader, and looked to by the press and the public to keep his party faithful in line, but again, Mr. Limbaugh is an entertainer. When he was trashing the Republican-led Congress during their failed years of largesse, I didn’t see then-Chairman Ed Gillespie chasten Limbaugh. He did what Chairman Steele should do — ignore him.

All of these episodes are needless distractions for the Republican Party, and calculated time bombs by the Democratic Party. When you realize they are the culprits behind this Charlie Brown ploy, it ends pretty quickly.

I’m a little disappointed in the Republican chairman here of late. Now more than ever, this party needs principles, not personalities — even old personalities like Ronald Reagan. What has been lost is the party’s sense of what matters to average Americans. It needs a renaissance of ideals.

I worry Mr. Steele has made it more about himself. He doesn’t need to do this alone. If he can get the ideals resurrected and the message right and disseminated to the state parties, etc., then his legacy will be sealed.

But acting like a black Moses just isn’t in the best interests of the party. Why? Because center-left and center-right moderates aren’t looking solely for a color match to President Obama. They want substance. That was the common mistake made by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) handlers — it’s not enough to be the non-white Republican in the room. That won’t grant you instant credibility with average voters. Jindal’s speech was a “buzz-kill,” as one listener recently said on air.

The Republican Party is steadily regaining its foothold in the debate of big government versus big ideas. I hope it doesn’t slip by including big personalities in that calculus.


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