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Michael Steele’s First Order of Business? Judd Gregg

The new Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman’s first test of leadership is in front of him. Michael Steele spoke of challenges looming months away, but in fact, a big one sits right in front of him. Coming out of the gate with a win can set the tone for his term as RNC chief.

President Obama wants Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) to quit the United States Senate and join his Cabinet. Gregg claims this would not shift power in the Senate to the Democrats, and so we are therefore to place our trust in the Democrat governor of his state to replace him with a Republican. It’s pure nonsense, and Michael Steele needs to say so.

Obama already placed Republican Ray LaHood on his Cabinet as Transportation secretary — nice little move that ensured that if there were a special election in Illinois to replace Obama in the Senate, LaHood was safely out of the running (he could win statewide more easily than most other Illinois Republicans). (It was also not a bad move for Caterpillar, with its international headquarters in Peoria and lots of that stimulus package money for roads and infrastructure going to Cat — but that’s a discussion for another day.)

At this point, Steele needs to take an immediate and hard line against Judd Gregg leaving the Senate and joining the Obama administration. Steele’s strength is his media savvy and ability to garner camera time. He needs to use it now to let his party, the press, Democrats and Barack Obama know in no uncertain terms that Republicans will fight for every inch and not back down.

Steele needs to let Sen. Gregg know that he will essentially be “excommunicated” from the party if he abandons the GOP when we need him in Senate. At the same time, he can applaud Obama’s stated intent of including Republicans in his administration, but he needs to call him out on pilfering from office holders in an attempt to reduce GOP numbers in a way that exposes the initial bipartisan outreach for what it is — a ruse.

Michael Steele squeaked into the chairman’s position on the sixth ballot and a close vote. Almost half the RNC membership was not comfortable with his credentials and lacked confidence in his ability to lead the party and garner results. This is his opportunity to gain their confidence and help unite the Republican Party.

Steele needs to stand up to Obama and get Judd Gregg into line. No compromises on this will be tolerated by the GOP party faithful.


Tags Barack Obama Judd Gregg Judd Gregg Maryland Republican Party Michael Steele New Hampshire Person Career Person Party Political parties in the United States Politics Politics of the United States Presidency of Barack Obama Quotation Ray LaHood Republican National Committee Republican Party Republican Party of Florida Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda

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