Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tough Week For Michael Steele

It's been a tough week for Michael Steele.

Not only is the Republican National Committee
head having to live down the scandal of "fundraising"
at a lesbians-and-bondage themed West Hollywood
night club, but he's now having to answer new questions
about his RNC-paid expense account.

Then, there's the matter of charging his travel expenses
to the RNC while accepting speaking fees at $20,000 a

And, finally, there's the matter of just how effective he's
been in his main job - which is fundraising for Republican

Thus far, compared to his Democratic counterparts, not
very. Through the last reporting period, The RNC has
managed to raise only $9.5 million for its Congressional
arm, the RNCC. In the meantime, the DNCC, its Democratic
counterpart, has raised about $25 million for its candidates.

And all of this raises the one question that no one wants to
ask - why would a party that is largely composed of older,
rural, Angry White People choose a scholarly, moderate
Black Man as its head?

And, in my opinion, here are the answers.

First of all, the "lesbian nightclub" event would not have
come to light at all had the reimbursement not been
included in a required FEC filing and been seized upon
by alert liberal bloggers. In truth, the event was paid
for by a fundraising consultant, and reimbursed by
the RNC as a matter of course.

Now, despite the fact that this particular consultant
relationship has been terminated, there's a reasonable
explanation for the event. And it has to do with the sorts of
people that the "consultant" was cultivating - younger,
wealthy, creative entrepreneurial types who might
otherwise contribute and vote Democratic.

Needless to say, the party of Barney Frank would have
no problem with such an event; and the GOP is going
to have to compete for that demographic - socially
liberal, even exotic in their tastes,but receptive to a
conservative economic message.

And on the expense account thing, it's the price
of doing business. No Republican National Committee
head is going to be credible raising money from the
wealthy staying at Motel 6 on the road and hosting
fundraising dinners at Denny's.

Like it or not, if you are soliciting donations from
the wealthy, you have to travel in the same circles,
stay in the same hotels, and frequent the same restaurants
and resorts that they do.

You have to show that you belong - and that you get it.

And on the matter of $20,000 speaking fees at fundraisers,
Hailey Barbour, one of Steele's more illustrious predecessors
at the RNC, asked for and got up to five times as much. But
then, as a former Governor of Mississippi and head of the
Republican Governors Conference, he had just a bit more
heft and clout.

And Barbour didn't just fly first class - he flew strictly by
private jet, usually underwritten by the same contributors
he was wooing.

And on fundraising results to date, this is par for the election
cycle. The Republicans are challenging more seats than are
the Democrats in both the House and Senate - and the primary
season for Republicans is still a couple of months away.

And, because of the influence of the Tea Party, the RNC is
going to wait until after the primary season to begin the
general election fundraising cycle.

It's going to make sure that its general election candidates have
reasonable chances of winning - and it knows, that come
Election Day, it's got the Tea Partiers in its pocket anyway.

But in one respect, Steele has been unusually effective. He's
doen a remarkable job in attracting genuine conservatives
who are Other Than White to the GOP banner.

No fewer than 33 conservative African Americans are competing
for House seats this time around. And there are similar numbers
of other minority candidates as well.

Unlike liberalism, the conservative theme of low taxes, limited
government, and individual freedom has a universal appeal
to hard-working folks of ALL races. And this time around, it's
the Democrats who can be effectively painted as the friends of
corporate rent-seekers and outsourcers and the loyal retainers
of Wall Street.

And the GOP this year cannot afford to let Sarah Palin and
the Tea Party steal its message.

Much as the Tea Party might have a gut appeal to true
conservatives, the reality is that a movement built on
conspiracy theories and a frank appeal to the racial and
religious prejudices of rural, uneducated White People
cannot win nationally.

And Michael Steele gets that. And he's doing something
about it.

But, we'll have to wait until November to judge.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! this is such a great news story. LA, lesbians, sex, and bondage are all great stuff, especially together in one club in Hollywood! Democrats simply need to throw parties open to the "hope and change" crowd.. i.e. 18-29 males that like Obama. maybe during or after the club visits those guys can have a little hope and change in their sex lives! Wa wa we wa! Very nice I like! YES!