Exclusive -- Washington Times with Michael Steele
"Let´s just be very frank about it. What the party´s got to do is get its head out of the clouds and out of the sand and recognize that the dynamics politically and otherwise around them have changed," said Mr. Steele, in an interview with reporters and editors at The Washington Times.
"The coalitions ... are very different from what they were 25 years ago," he said. ...
Mr. Steele blasted the Republican Party's lackluster effort in recruiting those same new voters, especially minorities.
"The problem is that within the operations of the RNC, they don't give a damn. It's all about outreach ... and outreach means let's throw a cocktail party, find some black folks and Hispanics and women, wrap our arms around them - 'See, look at us,' " he said.
"And then we go back to same old, same old. There's nothing that is driven down to the state party level, where state chairmen across the country, to the extent they don't appreciate it, are helped to appreciate the importance of African-Americans and women and others coming and being a part of this party, and to the extent that they do appreciate it, are given support and backup to generate their own programs to create this relationship."
"Outreach is a cocktail party. Coalitions ... a relationship. I'm going to look you in the eye. I'm going to be at your table. I'm going to sit and talk to you," said Mr. Steele, who has for the last two years been the chairman of GOPAC, a Republican political action committee. ...
He also points out that we led lackluster efforts to reach out to the youth for their support, and notes that Obama did that and they now make up the new cadre of voters that propelled him to the presidency.
Steele is going to ruffle some feathers in the RNC, and that's fine by us. He's right in referring to the leadership as something akin to a cocktail party. The Republican leaders are content that their strategy will work when in fact it failed miserably. Folks, we got shellacked in this election, and we're barely hanging onto our relevant minority in the Senate. If we lose the firewall of Coleman and Chambliss, the Democrats will be able to run rough-shod over our party, and ram through whatever they wont knowing full well that Obama would likely sign whatever they send him.
What needs to be done in the party is simple, and yet so intrinsically difficult.
-- Outreach to younger voters and younger, activist minded individuals. The youth is the future of the party, and they are plenty of intelligent young adults out there that would do well in elected office. Starting at the state level, or even the city level, and then make a progression up the political ladder.
-- The Internet can be our key, and we need to revamp our IT operations. Obama tapped the same network that Howard Dean did in 2004, before his infamous "scream-heard-'round-the-world," and used that network effectively. Not only did it enhance his fundraising (which appeared to be shady and fraudulent in the waning days of the election) but it also garnered him a ton of new supporters. We can do the exact same thing (minus the fraud), and grow our grass-roots efforts.
-- Leadership that doesn't want to realign can leave. We've had it with these leaders that think they know better, and are more content to do the same old song and dance. If they don't want to go along with revamping the party, and returning it to it's roots, then they can go.
-- Grass roots and get-out-the-vote efforts need to be reevaluated, and increased. The demographics in the election don't lie. We failed to get-out-the-vote, and whether it was due to McCain being at the top of the ticket (and many disgruntled Republicans not pleased with him) or whether they just believed it was inevitable that Obama would win matters not. Given a change in leadership, we shouldn't have a lackluster candidate the next time around. But we also need grass-roots individuals that are willing to get out, pound the pavement, and get people excited and out to the polls.
Steele can pull this off. He's got the backing of several party leaders, such as Newt Gingrich, and he's got the backing of the base, for the most part. (I know a few are grousing that he shouldn't be the party chair because he doesn't have the national attention that someone like Gingrich has, but he's got the youthful energy to make the changes necessary.) On 17 November (this past Monday) Jon Henke wrote over at The Next Right that the Republican party is the "drunk party" and it's time for a serious change. He's right, and he points out the great divide between the old party leaders and the new kids on the scene telling the drunks to sit down. Michael Steele is going to need the health of the up-and-comers if he's going to change the party from moving down the road to permanent minority status, and make us the competitive party of ideas we used to be.