Congratulations to Michael Steele on Becoming RNC Chair! Comeuppance is Sweet, but Successful Leadership and Politicking Are the Best Revenge

— Richard E. Vatz

Weeks following the zenith of the outcry over the contemptible “Barack the Magic Negro” CD, first aired in 2007 on Rush Limbaugh’s show, which was sent by one of his opponents to the Republican National Committee and others, Michael Steele has won a toughly fought battle to be Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

This is not only good news for the Republican Party and conservatives throughout the United States, it is also good news for Maryland, the state of origin of the first African-American elected to statewide office in the “Free State.”

Mr. Steele is a Johns Hopkins graduate, earned his J.D. at Georgetown and was a tremendous Lieutenant Governor. I shall not go through all of Chairperson Steele’s ample credentials, credentials ignored and degraded in 2002 and beyond by the BALTIMORE SUN editorial page and its ignominious ex-editor, Dianne Donovan. Recall in the SUN’s infamous editorial phrase that as Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee he “brings little to the ticket but the color of his skin.” To this day the SUN has not apologized for that calumny.

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The racial attacks on Mr. Steele never fully abated, and many Maryland Democrats condoned them (Democratic Senate President Mike Miller on Mr. Steele in 2002: “the very personification of an Uncle Tom;” State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden on new racial attacks years later on Mr. Steele: “Politics trumps race;” Former Del. Salima Siler Marriott on those same attacks, according to the WASHINGTON TIMES: Mr. Steele “invites comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside…”).

Other major Maryland Democrats? Except for Kweisi Mfume, when elected and powerful Democrats’ children ask them someday what they said when Michael Steele was viciously racially attacked, their answer will have to be one word: “Nothing.”

Michael Steele is a wonderful choice for RNC Chair. He has the values, intelligence, disposition and temperament to unite a party which desperately needs genuinely competent and unifying conservative leadership on a wide array of matters. The African-American support of Republicans is the least it has ever been (estimated, but probably accurately, at about 4% in the 2008 presidential election); Republicans are blamed (falsely) for the mortgage crisis and the economy in general; and the war in Iraq is perceived to have been lost (another falsehood) by President Bush, when it was his surge that will possibly have led to a stable Iraq, as opposed by then-Sen. Obama and Democratic Congressional leadership in general. Let’s see the Republicans make the case under Chairman Steele against the Democrats’ 2009McGovern-type stimulus program of income redistribution and giveaways. The one indisputable issue, whose outcome will not be ambiguous, is the Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, which President Obama has promised to stop. Let’s see how his rhetoric of accommodation works to stop that catastrophe.

Michael Steele is able to make salient and articulate Democratic depredations, the Republican case, and the Republican agenda, and he can effectively promote the cruciality of Republicans’ uniting.

It’s a great day for Michael Steele, Republicans, conservatives and supporters of a two-party system. Unfortunately for Maryland Democrats, it’s an I-told-you-so day – maybe the SUN will write their apology soon.

Richard E. Vatz is professor of political communication at Towson University

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