It’s the political equivalent of a steel cage match.
The prize ?
A behind-the-scenes battle to take the reins of the Republican National Committee is taking off between former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele.
Neither man will acknowledge his interest in the post, but Republicans close to each are burning up the phone lines and firing off e-mails to fellow party members in an effort to oust RNC Chairman Mike Duncan in the wake of the second consecutive drubbing of Republican candidates at the polls.
A bevy of backers for each man, neither of whom is an RNC member, say the committee needs a leader who can formulate a counter-agenda to President-elect Barack Obama’s administration and articulate it on the national stage.
“The Republican National Committee has to ask itself if it wants someone who has successfully led a revolution,” Randy Evans, Gingrich confidant and personal attorney based in Atlanta, told The Washington Times on Monday. “If it does, Newt’s the one.”
Those like Shawn Steel who want to see Mr. Steele as the face of the party say he has the “it” required for national stardom – that he is tall, articulate and charismatic. Mr. Steele headed the Maryland Republican Party (and was the only black state party chairman) before being elected lieutenant governor and then losing his U.S. Senate race two years ago.
“I believe that the RNC ought to recruit a superstar,” Mr. Steel said in a dear colleague letter to other RNC members. “That superstar should have the following qualities:
– instant media recognition and credibility;
– knowledge of where and how to raise money;
– the ability to convince members of Congress to take visionary pro-growth and pro-family stands, that when some members act like Democrats they do a great disservice to the party’s brand.”
Steele would be an interesting pick to say the least. A black Republican who happened to win a statewide election in one of bluest states south of the Mason-Dixon line would certainly bring a different perspective to an RNC that seems paralyzed at the moment.
As for Gingrich, yea he’s interesting, but he’s so 1994.