"Obviously the winds of change are blowing," said Mike Duncan as he bowed out of the race. I am very pleased that the winds of change are blowing in the Republican Party and I am pleased with the direction in which they are blowing. Mike Duncan was my least favorite candidate.
Earlier in the day Former Tennessee GOP leader Chip Saltsman withdrew his name. Saltzman had lessened his chances of being elected chairman when controversy erupted over a Paul Shanklin CD that contained the parody "Barack the Magic Negro." Saltzman had sent that CD as a Christmas gift to members of the RNC. I am glad he was forced to withdraw. The image of a Republican Party with a chairman who is racially insensitive is the last thing the party needs.
Recently I watched a debate between all of the candidates. At that time there were about eight or so people in the running. I knew I did not want Duncan or Saltsman to be selected and none of the others impressed me except for Michael Steele. I was hoping he would be elected but did not think it likely.
One of the things that I thought was revealing about that debate was that one of the questions asked of the candidates was the number of guns they owned. Some of the candidates owned small arsenals. Michael Steele was the only RNC candidate that said he did not own a gun. I was displeased that that was even a relevant question to ask. I am pleased that you do not have to be a gun owner to be elected chairman of the RNC.
I am also pleased that we selected a Black man. The Republican Party has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to race. Clarence Thomas, J. C. Watts, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice are just a few of the prominent Black Republicans that come to mind. Since Blacks vote Democratic about 95% of the time, it is surprising we have as many prominent Black leaders as we do. However, with the country having just elected a Black person as President, we need to remind people that minorities are welcome in the Republican Party. If the party is going to win elections in the future we must attract more Black, Hispanic, and other ethnic voters. Having a Black man as leader of the party should help spread the word that we are an inclusive welcoming political party.
The party has a lot of rebuilding to do. We must reach out to those who do not now vote Republican. We cannot win elections by kicking out everyone who deviates from the most narrow of definition of what it means to be a conservative. Anyone who agrees with us more often than they agree with Democrats should be welcome to be a Republican. We need to be adding to our ranks not subtracting.
There is a segment of the party that is going to be displeased. They will accuse Steele of being a RINO, Republican in name only. “RINO” seems to be one of the worse epitaphs that one Republican can hurl at another. It is worse than “neo-con.” According to some Republicans, John McCain was a RINO. These are the same people who think George Will is a “so called conservative”. I don’t want the Rush followers or the Ron Paul followers to feel unwelcome in the Republican Party but neither should they be allowed to take it over. Those of us who think John McCain was the best candidate the party had to offer and who were actually proud of our candidate should not cower in face of those who showed only lukewarm support for the party’s candidate.
If you are going to reply to this blog post by calling me a RINO, go ahead. The winds of change are blowing in our direction. We RINO’s, like John McCain, and “so called conservatives,” like George Will, just got ourselves a good chairman for this party.