"Listen. Adapt. Be Positive." Michael Steele's prescription for what ails the GOP could have been written by Baby Cakes himself, above recharging his batteries in the afternoon sunlight during the countdown to supper.
"Ronald Reagan made it cool to be a Republican — it wasn't just his specific policies, but the timeless truths he so eloquently gave voice to, and upon which his policies were based. That's the Republican Party we must re-establish," writes Energizer-in-Chief Michael Steele in "Listen. Adapt. Be Positive" in today's WSJ:
Our challenge lies not in beating Democrats, but in uniting around a message that solidifies our ranks and attracts new people to our cause. We have to listen to what Americans are telling us about their hopes, desires and needs, and then translate that message into proposals for meaningful action squarely grounded on the values we Republicans have always stood for.
Our faith in the power and ingenuity of the individual to build a nation through hard work, personal responsibility and self-discipline is our uniting principle. That is the sacred ground upon which our Republican Party was built. For the sake of all Americans, it is the ground we must reclaim.
Steele's advice to "Listen. Adapt. Be Positive" came in handy last evening as Tiny found herself up a tree at the end of her tether. The line attached to her harness got tripped up in some loose-hanging bark as she tried to climb down head first. Adapting, she reoriented and started to back down. Fortunately, we happened upon the scene just then to help dislodge the line.
We were thrilled to learn from Fox News this evening that Steele, the "former lieutenant governor of Maryland, has decided to run for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee and is in talks with Newt Gingrich to win the former House speaker's endorsement":
Steele declined to comment, but a source close to the situation said Steele would announce his candidacy as early as Thursday.
The source also contradicted a report in Tuesday's Washington Times that Steele and Gingrich were competing for the RNC post [Phew!].
"There is no fight," the source said. "This tension between Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich is totally fabricated and, in fact, Gingrich and Steele are working together to create a new strategy for the direction of the GOP."
In a statement issued by the former House speaker, Gingrich said he was not interested in seeking the post of Republican Party chairman …"my job as an American first is to develop a tri-partisan approach to developing solutions for the challenges we face. I use the word tri-partisan to designate the concept of attracting Democrats, Republicans, and independents to solutions that unify most Americans."
We haven't felt this energized about the Grand Old Party since
we saw that Ronald Reagan film that day last August when Sarah Palin emerged metaphorically from John McCain's brow. We've gotten to know Michael Steele's political philosophy, authenticity and easy manner through frequent TV guest appearances during this long election season, and we like the cut of his sail. Some fun facts from a US News series of profiles on possible McCain running mates last April:
He grew up in a family of Democrats. Steele credits his mother, Maebell, and Ronald Reagan with turning him toward the Republican Party. Reagan's pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps message recalled a trait Steele's mother exhibited after her first husband, Steele's father, died in 1962 of alcoholism-related liver disease. She refused to go on welfare. Instead, she went to work as a laundress earning minimum wage to support Michael and his sister.
One of the first in his family to go to college, he earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Steele also spent a few years at the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University, in preparation for the priesthood, before deciding instead on a career in civil service.
In 2004, Steele was tapped to speak at the Republican National Convention, eliciting comparisons with Barack Obama's keynote address at the Democratic convention …
On Feb. 1, 2007, Steele was named the chairman of GOPAC, a political action committee working to elect Republicans to office (Newt Gingrich once held the same position).
The fact that Michael Steele is a "mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" is frosting on the cake, confounding the efforts of Obama & Company to play the race card against people like us who may take issue with his agenda.
Update: All things bright, clean and nice looking at Modulator's Friday Ark #217.