Baseball Crank has an interesting theory on the source of Michael Steele’s troubled first few weeks as head of the Republican National Committee: the dilemma of the Blue-State Republican.
One important role, which Republicans have had trouble filling in recent years, is the blue-state Republican: politicians who have the skill to win office in states or districts where a majority of the voters are hostile to the GOP, its ideas, and/or its people. Blue-state Republicans don’t necessarily have to be moderates or liberals (though most are), but they do have to have one critical characteristic: the ability to persuade voters to look at them for who they are and not judge them based on their perception of other Republicans/conservatives. Inherently, that is a job that requires me-first-ism and distancing from those other Republicans the voters don’t like. A provocative icon of pure conservatism like Rush Limbaugh or a divisive social issue like abortion is a perfect foil for doing just that.
There’s one simple problem: when you take someone who has instinctually internalized the art of distancing and you make him the putative spokesman for the whole party, you get the worst of both worlds: a guy who keeps putting his own image above that of the party faithful and their core beliefs, followed by the need to apologize and look like he’s beholden to the very people he just tried, intentionally or just by instinct, to distance himself from. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Read the whole post; I think it’s very perceptive. And it makes me wonder if the problem can be resolved in any way that allows Steele to remain as an effective RNC chairman.
What do you think?