Former Maryland Lt. Gov Michael Steele triumphed over
four opponents in the race for Republican National Committee chairman
Friday, giving the party its first black chairman as well as a forceful
communicator at a time of political weakness.
“This is awesome,” Steele told RNC members in a victory speech. “It
is with a great deal of humility and a sense of service that I accept
and appreciate and thank all of you for the opportunity to serve.”
A lot of politicians speak such words. Having met Steele and
followed his own political campaign and regular television commentary,
I believe he has true humility and a commitment to service, as well as
strong leadership skills. The Republicans sure need that.
“It’s time for something completely different,” Steele said in his victory speech.
Steele’e emergence as the victor appeared to signal a desire on the
committee to distance itself from the eight years of the Bush
administration and put forth a new face for the party.
And like the head of the Democratic party, that face of leadership
is a black man, charismatic and eloquent and very smart. Immediately,
some tv commentators began asking if, finally, we can consider
ourselves as post-racial as we thought we were.
It’s a new day in party politics in America. Both men have huge
tasks, Steele to rebuild a party in shambles and conservative movement
adrift. Obama to lead a nation in crisis and serve liberals and
conservatives perpetually at odds, and all Americans regardless
of their identity. Obama is Christian, Steele is Roman Catholic. May
God direct and protect them both.