February 21, 2009

The cool kids swim TOWARD the sinking ship...

Plan of Steele. How Mr Steele became the Chairman:

...By Brad Todd

In 1977, David Norcross began his career in national politics as New Jersey's representative on the Republican National Committee. That same year, Reince Preibus was preparing for kindergarten.

For a full generation, Norcross has been part of the�RNC's cadre of kingmakers. But on Jan. 30, the Preibus generation took over, as the young Wisconsin GOP Chair�along with a new guard of young Republican leaders�helped Michael Steele score an upset victory to become the new face of the RNC.

That Steele won the chairman's race didn't surprise many Republican activists across the country. The telegenic former Maryland Lieutenant Governor has developed a national following with his Fox News commentary. And those of us who had seen Steele behind-the-scenes of his 2006 Senate race knew him as a free spirit whose first instinct is to rethink campaign conventions. An insurgent campaign in a time of internal party unrest fit his personality well.

But Steele's Jan. 30 win did shock the old bulls of the Republican establishment. Unlike most�if not all�of his predecessors at the RNC, Steele's war counsel wasn't stocked with the old guard. Norcross�like Bush consigliore Ron Kaufman, legendary Ohio party boss Bob Bennett and Karl Rove prot�g� Terry Nelson�was working the floor of the Capital Hilton for another candidate. Rove's hand-picked incumbent Mike Duncan and South Carolina Chair Katon Dawson were more conventional men, more comfortable to the lobby-law wing of the GOP hierarchy.

The core of Steele's winning coalition were the RNC's newer members�people like Preibus and mostly-unknown state party chairs like Jim Greer of Florida and Bob Tiernan of Oregon. Half of Steele's 21-person "whip team" on the committee rose to their current Party leadership roles after the disastrous election of 2006. They're the brave ones who swam toward the sinking ship....
Posted by John Weidner at February 21, 2009 1:06 PM
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