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November 10, 2006
Steele For RNC Chief

The Washington Times reports this morning that Michael Steele will have his choice of high-profile jobs after losing a tough race to Benjamin Cardin for Maryland's open Senate seat. With Ken Mehlman's announcement of his resignation as Republican National Committee chair, many have openly speculated that Steele will get the nod as his replacement. However, Karl Rove wants Steele in Bush's Cabinet, possibly to lead HUD:

Also last night, Republican officials told The Times that Mr. Steele, who lost his bid for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, has been sought out to succeed Mr. Mehlman as national party chairman. Those Republican officials said Mr. Steele had not made a decision whether to take the post, as of last night.

Other Republican Party officials said some Republican National Committee (RNC) members, including state party chairmen, have mounted a move to have Mr. Steele succeed Mr. Mehlman.

But they said that President Bush's political adviser Karl Rove, who is Mr. Mehlman's mentor, would rather see Mr. Steele serve in the president's Cabinet, perhaps as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. These officials said no one has actually offered Mr. Steele either the RNC post or a Cabinet post.

I think either would be a plum assignment for Steele, but he should really use caution before joining a lame-duck Cabinet when the White House has to face an opposition that controls both chambers of Congress. The assignment won't help Steele gain much national credibility, especially at HUD, which has a reputation for petty corruption and rampant incompetence. Granted, Steele could make history by revamping it and cleaning house, but that hardly did wonders for Jack Kemp's political career.

With all due respect to the White House, both Steele and the Republicans would be better served with Steele at the helm of the RNC. He instantly gives more credibility to Republican outreach efforts to minority communities, a key goal after years of writing them off as lost causes. He brings experience, as he has served as Maryland's Republican chair in the past, and after the midterms, the RNC needs someone with some seasoning from the trenches. He would have a much higher national profile at the RNC than he would stuck in the DC bureaucracy, perhaps even positioning him for a governorship or a Presidential run farther down the road.

Steele would be a worthy successor to Mehlman, who unfortunately leaves on an unhappy note after having done so much to build Republican forces over the past few years. I have had the pleasure of meeting Ken on a few occasions, and he is a serious, committed man with a disciplined mind. He leaves the RNC better than he found it, and he will appear again in Republican politics; rumor has it he will run Rudy Giuliani's campaign, which makes Giuliani even more formidable than ever. In whatever capacity he decides, Mehlman will bring class, focus, and talent to bear for the Republican party, and we cannot wait to see him at the helm again.

UPDATE: Speaking of class and talent, Jon Henke's back at QandO, with an excellent look at the midterm lessons and the way forward. Be sure to read it all.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 10, 2006 6:21 AM

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» RNC asks Michael Steele to replace outgoing RNC Chair Ken Mehlman from Sister Toldjah
Excellent idea! Republicans absolutely love him, and he’d bring a fresh face and perspective to the party, especially opposite DNC Chair Howie Dean - the contrasting styles couldn’t be more obvious. Steele for RNC Chair! Hat tip: Captain Ed... [Read More]

Tracked on November 10, 2006 7:50 AM

» The Great Party Chairman Face Off from Committees of Correspondence
Now this could really make the next two years interesting. Howard Dean and Michael Steele faced off at ten paces across the American Political lanscape. [Read More]

Tracked on November 10, 2006 9:07 AM

» What's Next for Michael Steele? from Going to the Mat
Steele is a good choice for the RNC Chairmanship, he has the proper leadeship style and experience to lead the national party. While he may not be the arch conservative or tactician that some may be looking for, he would benefit the GOP far more tha... [Read More]

Tracked on November 10, 2006 10:08 AM

» Steele as RNC chair? from Morning Coffee
From the Washington Post  Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R), who came up just short yesterday in his Senate race against Rep. Ben Cardin (D), is mulling a bid for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, according to an informed GOP s... [Read More]

Tracked on November 10, 2006 10:30 AM

» Steele For RNC Chief from Bill's Bites
Report: GOP offers RNC chairmanship to Michael SteeleAllahpundit Earthquake:[L]ast night, Republican officials told The Times that Mr. Steele, who lost his bid for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, has been sought out to succeed Mr. Mehlman as national party... [Read More]

Tracked on November 10, 2006 11:15 AM


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