Congratulations to Michael Steele on his election to head of the Republican National Committee.
And kudos to the Democrats and President Barack Obama for their influence in moving the Republicans to become more inclusive and in making baby steps in the direction of becoming a more diverse party. It's a start. There are now, what 5 people of color in their tent?
Here's Wiki's bio of Mr. Steele:
Michael Stephen Steele (born October 19, 1958) is an American politician and lawyer. He was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 30, 2009, and is the first African-American to hold the position. Prior to this, Steele served as chairman of GOPAC and worked as a partner at the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf. He also served as Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007 under Governor Robert Ehrlich.
Steele was the first African American to serve in a Maryland state-wide office and the first Republican lieutenant governor in the state. At the time he was the highest-ranking elected African American Republican in the United States. Steele ran for a Maryland United States Senate seat being vacated by retiring senator Paul Sarbanes, but he lost the 2006 election to Democratic Congressman Ben Cardin.
Steele’s mother was a widowed laundress who, he stated, worked for minimum wage rather than accept public assistance. Steele grew up in a Democratic household. However, as a young man he switched to the Republican Party.
On gay marriage: Steele has stated that he personally opposes a federal marriage amendment to ban same-sex marriage and believes that states should decide the issue for themselves but has indicated he would support it if elected RNC Chairman. He rates the issue of banning same-sex marriage low in importance.
On the war in Iraq: "It is imperative we improve conditions on the ground so we can bring our troops home as quickly as possible and have the Iraqi people take control of their own destiny. At the same time, we should not publicly state a timetable for implementation. I do not support a 'cut and run strategy.' Any politician out there talking about timetables and timelines is playing into the hands of our enemies who have an enormous capacity to wait. It would be a disaster for us to cut and run, as it would destroy our credibility in the region for at least a generation. At the same time, it is the Iraqi’s themselves that will ultimately have to make democracy work in their country. We should stay there only long enough to give the Iraqi people the tools they need to secure the very democracy they voted for three times. After that, it’s up to them."
Energy policy: "To provide immediate relief for Marylanders, I have called on President Bush and Congress to enact an immediate moratorium on the federal gas tax - more than 18 cents per gallon - and an immediate moratorium on the 24 cents per gallon diesel tax. Moreover, Congress should approve legislation to suspend the tariff on ethanol imports. But those actions are designed to deal with our immediate crisis. Congress must roll up its sleeves and work to solve the underlying problem - our dependence on foreign sources of energy. To do that, I’ve called on Congress to double President Bush’s budget request for biomass and bio-refinery research, and create market and tax incentives for E85 fuels, hybrid technologies and alternative energy sources. Tax credits for hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles need to be renewed and expanded. Additionally, we must increase fuel efficiency standards for automobiles – not just this year, but over the next several years."
Affirmative action: "Studies show enormous disparities still exist in education, healthcare, employment and economic opportunities along racial lines in the United States. I believe programs are still necessary to help close these divides. I support giving people opportunities. Programs must be fair to all Marylanders – of every color – and they should focus on economic empowerment."
The budget deficit: "Congress must also enact pro-growth policies that encourage the economy to expand: like making tax relief permanent and repealing the death tax. As we saw with the most recent deficit figures, a growing economy will in fact reduce the size of the budget deficit. In order to achieve optimal economic growth, Congress must adhere to sane spending guidelines while promoting smart policies devoted to growing businesses and creating jobs."
Stem cell research: "We have a lot to gain through furthering stem cell research, but medical breakthroughs should be fundamentally about saving, not destroying, human life. Therefore, I support stem cell research that does not destroy the embryo."
Health care: " We need to increase access to health insurance through Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high deductible policies, so individuals and families can purchase the insurance that's best for them and meets their specific needs. . . . I support allowing small businesses to band together and compete for better insurance options. . . . To help increase our nation’s seniors access to affordable care, I have called to extend the sign up period for the Medicare Prescription Drug plan."
Mr. Steele's position on gun control:
Q: Your views on gun control?
STEELE: My views are pretty much in line with the governor's. I grew up under some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. You can have all the gun control laws in the country, but if you don't enforce them, people are going to find a way to protect themselves. We need to recognize that bad people are doing bad things with these weapons. It's not the law-abiding citizens, it's not the person who uses it as a hobby.
Q: Should people have access to buy assault weapons?
STEELE: Society should draw lines. What do you need an assault weapon for, if you're going hunting? That's overkill. But I don't think that means you go to a total ban for those who want to use gun for skeet shooting or hunting or things like that But what's the point of passing gun laws if we're not going to enforce them? If you want to talk about gun control, that's where you need to start. We've got 300 gun laws on the books right now. At the end of the day, it's about how we enforce the law.
Mr. Steele's Democratic roots inform his moderate positions. Good on him.
Mr. Steele, a moderate, will be a force in the Republican Party's future, and thanks to Barack Obama, will probably be a rising star.
I wonder how long it will be before the Hindenburg of Gasbags tags Mr. Steele as a RINO???
Good luck, Mr. Steele.