Friday, March 13, 2009

Why "Steele" Matters

"If ever there did exist within the GOP such a thing as a music director, i.e. conductor that had the skills and know how to provide a harmonious melody to this musical ensemble, it is the Party’s new Chairman Michael Steele"

By Richard Ivory

A friend once summed up the GOP’s minority and urban problem by saying that “while most people in the world like music, different songs have different meanings to different people. The GOP has become a one-hit wonder acting as if there is only one song and one tune. We need to be playing tunes that resonate with different people.”

The person saying this was not suggesting the Republican Party give up on music and instead, read a book; but that it begin to expand its overall collection of songs. If ever there did exist within the GOP such a thing as a music director, i.e. conductor that had the skills and know how to provide a harmonious melody to this musical ensemble, it is the Party’s new Chairman Michael Steele.

Laughed at and mocked by the media for his “unorthodox” approach to getting the Party’s message out and his willingness to embrace such terms as “Hip-Hop Republican,” Steele has become an easy target for some on the left and on the right. In lieu of such attacks Michael Steele has taken a Jay- Z “dirt of your shoulder” approach to such ridiculous taunts — and rightly so.

Some years ago, while still relatively new to politics, I began looking for an internship in Washington DC to help me to become more familiar with politics. I remember looking in the City Paper, which is DC’s version of The Village Voice, for something. My eyes settled on a group calling itself the Republican Youth Majority. Given the liberal leanings of The City Paper, I thought the ad to be a bit odd. At this point, I was not a Republican but I knew that I was not a Democrat.

Growing up, I saw many of the problems other urban youth have lived through especially in the inner cities. Most of these problems stemmed from bad public polices of which Democratic authorship was on most, if not all, of them. This is not to say that the Democratic Party itself was corrupt, but that the individuals who were promoting ineffective polices were never challenged.

The Republican Party of course was nowhere. The Democratic Party became the only party in town. Consequently, people saw elections only in the context of a Democratic primary. Despite my seeing a corrupt government, it was not a wholesale rejection of government. Mother Theresa once said, “If we must ask why there is so much evil in the world then we must equally ask why there is so much good.” I saw government as having the potential to do good things, but it also had the effect of disempowering people.

Ideologically it was about this time that I found myself looking to intern in DC and happened upon the ad for the Republican Youth Majority. I scheduled a meeting with its founder, offering my resume to him. I explained to him that I was not sure what Party I should be affiliated with. RYM, nevertheless, opened its door to me allowing me to intern for the summer. It was during my time at RYM that I was invited to hear the Chairman of The Maryland GOP speak. I had no idea who the person was and could have cared less given the previous weeks of bland and out- of- touch speakers. The speaker was Michael Steele!

When Steele entered the room, a strange thing occurred that rarely happened at previous RYM events: a crowd of young people of all ages literally surrounded him and began to get his autograph.

During his speech, I waited for the usual Republican talking points, but this time the talking points were different. They hit home. I did not only understand Steele but I also felt what he was saying. Instead of talking about States Rights, Steele spoke of personal empowerment. Instead of speaking down, he encouraged Republicans to uplift those less fortunate. He spoke about the struggles to create a nation that reflected Martin Luther’s King vision of world based not upon race but merit.

Steele’s speech left a great impression on the many young people present including me. Years have past since that speech. Many of those young people who listened to Steele speak have moved on to do other things. I can tell you this: They are all still fans of his. He was for many of them the first real politician who seemed somewhat approachable in an often stuffy and politicized Washington DC. In a city as political and partisan as DC, such character is less then welcomed. Never the less the future of the Republican Party has and remains with Steele.

Say what you may about his style, the man is genuine and unquestionably capable.

~Richard Ivory is the Founder and Publisher of, a centrist blog that delves into urban issues from the Republican perspective. He has worked on over a dozen political campaigns around the country and has worked for both the Republican National Committee and was the College outreach director for the Republican Youth Majority.


Anonymous said...

Great article!!

Jewels said...

Very interesting. I'm also a fan of Steele's, I wish people would listen closer to the substance of his points. He's a great man.

superdestroyer said...

You must have heard of different STeele than most Americans have heard. Steele has always been inarticulate and has a very limited grasp of the issues. He almost continual media flubs demonstrate how limited his speaking and public relations skills are.

If the Republicans should learn anything from STeele is that when you hire a quota hire, you get what you deserve. Maybe the incomptence of Steele should convince all conservatives that race based social engineering will never work.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats had a quota hire his name was Howard Dean. However he created the movement that propelled the party to where it is today. So Democrats need to stop being hypocrites as it relates to Steele.

Howard Dean- DNC Chairman
I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."

"I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it's called." --urging President Bush to make public Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers's White House records

"You know, the Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. They're a pretty monolithic party. Pretty much, they all behave the same, and they all look the same. ... It's pretty much a white Christian party.'' --speaking about the lack of outreach to minority communities by political parties

"I'm a metrosexual." –employing the buzz phrase for straight men who are in touch with their feminine sides, then later admitting he didn't know what the term means

"We've gotten rid of (Saddam Hussein), and I suppose that's a good thing."

"The idea that the United States is going to win the war in Iraq is just plain wrong."

"This president is not interested in being a good president. He's interested in some complicated psychological situation that he has with his father."

"Now that we're on dog pee, we can have an interesting conversation about that. I do not recommend drinking urine…but if you drink water straight from the river, you have a greater chance of getting an infection than you do if you drink urine." —teaching an eight-grade science class in La Crosse, Wisconsin

"You think people can work all day and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever and get home and still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote? Well Republicans, I guess can do that. Because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives."

"Not only are we going to New Hampshire ... we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York! And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House, Yeeeeeaaaaaargh!" --Iowa concession speech

Anonymous said...

It is people like superdestroyer with his intense, grotesque racial insensitivity that causes African-Americans to turn away from the GOP in droves. To call Steele a "quota hire" is an insult to the intelligence of that man. When I hear Republicans say that, it makes me sick. To assume that any prominent Black Republican is a "quota hire" is to suggest that Blacks are not capable of being successful in the Republican party on their own. Lincoln and Grant and Fredrick Douglass are rolling over in their graves seeing what has happened to their party. The party that Douglass once referred to as the party of "progress" now features individuals like yourself in it which is the exact opposite of "progress". You, sir, are not a real Republican and you should go back to the Democratic Party where you belong.

Anonymous said...

Amen..and Amen

Superdestroyer said...

If Michael Steele was white, he would be managing a Jiffy Lube somewhere. He would not have made it into Johns Hopkins, he would have made it to a top tier law school, and he would not have been given positions of authority in the Republican Party.

The Republican Party fails people like Jennifer Gratz who the state of Michigan discriminated against so that it have quota blacks like Steele.

If the Republican Party wants to be the conservative party, it cannot support quotas, affirmative action, set asides, 8a contracting, or any other part of the racial spoils system. Michael Steele is part of the racial spoils systems that needs to end.

Anonymous said...

Umm and what drug are you smoking today ?Michael Steele won an election fair and square.

1)Steele won a scholarship to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

2)In his first year, he was elected class president

3)Steele received a bachelor's degree in international relations in 1981.

3)After graduating, Steele spent three years as a seminarian in the Order of St. Augustine in preparation for the priesthood. He entered the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University in Pennsylvania

4)As a seminarian, he taught freshman world history and senior economics for one year at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, Pennsylvania

5)Steele then entered the Georgetown University Law Center, receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 1991. He worked as a corporate securities associate at the Washington, D.C. office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. From 1991 to 1997, Steele specialized in financial investments for Wall Street underwriters, working at Cleary’s Tokyo, Japan office focusing on major product liability litigation and at its London office on corporate matters.

6)Steele left the law firm and founded the Steele Group, a business and legal consulting firm.

OHHH and check out Mike Duncans resume
the previous guys resume..if anyone really got in by favors it was him..not Steele.

Steele has a better resume than most folks working on the hill and serving.

Anonymous said...

He did what he did despite his get over it!

Anonymous said...

Mr Steele days as the GOP Chairman is almost over; he want last the summer. My he rest in peace???

Anonymous said...

Wishful thinking…he will be there!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Superdestroyer uses "racial quota" criticism to hide his (or her) own bigotry. There is no other way to cut it. You can disagree with his positions on issues, but to say that he is unqualified after seeing his qualifications is nothing short of racist. To claim that he is a quota hire and that everything that he has ever obtained is as a result of quotas shows your own ignorance and bigotry. You are disgusting and you don't belong in the Republican Party. You are probably the one working at the Jiffy Lube, living in your mother's basement at 40 years old. In order to boost your own ego, you come on a website that you know at least 80 percent of the people are Steele supporters and you bash Steele to make yourself feel better. You have a problem. You are either a patent racist or you are a troll from the Democrats. Whichever one you are, you don't belong here.

Anonymous said...

Steele is the worst thing that could have happened to blacks in the republican party. He makes black people look bad with his silly antics and slang. The GOP would have been better off getting a better chair instead of playing the race card to combat Obama. And no, I'm not a democrat.