Michael Steele, one of the leading contenders for Republican National Committee Chairman tells The Brody File that his conservative critics need to “wake up” and get over the fact that he once played a role in the centrist Republican Leadership Council.
The Brody File interviewed Steele one on one this morning. Watch his animated answer above and read a partial transcript below. To get his full comments and the emotion behind the words, you really need to watch the clip.
“They have been beating me upside the head with it and let me give it to you straight on: Wake up people. I mean what are you going to do? Are you going to kick these folks out of the party? I have watched this party self disintegrate for the last four or five years. I’ve watched this party isolate itself from itself.”
“This may be a unique opportunity to build a relationship or a bridge between the conservatives and the moderates in our party and so she asked me to serve on her board and I said well this will be good. It’ll be a pro-life conservative voice on a board with a pro-choice leadership that is looking to elect moderates. We have to elect moderates in the party.”
“For all you little folks out there who think that you’ve got me on this you don’t. My being on this board had nothing to do with lessening my conservative values or somehow appeasing them or compromising them. It had everything to do with reasserting them.”
“I wasn’t saying, ‘well now I’m really a closet moderate and I can get to play with all the big boys.’ This is stupid. What I’m saying is lets build this relationship amongst ourselves because people are watching and there are a lot of people who would join us and be a party of our efforts who are pro-choice but they love our message on money; they love our value system on family values broadly speaking so then how do we cross appeal, how do we make ourselves relevant to the 21st century electorate which is clearly of a different mindset on a host of issues.”
More on the RLC and background here.
Look, Steele understands that if this RLC issue continues to build then he has problems. His argument in joining the RLC makes sense though my guess is his critics will still find fault.
Bottom line: Steele wants a big tent GOP philosophy. Nothing wrong with that as Republicans troll for more votes but with the RLC issue hanging around, Steele will probably have to work harder than others to get that albatross off of him. It’s doable. The guy is one of the best communicators the GOP has out there.