The debate held Monday among the candidates for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee was like an egg cream -- the literal meaning isn’t the
Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2010/08/MahurinElephant_Thumb.jpgThe debate held Monday among the candidates for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee was like an egg cream — the literal meaning isn’t the same as its contents. With one exception, current RNC Chairman Michael Steele and his challengers — former Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis, former Bush administration official Maria Cino, Wisconsin Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus, and former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner — avoided debating each other. “I’m not running against anybody,” said Priebus, in the opening of his closing statement, who was a backer of Steele in 2009 before announcing his own candidacy in early December.
Instead, the debate hosted by Tucker Carlson and Grover Norquist at the National Press Club in Washington resembled a job interview. Candidates listed what “skills” they have for the position, how their past experiences would help them lead the RNC and how they would do the job (all interspersed with the occasional awkward joke). Their interlocutors repeatedly asked them to answer questions “specifically,” which they generally did not.
Though Norquist reminded the audience that there was “no job description,” being a party chair is really about one thing — raising money. The candidates all said how they could raise money to defeat President Obama in 2012. Priebus said he would spend “five or six” hours on the phone everyday with major donors, saying that the RNC needed to raise $400 million to defeat the president. “It’s all about fundraising,” said Anuzis in his opening.
“We don’t do policy, we do politics,” said Chairman Steele. “You don’t get to dictate the terms of policy to the (House) speaker, or the minority leader. If you get it wrong, You’ll be reminded, ‘you don’t do policy,’” he ended, drawing the loudest applause from the crowd for the chairman,
Steele, the center of debate, knows whereof he speaks. Soon after he was elected as RNC chairman, he said — in comments that were anathema to most Republicans — that abortion was an “individual choice” to be decided by the states in a May 2009 interview with GQ. In the debate, Steele — who is often animated on cable news shows — appeared subdued. According to a Politico report this morning, Steele does not have the votes from the 168-member RNC to stay on for a second term.
In the one exception to the lack of debate in the debate, Steele defended his record as RNC chairman when Wagner attacked his lack of funding for GOTV operations along the lines of a memo by former Steele aide — and former RNC candidate himself before dropping out — Gentry Collins. “We didn’t have 72-hour program — we had a 12-month program. We won 64 house seats, 21 state legislatures flipped.” He maintained that the program was done differently. “We won in all fifty states this year. And that’s the goal, winning. Find me a state that didn’t have a winning election.”
Despite the Republicans’ success in the midterm elections, the RNC is $15 million in debt; reports indicate that it has already spent lavishly for its 2012 convention in Tampa; and it has had to delay payment to convention vendors. Steele meekly suggested at the outset that the debt might be “refinanced” and the party would have to “hunker down, get the money right, get the dollars right.”
The race for RNC chair is of course, not an open election — 168 members choose the chairman in a race that often has multiple ballots — but Priebus appears to be the front-runner, according to vote counts. He also acted like it. He repeatedly spoke of the need to work with the conservative movement and the tea party. He also talked like a tea partier, sounding the alarm of American decline. “We are about to fall off a fiscal cliff,” he said in his opening. “We need to save our country, and in turn to save our party, and take back the White House,” he said, often repeating the need to “save our country” more than any other candidate.
Priebus also had huge success in normally-blue Wisconsin in 2010. Plastics magnate Ron Johnson won his first election, defeating Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold by painting him as a Washington insider. Longtime House Appropriations Chair David Obey (D-Wisc.) retired and his seat was taken by Republican Sean Duffy, who was previously a cast member on MTV’s “The Real World.” Wisconsin’s Republicans took over the governorship, both legislatures and picked up an additional U.S. House seat.
Ultimately, the RNC chairmanship race is shaping up a lot like the Republican narrative of the 2010 elections — Priebus, talking the language of the tea party, looks poised to defeat the fiscally-irresponsible incumbent Michael Steele on January 14.
Giffords shooting leads nation to introspection and political finger wagging
In the wake of the shooting in Arizona this weekend that critically injured Rep.
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’
All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some