Sat, 31 Jan 2009 03:03:03 +0000 – [caption id="attachment_6530" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Michael Steele (AP photo)"][/caption]
In electing Michael Steele as the new Chairman of the Republican National Committee, the Grand Old Party has demonstrated a capacity for renewal and revival. After today, no fair-minded observer can believe the stereotype of the Republicans as the party of old white men.
[caption id="attachment_4491" align="aligncenter" width="253" caption="Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks during a campaign event in Dover, N.H., Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)"][/caption]
In addition, the election, two years ago, of Bobby Jindal as the Republican governor of Louisiana, and then the victory of Joseph Cao as a Republican representative from the same state, further undermined that bad-rap stereotype. Jindal, of course, is Indian-American, and Cao is Vietnamese-American. And Steele is African-American.
All of the candidates for Friday's RNC election were talented and able, but in selecting Steele, Republicans have chosen a man who will go toe to toe with the Democrats on all issues, personal and political. If there are questions are about overcoming challenges, adversity--and yes, discrimination--Steele can speak with authority and effectiveness.
And yet he can also speak with optimism and faith: optimism about the basic goodness of Americans and the good purposes of America, and faith that our best days are ahead of us--all of us, together. That's been the Republicans' special strength over the past few decades, since the Reagan era, and Steele, a polished performer with a strong background in policy as well as politics, will honor that great tradition.
Yes, Republicans were beaten badly last November but they are on the comeback trail. Stay tuned.