Democrat Strategist Warns His Party to "Beware of Michael Steele" [UPDATED]
Bob Beckel writes at RealClearPolitics:
... Steele is a friendly, formidable, and very partisan man who should not be underestimated. He has a disarming and gifted television personality and an uncanny ability to make the most unreasonable arguments sound rational. In a debate, he can charm his opponents into a false sense of security, and then proceed to maul them. Democrats who underrate Steele do so at their own peril.
The press continually refers to Steele as a "moderate", but he is not a moderate -- he only plays one on television. Under that friendly persona of reasonableness lies the soul of a doctrinaire conservative. From an ardent supply-sider to a committed pro-life advocate (he came within a year of being ordained a Catholic priest), Steele is firmly on the Right.
In the pro-choice state of Maryland, Steele rarely raised the abortion issue in his races for Lieutenant Governor and the U.S. Senate. But his party is looking to him to rekindle the passions of the pro-life movement on a national stage. And Steele is aware of the 2008 falloff of voter turnout in precincts where the pro-life movement is strong.
Democrats will say that abortion is not an important issue right now, especially in the midst of a daunting recession. Among most voting groups they are right, but they miss a group critical to maintaining the Democrats' majority -- Hispanics. Obama won many of their votes in 2008, but the bulk of Hispanic voters, like Steele, are Catholic and fervently anti abortion.
Steele understands that his party cannot regain a national majority unless the GOP can cut into the 2-1 advantage Obama received from Hispanics. But he also recognizes his party's opposition to grant amnesty to illegal aliens, many of whom are Hispanics. That position was, in part, responsible for major defections among Hispanics in 2008 who voted 40%+ for George Bush in 2004. The abortion card, carefully played, is in Steele's hand. And he will use it.
... Born on a military base in Washington D.C., Steele was put up for adoption. His adoptive parents, also from D.C., were hard working people of meager means. Along with his adopted sister (once married to boxer Mike Tyson) Steele was raised in a highly disciplined environment supplemented by a rigorous Catholic education.
... Steele is smart enough to avoid direct attacks on a popular president. That said, he anticipates Obama's favorable ratings to fall, which is likely, and when they do, expect Steele to go after the president with a vengeance. It is here that Steele enjoys an advantage: his race. He can attack Obama without being accused of playing the race card.
Steele once told me a story that speaks volumes about his determination to succeed: Steele attended college at Johns Hopkins University. In his freshman year, Steele said, his grades were so bad that the dean of students told him he would not be invited to return. His mother forced him to go back to the dean and insist he was prepared to do anything to continue his studies. The dean said "no," but Steele's mother made him confront the dean again. This went on for weeks until the dean, in desperation, agreed to readmit Steele with the proviso that any bad grades would end in his dismissal, mother or no mother. Steele went on to graduate near the top of his class at Johns Hopkins and was elected student body president.
Democrats beware: Steele faces challenges, perseveres, and succeeds.
Steele cleans house at the RNC.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Catholic Michael Steele New GOP Chairman
Deal Hudson: Give Michael Steele the Benefit of the Doubt
CBN Reporter David Brody Attempts to Rehabilitate Michael Steele's Pro-Life Credentials
Creative Minority Report Asks: "Is Michael Steele Pro-Life?"
Racial Politics: Obama vs. SteeleIs Michael Steele on McCain's "Short List" for VP?
The Story Behind Steele: No One Offered RNC Chair to Marylander
Incredibly Stupid MoveMichael Steele to Head GOP?
Black Democrats Pledge Backing to GOP's Steele
One of the Best Preemptive Political Ads That I've Ever Seen
Maryland Lt. Gov. (and U.S. Senate Candidate) Michael Steele Reaffirms Catholic Values