Saturday, January 31, 2009


Michael Steele
Michael S. Steele

Assumed office
January 30, 2009
Preceded by Mike Duncan

In office
January 15, 2003 – January 17, 2007
Governor Robert Ehrlich
Preceded by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Succeeded by Anthony G. Brown

Born October 19, 1958 (1958-10-19) (age 50)
Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
Political party Republican
Spouse Andrea Steele
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic[1]

I have been very critical of the Republican Party ever since they nominated John McCain as the Party's candidate for the presidency of the United States. Early in 2008 I had argued that Fred Dalton Thompson was a better choice, but as the campaign progressed it became obvious that the cool, charismatic, cocky Democrat candidate-to-be could not be beaten by an old Thompson or McCain. Sad to say, the Republicans could not offer the Nation a younger candidate to match The One.

Since November 4, 2008 the Republicans have not done very much that one could call "right" in the several meanings of that word. In recent posts I have been very critical of the Republicans in Congress who seem mesmerized by the Democrat majority's energy and consequently have done nothing to stop the giveaway of billions of our tax dollars to organizations like NPR and ACORN.

Now, in the election yesterday of Michael S. Steele as Chairman of the Republican Party, there is the first hopeful sign that the 'Loyal Oppposition' to the Democrats in the Congress and the White House will begin to get its act together.


Republican Party chairman candidate Michael Steele has been criticized by some in the GOP as not taking a strong enough pro-life position against abortion. In a new interview, the former Maryland Lt. Governor defends his views and says he is absolutely pro-life.

“I was a monk for goodness sakes ok? I spent three years in a monastery," he explains to CBN News reporter David Brody in the Monday interview.

"When I came out and got politically involved I was an advocate for pro-life issues," he added.

"I was endorsed by National Right to Life. I don't think they would endorse me if I were squeamish or squishy as some have called me on this issue," Steele added, referring to the endorsement he received during his Senate campaign in 2006.

Some of the criticism of Steele has come in response to comments he made years ago that make it look as if he is not completely sold on the idea of overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision allowing for unlimited abortions.

“Roe versus Wade was wrongly decided. It should be overturned in my personal view," Steele said.

Steele says that if he is elected as the new Republican Party chairman that he will direct the GOP in a pro-life heading.

"We (GOP Party) value life born and unborn and we will fight for that and I will fight for that as an individual and I will fight for that as chairman of the party," he says.

The main point of criticism against Steele from some pro-life corners is his involvement in the Republican Leadership Council, a liberal GOP group that has promoted pro-abortion candidates.

Steele says those who attack him for his past involvement in the RLC need to "wake up" and understand that he is a pro-life conservative.

He told CBN News that he is pro-life and he wants the party to be pro-life but he is not going to exclude pro-abortion Republicans from the party.

“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," he explained.

Steele said he only agreed to participate in the RLC because he wanted pro-life advocates to be represented and to build bridges with other members of the party to urge them to support pro-life advocates.

"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," he said.

“For all you little folks out there who think that you've got me on this you don't," he told Brody. "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.”

Reacting to the interview he conducted, Brody said Steele's argument makes sense even though some pro-life advocates may not buy it.

"Bottom line: Steele wants a big tent GOP philosophy," he said. "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."

Steele said Barack Obama is getting a free pass from criticism from the media and that pro-life Republicans need to hold him accountable.

"As long as the media loves him, he'll have [a long honeymoon] and I'm anticipating two years. I kid you not. I kid you not," he told CBN.

"Let me tell you why because they have too much invested in this guy. This is their creation. He is their creation. Not vetted. Not challenged and now he’s President. You think they're going to undo that? You think they are going to expose the warts after the fact?"

Buzz up!

Washington, DC (


Michael Stephen Steele (born October 19, 1958) is an American politician and lawyer. He was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 30, 2009, and is the first African-American to hold the position. Prior to this, Steele served as chairman of GOPAC and worked as a partner at the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf. He also served as Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007 under Governor Robert Ehrlich.

Steele was the first African American to serve in a Maryland state-wide office and the first Republican lieutenant governor in the state. At the time he was the highest-ranking elected African American Republican in the United States. Steele ran for a Maryland United States Senate seat being vacated by retiring senator Paul Sarbanes, but he lost the 2006 election to Democratic Congressman Ben Cardin.

Steele was born on October 19, 1958, at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County. He spent his childhood in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C. which Steele has described as a small, stable and racially integrated community that insulated him from some of the problems elsewhere in the city. He and his sister were raised by their mother, Maebell Turner, and their stepfather, John Turner. Steele’s sister Monica later married and divorced former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.

Steele attended Archbishop Carroll Roman Catholic High School in Washington, D.C. While at Carroll, he participated in the Glee Club, the National Honor Society and many of the school’s drama productions. During his senior year, he was elected the student council president.

Steele won a scholarship to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In his first year, he was elected class president; he was also a member of the fencing team. He struggled academically, however, while pursuing a major in biology and was nearly expelled from the university at the year's end. After earning A's in summer classes at George Washington University, Steele was allowed to continue at Johns Hopkins and received a bachelor's degree in international relations in 1981.

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. As a seminarian, he taught freshman world history and senior economics for one year at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, but ultimately decided on a career in law and he left the Seminary prior to taking the vows.
Steele then entered the Georgetown University Law Center and in 1991, he received his Juris Doctor degree. 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. Steele left the law firm and founded the Steele Group, a business and legal consulting firm.

Steele and his wife Andrea have two sons, Michael and Drew.

Steele’s mother was a widowed laundress who, he stated, worked for minimum wage rather than accept public assistance. Steele grew up in a Democratic household. However, as a young man he switched to the Republican Party.

After joining the Republican Party, Steele became chairman of the Prince George's County Republican Central Committee. In 1995, the Maryland Republican Party selected him as Maryland State Republican Man of the Year. He worked on several political campaigns, was an Alternate Delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention in San Diego and a Delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia that ultimately chose the George W. Bush ticket.

In December 2000, Steele was elected chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, becoming the first African American ever to be elected chairman of any state Republican Party.

In 2002, then-Congressman Robert Ehrlich selected Steele as his running mate and nominee for Lieutenant Governor in the campaign against Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who was then the Lieutenant Governor (under Governor Parris Glendening). Steele resigned his chairmanship of the Maryland Republican Party to campaign full-time. In endorsing Townsend, The Baltimore Sun praised her running mate, Charles R. Larson, for his experience and expertise, and added: "By contrast, Mr. Ehrlich's running mate, state GOP chairman Michael S. Steele, brings little to the team but the color of his skin."[5]

In the September primary election, Ehrlich and Steele had no serious opposition. In the November 2002 general election, even though Maryland traditionally votes Democratic and had not elected a Republican Governor in almost 40 years, the Townsend campaign was tainted by problems with outgoing governor Glendening's personal life. The Ehrlich-Steele ticket won, 51% to 48%.

Steele’s most prominent efforts for the Ehrlich administration were reforming the state’s Minority Business Enterprise program and chairing Governor Ehrlich’s Commission on Quality Education in Maryland. While opposed to the death penalty, Steele endured criticism for not standing firmly against Ehrlich's support of the punishment, despite claims of racial inequities in its administration.[6]

Recently, Steele has attained national prominence due to his stature as a public speaker, as well as being a conservative Republican African American who has been successful in politics. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, Steele gave the Republican counterpoint to the Democrats' Barack Obama in a keynote address, Steele's first major national exposure. In April 2005, President Bush chose Steele as one of three members of the United States delegation at the investiture of Pope Benedict XVI at the ceremonial mass in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Steele was joined by Florida Governor Jeb Bush and by Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson.

Steele has appeared several times on HBO's political show Real Time with Bill Maher, hosted by comedian Bill Maher. He appeared on Comedy Central's talk show The Colbert Report on January 23, 2007.[15] Steele also hosted a PBS Republican Primary debate in Baltimore, Maryland on September 27, 2007.[16]

When Paul Sarbanes, Maryland’s longest serving United States Senator, announced in March 2005 that he would not be a candidate for re-election in 2006, top state and national Republican officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, began pressing Steele to become their party's nominee for the seat.[6] In April 2005 The Baltimore Sun announced the results of a poll it conducted, stating that Steele would run statistically neck and neck against either former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, or Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin of Baltimore County.[17]

With financial and other support from Karl Rove and Cheney,[18] Steele formally announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on October 25, 2005. Polling in February 2006 showed the Lieutenant Governor lost significant ground against Cardin, although he remained statistically even with Mfume.[19] Cardin won the primary election on September 12, 2006.

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post's The Fix blog reported one day after Steele conceded defeat in his Senate election that he was considering a run to succeed Ken Mehlman as the next chairman of the Republican National Committee.[23] Instead Senator Mel Martinez of Florida was appointed as Mehlman's replacement.[24] "I have not had any conversations directly with the White House yet on this," Steele said on C-Span's Washington Journal about the job.[25]

In February 2007, Steele did become chairman of GOPAC, a political action committee that helps fund state and local Republican campaigns around the country. In April 2007, he joined the international law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, which is now part of Dewey & LeBoeuf. Steele is a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.[26]

On May 17, 2007 Steele served as Co-Master of Ceremonies for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Washington Times newspaper. Former President George H. W. Bush was the keynote speaker. Steele, in his opening comments, said that he had subscribed to the Times throughout its 25 years of publication.

At the Media Research Center's 2007 DisHonors Awards Gala, Steele concluded a speech with the following: "I get a question all the time, 'Are you going to run again for office?' And I've thought about that, and I've come to realize that there's still some Democrats out there that I haven't ticked off yet. So, yeah, we're gonna do it again. We're gonna do it again, and all I have to say is, they haven't seen anything yet."[27] Steele is considered a possible candidate for Governor of Maryland in the future, and has said he's "intrigued by the idea".[28]

On November 11, 2008, Jeff Burton launched a political draft website to encourage Steele to run for Republican National Committee Chairman.[31] The website allowed visitors to sign a draft petition, and received over 6,000 signatures.[32] On November 24, 2008 Steele launched a campaign website,[33] and confirmed his intention to run on Hannity and Colmes.[34]

In January 2009, the new chairman was elected by 168 committee members. Two of the candidates: Steele and Ken Blackwell were African American, but were the only candidates not members of the committee.[35] Nonetheless, Steele was seen as an early frontrunner.[36] Steele rejected the idea that the color of his skin had anything to do with his chances at becoming RNC chair, saying, "I am a Republican who happens to be African-American."[37]

* On the war in Iraq: "It is imperative we improve conditions on the ground so we can bring our troops home as quickly as possible and have the Iraqi people take control of their own destiny. At the same time, we should not publicly state a timetable for implementation. I do not support a 'cut and run strategy.' Any politician out there talking about timetables and timelines is playing into the hands of our enemies who have an enormous capacity to wait. It would be a disaster for us to cut and run, as it would destroy our credibility in the region for at least a generation. At the same time, it is the Iraqi’s themselves that will ultimately have to make democracy work in their country. We should stay there only long enough to give the Iraqi people the tools they need to secure the very democracy they voted for three times. After that, it’s up to them."[44]
* Energy policy: "To provide immediate relief for Marylanders, I have called on President Bush and Congress to enact an immediate moratorium on the federal gas tax - more than 18 cents per gallon - and an immediate moratorium on the 24 cents per gallon diesel tax. Moreover, Congress should approve legislation to suspend the tariff on ethanol imports. But those actions are designed to deal with our immediate crisis. Congress must roll up its sleeves and work to solve the underlying problem - our dependence on foreign sources of energy. To do that, I’ve called on Congress to double President Bush’s budget request for biomass and bio-refinery research, and create market and tax incentives for E85 fuels, hybrid technologies and alternative energy sources. Tax credits for hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles need to be renewed and expanded. Additionally, we must increase fuel efficiency standards for automobiles – not just this year, but over the next several years."[45]
* The budget deficit: "Congress must also enact pro-growth policies that encourage the economy to expand: like making tax relief permanent and repealing the death tax. As we saw with the most recent deficit figures, a growing economy will in fact reduce the size of the budget deficit. In order to achieve optimal economic growth, Congress must adhere to sane spending guidelines while promoting smart policies devoted to growing businesses and creating jobs."
* Affirmative action: "Studies show enormous disparities still exist in education, healthcare, employment and economic opportunities along racial lines in the United States. I believe programs are still necessary to help close these divides. I support giving people opportunities. Programs must be fair to all Marylanders – of every color – and they should focus on economic empowerment."[46]
* On gay marriage: Steele has stated that he personally opposes a federal marriage amendment to ban same-sex marriage and believes that states should decide the issue for themselves but has indicated he would support it if elected RNC Chairman. He rates the issue of banning same-sex marriage low in importance. [47]
* Stem cell research: "We have a lot to gain through furthering stem cell research, but medical breakthroughs should be fundamentally about saving, not destroying, human life. Therefore, I support stem cell research that does not destroy the embryo."[48]
* Health care: " We need to increase access to health insurance through Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high deductible policies, so individuals and families can purchase the insurance that's best for them and meets their specific needs. . . . I support allowing small businesses to band together and compete for better insurance options. . . . To help increase our nation’s seniors access to affordable care, I have called to extend the sign up period for the Medicare Prescription Drug plan."


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