[Wilson] My Choice to Head the RNC | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Wilson] My Choice to Head the RNC

In 2005, I was involved in an inner-party election that was every bit as vitriolic as the most recent presidential election, but that time it was Republicans fighting Republicans. Ever since, I have tried to remain neutral on party leadership elections. But this year, the chatter is so great surrounding the RNC chairman election that I have decided to endorse someone for chairman. So here goes: Saul Anuzis of Michigan.

A Harley-riding, blue-collar, first-generation American currently chairs the Michigan Republican Party and is one of the best, most forward-thinking men I have had the pleasure of knowing in my years in politics.

Saul left college to run campaigns and eventually left politics to start a media company that he has turned into quite a successful business. A self-made businessman and a bit of a wily prankster, Saul has run extremely effective ground campaigns for Republicans in Michigan and has made direct efforts to incorporate youth and bring new ideas into the leadership of the party.

I first met Saul at a Republican conference in Memphis. He was hosting a dinner for some of the state chairmen to meet the presidential candidates. Saul walked by our group of five—clearly College Republicans—and spun around asking, "Hey, do you guys want to meet the presidential candidates?"

For the next several hours we were part of a group of only 20 people who watched candidate after candidate parade in front of us and give us their stump speech while we ate, drank, and enjoyed the company of the RNC co-chairman and a posse of white-haired elder statesmen from across America.

Saul then made it a point to let everyone know why he had invited the college kids.

Saul doesn't believe the youth are the future of America; rather, he places them in the present. His campaign style has a youthful vigor and sense of innovation that was sorely lacking in the 2008 presidential race.

When he announced his candidacy, Saul did so via Web cam and YouTube. While others talk a lot about integrating new technologies into Republican campaigns, I've seen Saul do it. His knowledge of new media and his fun personality make him the kind of strategist we need to lead the party.

The other, more well-known candidates are good men and, because I know people out there are curious, I will address two of them: former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich.

Outspoken, articulate and conservative, Steele made national news not only for his service as lieutenant governor, but for his race. Steele is an African-American in a party that is often characterized as far too monochromatic. While the presence of an African American in the RNC chairmanship may seem to bolster the diverse image of the GOP, it is worth noting that President Bush's Cabinet, judicial appointments and other nominations have been more diverse in race and gender than any other president in history. The Cabinet's diversity, however, has made virtually no impact on people's perceptions.

For this reason, I believe that Steele would better serve as an outreach director for the RNC. He is passionate about the African- American "family" and believes the ideology of the GOP provides the greatest opportunity for Americans of any color to succeed.

Steele is certainly the most intellectual of the three candidates, but that may not be to his advantage. Of the many choices the Democrats had several years back, Howard Dean was certainly not the most intellectual. But he was great at organizing and exciting people. And that is what the job demands.

On that point, Newt Gingrich is extremely strong. I have met Gingrich on several occasions, each time in conjunction with a speech he delivered to a crowd of "adoring fans." The man has a "rock-star aura." Gingrich motivates and excites people on the right and has the personality to move people to action.

Additionally, his 2005 book outlining a plan for "Winning the Future" is one of the most thought-out and articulated platforms I have seen. His "Renewed Contract" addresses the problems America is facing head on, and offers real and innovative solutions. Notable is a reformatting of the national education system and new federal scholarship money for college students studying science and technology-related fields.

But, like Steele, Gingrich's strengths seem to be best suited in the activist sector rather than party leadership. I would love to see a Newt 2012 presidential campaign, and I am a bit concerned that his ascension to the RNC chair would be too partisan to make his candidacy viable.

There are some small policy differences between the three, but on most major issues they agree. All three support smaller government, lower taxes and pro-life judges, but each one has slightly different emphases. The one notable exception is that Steele is reported to support affirmative action.

Campaigns, by their nature, contain a bit of vagueness on certain issues, and this election is no exception. But we do know that Anuzis believes much stronger in party discipline—keeping Republican officials in line with the party platform—than the other two. Anuzis is more economically focused, Gingrich more socially focused, and Steele the most balanced. But these are only small degrees of separation. All three support personal responsibility, individual liberty and a strong national defense.

The Republican Party doesn't need to change its platform to "better reflect America;" it needs to actively communicate why its platform is the right choice for America. Expand the party by winning more people to our beliefs, not changing our beliefs to include more people.

More than any other candidate, Anuzis has shown his ability to do that across economic, generational and racial lines.

Previous Comments

ID
141025
Comment

You will love this Ms. Ladd....LOL http://migop.blogs.com/blog/2008/09/what-caused-thi.html Saul needs to read the JFP, we settled this months ago.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-11-28T16:20:23-06:00
ID
141032
Comment

I hope this guy does become chair of the RNC and they nominate Sarah Palin for President. While they are in the time machine heading into the past they can scoop up Pat Buchanon as her VP pick. It is very revealing that this Anunzis is selling the Kool Aid that poor people getting loans has imperiled the entire world! These people are laughable. The American people are not idiots (I don't think). I think we know that the sub-prime loans themselves where not the root of the crisis, but the credit default swaps and credit default obligation based securites that got out of control due to Republican sponsored deregulation. An excellent article that traces the root of the catastrophe back to the Reagan years is *The End* by Michael Lewis at portfolio.com: http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/11/11/The-End-of-Wall-Streets-Boom

Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-11-29T12:14:55-06:00
ID
141035
Comment

Anuzis is an interesting guy--young, second-generation Lithuanian-American, wacky sense of humor. And he's actively campaigning for the gig. I don't think Michael Steele will get it. Appointing an African-American RNC chair is long overdue, but the RNC would look like it was trying to cover up for its lack of diversity following the Barack Obama victory. I don't know that Newt will get it, either, though in some ways he's the most compelling choice because he has moments of brilliance and is one of the most ideologically consistent conservatives out there. But he's not a true neocon--he's a paleocon who has made some neocon concessions--and he has loose lips that sink ships, as when he called for the Sedition Act to be resurrected or recently went on a verbal gay-bashing spree. Newt's hills are higher than the average conservative, but his valleys are also much lower. Anuzis is probably the best of the three, but to be honest I'd rather see Colin Powell or George Pataki or Susan Collins get it to signify a real shift in party ideology and not just a generational shift. What the Democratic Party needed in 2008 was a generational shift; what the Republican Party needs for 2010, more than that, is a new platform. The old one doesn't make any sense. I mean, the party of pure capitalist deficit hawks now favors trillion-dollar corporate bailouts, corporate subsidies out the wazoo, and deficit spending whenever possible. A lot has been made of the Republican debate over social policy, but their fiscal policy platform is much less coherent and I think that's part of the reason why Republicans always poll so badly on the economy, and why the economic downtown was so disastrous to them. The "we hate the U.N., we hate international human rights standards, we don't need allies, but let's invade everybody anyway!" position is equally incoherent. You can't have a foreign policy that is both interventionist and anti-multilateralist unless you want to put the entire burden on our troops and get the U.S. Armed Forces stuck in a series of deadly unwinnable wars, which is exactly what the Republican Party did in Iraq and what it would have put us on the road for in Afghanistan and possibly Iran and God knows where else had McCain gotten elected. Then there is the social policy, which ain't no small issue--especially when there's a significant segment of the Republican base that apparently shows up only because they really really hate gays and immigrants, and want to vote for every conceivable anti-gay and anti-immigrant ballot initiative there is even if they otherwise wouldn't bother to influence the outcome of elections. But I'm thinking fiscal and foreign policy are probably the areas where the party is really self-destructing right now, because the Republican Party's social policy was even more inconsistent 30 years ago and that didn't really hurt them much.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2008-11-29T15:29:24-06:00
ID
141036
Comment

What an amazing article. Definitely worth the time. There is a perceived time-deficit in our society though, and people are apt to enjoy the blockbuster hit "Government Destroys Stock Brokers By Mandating Home Loans to Poor People". It fits very nicely into the philosophy that says bleeding heart liberals destroy the American dream for those worthy of its attainment when they try to force it for everyone. The truth is that creating a system to guarantee home loans for poor and credit-risk citizens is not a good idea. It allows banks to make the loans but still places responsibility of payment on the citizen. If the citizen defaults they lose the house and the bank is still guaranteed its losses. Deregulating the packaging and leveraging of debt is the problem.

Author
daniel johnson
Date
2008-11-29T15:46:07-06:00
ID
141038
Comment

If Saul is pushing the CRA garbage, which is pure racism, he doesn't deserve to pick up any party's trash (he's too busy peddling it). That's very telling. And how are Republicans going to reach out beyond scared white people when they're trying to (falsely) lay the economic crisis on the very people they need to attract (many of whom share some socially conservative views)? Just because a guy has figured out how to give lip service to younger voters like our columnist here doesn't mean that he has any clue on hos to save that party. Hint: Stop trying to blame the economic crisis on people who were redlined out of housing loans due to the color of their skin before the CRA was passed. Won't work.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-11-29T16:12:02-06:00
ID
141039
Comment

Oh, and WMartin is right: We debunked this garbage months ago. Look at the first few JFP entries here to catch up.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-11-29T16:18:22-06:00
ID
141040
Comment

I assume that the entire Republican Party is pushing the anti-CRA garbage right now, so my expectations in that department are pretty low. What I wish our friends on the right wing would realize is that the NAACP and ACORN have been on top of the predatory lending problem for years now and the federal government has done squat to address it; if they had just done their jobs, the mortgage issue would be much less devastating than it is now because it is a direct result of predatory lending practices. Listen to the civil rights community. Trickle down and trickle up are both elements of any sustainable economy, and you can't step on the poor to the degree that these lenders have without damaging the fundamentals of the economy. If a company loans people sums that it knows they can't pay back, then attaches high interest fees predicated on the idea that they won't be able to pay it back in time and will end up shelling out a much higher final sum (bringing in a bigger profit for the lender), then that company really deserves to go bankrupt. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if somebody can't pay the initial amount, they won't be able to pay back the amount plus interest either. Duh. Where did they think all that extra money was going to come from? Santa Claus? Everybody deserves the opportunity to own a home, but nobody deserves to become an indentured servant to their lenders, and that's basically how predatory lending works. What the federal government needs to do is aggressively target predatory lending. We've always known that's good civil rights policy; now we know it's an essential element of fiscal policy as well.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2008-11-29T16:23:12-06:00
ID
141041
Comment

OK everyone - i must apologize and resubmit my entry because it needs edits and i am too late to edit it. - Whitley, the Michael Lewis article is amazing. Definitely worth the time. There is a perceived time-deficit in our society though, and people are apt to stop their research with the blockbuster YouTube hit "Government Destroys Stock Brokers By Mandating Home Loans to Poor People". It fits very nicely into the philosophy that says bleeding heart liberals destroy the American dream for those worthy of its attainment when they try to force it for everyone. The truth is that creating a system to guarantee home loans for poor and credit-risk citizens is a great idea. It allows banks to make loans they normally avoid (for a variety of acceptable and unacceptable reasons) but still places responsibility of payment on the citizen. If the citizen defaults they lose the house and the bank is still guaranteed its losses. Deregulating the packaging and leveraging of debt is the problem. i'd be happy to take some critique or development on the simplistic understanding i displayed in the previous paragraph.

Author
daniel johnson
Date
2008-11-29T17:26:07-06:00
ID
141048
Comment

Right, dj, there are time deficits in so many ways. Most people will not take the time to read that long Lewis article and will prefer a simplistic blame *the others* method. That approach will not win beyond the base because even though most people won't read the Lewis article --- they intuitively/instinctively know the *poor blacks and Mexicans destroy the world!* story is tabloid horse excrement. Doggone those rascally poor people. Ha ha.

Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-11-30T18:37:50-06:00

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