Michael Steele has a column in the Wall Street Journal today.
Republicans once said that the opportunities this nation has to offer rest not in government but rather in the hands of individuals. Over the past decade or so, however, we Republicans lost our way. The disparity between our rhetoric and our action grew until our credibility snapped. It wasn’t the fault of our ideals. It was the failure of our leadership.
Over time, our principles morphed into baser motives. Continued political dominance grew more important to those who led us than the noble vision most of us originally signed on for. And to maintain power we turned to the controls of government — we became the party of big government. We behaved like Democrats.
True, the country has changed and our party must adapt. However, it is wrong to believe we must change our principles or become conservative-lite. After all, the voters did not suddenly become liberal; but they have lost any sense of confidence that the Republican Party holds the answers to their problems.
Most Americans today see a Republican Party that defines itself by what it is against rather than what it is for. We can tell you why public schools aren’t working, but not articulate a compelling vision for how we’ll better educate children. We’re well equipped to rail against tax increases; but can’t begin to explain how we’ll help the poor. We exclude far better than we welcome.
Things were different as recently as 20 years ago. Back then, Ronald Reagan made it cool to be a Republican — it wasn’t just his specific policies, but the timeless truths he so eloquently gave voice to, and upon which his policies were based. That’s the Republican Party we must re-establish.
Read the rest. There is also an article that Newt Gingrich is competing with Steele for chairmanship of the RNC. Sorry, but if I’m given a say, Newt won’t get it. He may have rediscovered his conservative voice after being elected out of office but he’s got some making up to do. Michael Steele, on the other, never lost his conservative soul, but has been denied much of a voice due to those things outlined above. No one wanted to hear real conservative ideals, only what they thought would keep them in power.
If the RNC is depending on real conservatives to lead the party out of the wilderness, then they best give Steele the lead and Newt will just have to catch up and eat some crow before he’s really trustworthy again. Conservative leadership starts with choosing conservatives who never lost their way.