Podcast: Michael Steele, a Republican Chairman Who Understands the Challenge of Reaching Minorities

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Steele.

Steele. (Photo: ABC News)

The election of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele to the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee has been hailed by some as yet another effect of Barack Obama’s ascent to the presidency.

“It took the election of the nation’s first African-American president, one who won landslide margins among blacks, Latinos and Asians, to convince the GOP of its need to expand its appeal beyond its overwhelmingly white base,” Charles Mathesian writes in Politico.

It remains to be seen if Steele’s designation is the first step, or a false start, in GOP efforts to expand its tent to try to include a majority of minorities in the nation. It is clear, at least, that Steele is well aware of his party’s need to reach out to those voters it has left mostly unattended for generations.

Last September, Feet In 2 Worlds executive producer John Rudolph interviewed Steele at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, where he was one of the few African Americans to address the GOP delegates. (Still, it was Steele who came up with the convention’s likely most memorable phrase: “Drill, baby, drill.”)

In that interview, Steele acknowledged that the McCain campaign made “no effort” to counterbalance the surge of support for Obama among African Americans and that Republicans had “literally, dropped the ball” when it came to going after the black vote.

You can listen to the whole interview by pressing Play below.

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/fi2w_msteele.mp3]

0 comments

  1. I think Steele’s comments on Fox News Sunday will be of interest:

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200902010005?f=h_latest

    WALLACE: So no change in the position of the party?

    STEELE: No change in the position on the party on that —

    WALLACE: You are one of the —

    STEELE: But how we message that is where we messed up the last time. We were pegged as being insensitive, anti-immigrant, and nothing could be further from the truth. Because, you talk to those leaders in the Hispanic community, they will tell you the same thing: They understand the importance of making sure the United States borders are secure.

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