- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nerves of Steele

He’s chairman of GOPAC, a Republican National Committee heavy — and Michael S. Steele is ready to rumble, ready to provide a rallying point for GOPers who meekly peer at the new Obama-world around them.

“We’ve had a hard, cold reality check. We’ve had our clocks cleaned, with little to show for it,” Mr. Steele told me a few days ago.

The new mantra for the party is “Republican for a reason,” he said.

“What now? This I ask Republicans: Are you ready to get your game face on and fight for the principles you believe in?”

I suggested it was a call for the party to “get in touch with their inner American” — and Mr. Steele quickly agreed.

“Oh, yeah. Once, Ronald Reagan made it cool to be a Republican again. And that Reagan ‘factor’ still matters now, but it matters in a different way, for a different age,” Mr. Steele said.

“You have to adapt good ideas of the past because politics is not static. It may be a blood sport, but it sure isn’t static. You can’t change your basic principles and views, but you can express them differently. That’s why we saw President Obama succeed. He’s translated Reagan rhetoric for this age.”


Since 9/11, global polls from the British Broadcasting Corp. and others claimed the world was annoyed with America for myriad reasons. The Left chafed over the idea, squirming over the “who cares” response of the Bush administration. But now we officially care.

Some say that President Obama’s timing was exquisite after he reached out to Arabic news media to assure the Middle East that America had changed. Others are not so sure.

“Barack Obama is playing nice with Tehran, and the best is yet to come,” says Abe Greenwald of Commentary.

“Tehran will respond to Obama’s ‘extended hand from us’ with praise for the changed attitude in Washington. This, in turn, will be cited by Democrats as evidence of the success of President Obama’s ‘new tone.’ Sure, we’ll be locked into touchy-feely sham diplomacy for the rest of the time it takes the mullahs to attain nukes. But the important thing is that we get the world to like us again, right?”

He adds, “Americans are not looking for Obama to solve problems, but to end problems. And one way to end a problem is by ceasing to classify it as a problem. So: ‘Will the United States ever live with a nuclear Iran?’ Sure — no problem.”

Quotes of note

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