Michael Steele appears to be a pleasant enough fellow. But he is off to a rocky start as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).
Within weeks of his election, Steele gave an interview to GQ in which he was quoted as saying that abortion is an “individual choice,” the refrain generally used by “abortion-rights” supporters. The Republican platform has consistently viewed abortion as the wrongful taking of innocent human life, and the pro-life constituency has been an important part of the conservative Reagan coalition. After a flurry of protests, Chairman Steele backtracked. The damage, however, had already been done. Social conservatives weren’t enthusiastic about Steele’s election in the first place, and this gave them even more cause for concern.
Then the Republicans lost a congressional race that they were expected to win in a special election in upstate New York. The RNC was blamed for its poor performance on behalf of the Republican candidate.
Nor was Steele helped by a series of critical articles by Ralph Z. Hallow in the Washington Times about the new chairman’s hiring practices at the RNC.
Thus, it was somewhat surprising to see Michael Steele declare in a May speech to his fellow RNC members that “A Republican renaissance has begun!” In that same talk, Steele also made the point that it was...