Michael Steele: Republicans At Crossroads

One of the hardest things to do in politics, believe it or not, is to standout. Sure you can go off and say something crazy; or even do something inherently stupid that will generate attention.

But most politicians and political parties don’t want that kind of attention. I’m talking about truly standing out: to be recognized for pushing against the conventional wisdom or fighting the status quo; or even better, standing against the prevailing winds of one’s party. That is a lot harder than you may imagine.

In a life spent advancing conservative principles, I have had the privilege of serving as a county chairman, a state chairman, a candidate and an elected official. When I assumed the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee in 2009 on the heels of humiliating defeats in 2006 and 2008, this would be my opportunity to advance those conservative principles in a new way; to go a bit against the grain, to push back on the “establishment” mindset that had led to these back to back devastating losses.

In short, for the party to survive it was time to turn the elephant to face its future. But have you ever tried to turn an elephant? Invariably, whichever end you start with will test your resolve.


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