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Who's Leading the Republican Party?

Kaitlynn Riely

Posted: Apr 2nd 2009 12:03AM

Filed under: Politics, Media, Notre Dame

I'm rooting for Michael Steele.

Partly because the chairman of the Republican National Committee is the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, my home state. And because one time I saw him campaigning at my local grocery store, and he handed me a flyer, so I feel some sort of connection to him.

But mostly because the Republican Party needs a strong leader now that the Democrats are running the show in Washington. Let's bring back the two-party system.

Steele hasn't had a strong start. I was impressed when he tried to put conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in his place, but Steele quickly backed down and praised the bombastic radio personality instead. He made another mistake when he contradicted the Republican stance on abortion a few weeks later.

But let's take a look at the other options for the Republican Party.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider wrote a story Wednesday looking at the Republican hopefuls for the 2012 race. The Party should choose a leader before then, but the options don't look great, according to Schneider's article.

Schneider picked former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who won the straw poll taken at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) recently, former vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Romney admitted to CNN's Larry King that the GOP doesn't have "one spokesman" right now, reported Schneider.

"That's just one of the features of not having either house in Congress or having the White House," Romney said. "You don't have an official place to be heard."

Politico reported a few weeks ago that a recent report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press showed that few people were able to name who they consider to be the leader of the GOP. Seventy-three percent of Americans responded that either the GOP has no leader, or, if they do, they don't know who it would be.

Of those who could name a GOP leader, 11 percent named Sen. John McCain and 5 percent named Rush Limbaugh. Gingrich and Steele both got 2 percent of the vote.

Clearly, the GOP has a leadership gap that needs to be filled. The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday that Steele spoke at a fundraiser Tuesday, urging members of the party to stop infighting and be more like him, meaning "unconventional, unpredictable ... to do from time to time the unexpected."

President Obama and the Democrats are running the country, and the conversation. Someone give Chairman Steele some media training so he stops sticking his foot in his mouth, then let's see him present a strong, yet productive, counterpoint to Obama.

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