Listening in on a conference call with Michael Steele on Friday. Steele is the headline candidate for the RNC chairmanship. I've been impressed with him for a long time and became even more so impressed after interviewing him at the RNC and listening to his speech there.
So far, I've been very impressed with his emphasis on the importance of how we communicate conservative ideas. Steele says, for example, that we need to be careful about saying that we want to "cut government." Government employees hear that and think, "these guys want to fire me." We need to say that we want efficient and effective government, because then those same employees will say, "the guy in the cubicle sitting next to me didn't do anything all day, he better watch out."
This is one example of the importance of communication.
Steele on communication: We are going to try every mode of communication open to us. We won't mimic the Obama campaign, but we will steal some of their communication strategies. Obama wasn't interested in communicating his VP choice, he wanted to get people's cell and email information. This kept them excited and interested and made them feel as though they were in the game.
Steele wants to actively engage bloggers to test ideas and see what things are animating people outside of Washington. Republicans don't feel a part of anything and connected to anything. That's not going to cut it. We only ask for their checks. We want them more involved than that.
Paraphrasing Steele: I want you guys involved. I want a free-flowing exchange of ideas. Those conservative bloggers can use these tools to go out and fight the good fight. This is an important opportunity for everyone who has good ideas to get involved.
[ed. note: Clearly talking about tapping into the democracy of ideas that is the internet.]
Ok, the call is done. Steele is smart--smart enough to know that he doesn't know everything. By all accounts he would be a good fundraiser, communicater, and organizer. He seems willing to listen to ideas from all sides. And, importantly, he seems to be a true conservative.
Given the social conservatism of the African-American community (see Prop 8), it's possible that Steele could reach out and begin building some bridges.
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