Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reading too much into the Palin - Steele connection?

At The Daily Caller, Jonathan Strong asks, "Is there an emerging Palin-Steele alliance?"
First, she appeared on a RNC fundraising mailer in July. Then she gave a shout-out to Steele on Fox News, painting him as more in tune with the conservative base than other members of the GOP establishment. “More power to Michael Steele,” she said.

Then, the RNC announced Palin would be headlining two fundraising “rallies” with Steele in October.

Meanwhile, Steele has made several overtures to conservatives, including warmly embracing Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell when the rest of the GOP establishment was still bellyaching over what some believe is a lost Senate seat.

Steele has also praised Tea Party activists on his national “Fire Pelosi” bus tour. At the launch event for the bus tour were two Tea Party favorites: Reps. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota and Joe Wilson of South Carolina.


Some of Steele’s critics are fearful of a Palin-Steele alliance. One RNC member, an influential Steele opponent, said Palin could give Steele credibility with conservative activists, which could go a long way towards absolving Steele of what critics say are his many, many sins as RNC chair.

Some take this line of thinking further, suspecting that Palin might work to get Steele reelected as RNC chair, believing he could be a useful ally if she were to run for president in 2012.
We're not sure how strong of an "alliance" the two may have forged, but Gov. Palin and Chairman Steele are certainly old friends, and they share a mutual respect. Also, the relationship between the two is hardly "emerging." It goes back possibly as far as the RNC Convention in 2008, when Steele delivered a stem winder of a speech that was lavish in its praise for the soon to be confirmed vice presidential candidate. In April of 2009, Steele introduced the governor at a Right to Life event in Evansville, Indiana. In his words of introduction, the chairman confessed that while the world eagerly waited for John McCain to name his running mate in the closing days of August, 2008, Steele was hoping that Sarah Palin would be McCain's choice.

Since then, the two have gone to bat for each other. When some Republicans took the Democrats' side on Gov. Palin's characterization of rationing under ObamaCare as "death panels" in August of 2009, Steele stood up for her. When leftist journo Andrea Mitchell slammed Sarah in November of the same year for having resigned her office four months earlier, Steele defended her decision and told the lamestream media to "give the woman a break."

When Steele came under fire in January of this year for his remark that the GOP "wasn't ready to lead," Sarah Palin went on Fox News in prime time to voice her agreement with the chairman and to applaud him for taking on the party establishment. She also sent Steele an email message to offer her encouragement. In April, after she had asked the RNC to stop advertising that she would attend an RNC fundraiser, she was asked -- again in prime time on Fox News -- if there was a split between her and Steele. The governor's reply was unequivocal:
"I support Michael Steele. I am glad that he is the leader of the party, administratively. If those within the party are choosing to go in different directions, his term is up in eight months, and they can vote somebody else in. I think he's doing a great job. Michael Steele is an outsider. The machine, I think, is tough to penetrate. I know that Michele [Bachmann] and I both have kind of felt that in our careers. I think it's been good to have an independent outsider trying to create some change in the Republican Party."
So the mutual respect and admiration shared by Gov. Palin and Chairman Steele is not a recent phenomenon. Each has come to the other's defense when the other has come under attack, and if some pundits want to read more into that than meets the eye, let them. We happen to think that they simply and quite genuinely like each other, a bond strengthened by the fact that various members of their own party's establishment have at times treated both like red headed stepchildren. They have both had to fight to achieve their current stations in politics -- nothing was handed to either one on a silver platter. And they see eye to eye on many of the political issues that matter. For the time being, that should be plenty enough to explain their enduring friendship.

- JP

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