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Can Michael Steele save Republicans?
The first African-American chairman of the Republican Party gets to work
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he rebuilding of the GOP has begun, said Reihan Salam in Forbes. The party chose Michael Steele, the African-American former lieutenant governor of Maryland, as its new chairman. Steele, as a Senate candidate, “reached out to voters who'd normally never give Republicans a hearing,” and he’s a pragmatist who’ll tell Republicans where they’ve “gone wrong.”

Steele’s selection is “historic,” said Bonnie Erbe in U.S. News & World Report. But he won’t broaden his party’s appeal the way Barack Obama did. Steele’s promise to restore small-government conservatism will please “ultra-conservative Southerners and Rocky Mountain Westerners,” but it’ll take far more to win back power in Washington.

It’s too early, said Thomas Schaller in Salon, to say whether Steele’s selection—and the unanimous GOP opposition to the House stimulus bill—mark the launch of a “miraculous revival.” Together, “these two votes demonstrate that Republicans remain unified in what they stand against”—President Obama—“but, aside from sensing they might be a little too white, are far less certain what they stand for.”

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