Ken Blackwell

Last week, Michael Steele made history as the first African-American elected chairman of the Republican Party. Although the GOP is currently the minority party in our two-party system, Chairman Steele takes the reins at a moment of tremendous opportunity. Mr. Steele’s publicly expressed commitment to conservative principles and the platform of the party, led me to urge the GOP leadership to elect him as chairman.

January 29 and 30 were rollercoaster days for all of us running to become the next chairman of the GOP. We appeared before the members of the Republican National Committee, making our case about how to inspire, rebuild and advance our party.

The Republican Party wins when it holds fast to its principles and articulates bold policy positions embodying those principles. The precepts of limited government, economic opportunity and personal responsibility resonate with Americans. The Reagan Coalition of economic conservatives, social conservatives and national-security conservatives wins elections when our candidates communicate a message of core values, personal and family security, self-sufficiency, and the rule of law.

For Republicans to be successful again, the party must both rebuild our base and expand our reach.

The party’s base is dispirited. Economic conservatives are appalled at reckless spending and endless bailouts. Social conservatives are on defense because some advocate the GOP jettisoning issues such as life, marriage or the Second Amendment.

Abandoning those issues, expanding government and reducing personal liberty with higher taxes will not get voters to support Republicans. If Americans seek more government and higher taxes, they will go to the professionals, the Democrats.

The GOP needs a chairman who will build the party, by mobilizing the base around our issues and reaching new voters with those very same values.

History has proven conservative ideas win. Republican leaders must explain how conservative principles - expressed through bold policies - will improve people’s lives. Show voters how conservative ideas will help them enjoy more freedom, security and a brighter future, and they will vote Republican. The GOP needs a chairman with the ability to project that message.

Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
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