Promising this would be "the first of a series of conversations" with bloggers, former Maryland LG Michael Steele held a blogger conference call today to discuss his bid for RNC Chairman.
Regarding bloggers, Steele said, "we have under-utilized a tremendously valuable resource." He also added that he's usually awake and on the internet as late as 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.
Steele promised a full-fledged communications operation that would include many forms of contact, including mail, the internet, and text-messaging. He also promised a "full-blown internet strategy which will raise money but also raise interest." However, he admitted: "That's going to mean tackling some of the old taboos in politics...what we saw with the Obama campaign was a phenomenal operation."
Of course, the big question on everyone's mind was why Steele decided to run for RNC Chairman. Steele said he opposed the GOP becoming Democratic Lite: "If I wanted to be a Democrat -- having grown up in Washington, DC...then I would have joined the Democratic Party," he said. He also went out of his way to stress his pro-Life credentials.
Steele also said he wanted to attract new members to join the Republican Party, and that he believes in a "government that is efficient."
Steele also warned that Republicans shouldn't "soft-pedal" our attacks on Barack Obama, "just because the President of the United States is a Black man." This, of course, presents the argument that Steele -- an African-American -- could be a more effective critic of Obama than could his white Republican colleagues.
Responding to a follow-up question I asked him, Steele responded that "the Obama campaign played the race card, and it worked beautifully." He said it hurt Bill Clinton, "tripped up Hillary Clinton," and that it also "stymied" John McCain because he wouldn't mention Reverend Wright. Steele argued that in taking Rev. Wright off the table, McCain surrendered the one issue that might have helped him win because "it went to the core" of Obama's character.
Update: I've added audio below. Now that I listen to it again, I believe that the first time he referenced the "race card," he said "Obama played the race card in reverse beautifully." This doesn't change the point of what he said, but I just wanted to correct it for accuracy....