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Dear Chairman Steele

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The election of Michael Steele as the new chairman of the Republican National Committee is a ray of hope in what has been a pretty dark and dreary season. I am a long time Steele fan with high expectations, but I realize there is only so much one man can do. Republicans have some serious problems and one person is not going to be able to wave a magic wand and make everything better, but I believe Steele can make a big difference and can re-energize the party. He brings with him a confidence and a freshness Republicans have been sorely lacking. I am sure he is getting comments and suggestions from everybody and their brother, but I’ll throw mine into the mix as well.

Dear Chairman Steele,

Congratulations on your new position as Chairman of the RNC. I read your Blueprint for Tomorrow online at and am glad you stressed the need to stand firm for Republican ideals and to transform the way the RNC communicates. You identify the GOP brand as badly tarnished and say we have “squandered the trust of the voters with a stunning display of spending and government growth.” In your blueprint you provide research that shows Americans have not become less conservative, but rather the Republican party has not shown itself to be the reliably conservative choice. I agree and am glad you don’t see compromise on our core principles as the way to electoral success.

You say we must once again become the party of ideas and to do that we must do a better job collaborating and coordinating with center-right think tanks, grassroots organizations and online networks and working more closely with conservative media. I am particularly excited about your love of technology and your ideas about ways to better utilize it in all aspects of organization and outreach. I look forward to seeing the specifics you employ as you put plans into action.

I hope to see you continue to appear as frequently as possible on television and radio. You are an excellent communicator and when you say we “spend too much time talking to ourselves instead of spreading the gospel to potential believers” you couldn’t be more right.

You will be our ambassador and one of the most prominent faces of the party. I hope you will bring the same enthusiasm you showed in your acceptance speech to that job. “To my friends in the Northeast: get ready, baby. It's time to turn it on, and work to do what we always do well, and that is win. We're gonna win again in the Northeast. We're gonna continue to win in the South. We're gonna win with a new storm in the Midwest and we're gonna get to the West and lock it down there, too."

“We're going to say to friend and foe alike. We want you to be a part of us, we want you to work with us. And for those of you who are ready to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over.”

I love that attitude. We can’t win if we act like a bunch of losers and we have acted like losers for too long. In your Blueprint for Tomorrow you said we must promote our ideas aggressively, “fully prepared to compete for every vote, in every election, in every office, in every state.” That is the kind of confidence we need. It is what made Sarah Palin so popular. She had absolute confidence that conservative ideas were the ones that would work and she did not apologize for them and she was ready to take that message anywhere there was anyone to listen. Republicans had been starving for that and now that we have had a taste of it, we crave it even more.

In your plan you mention advertising as just one part of a diversified strategy. The “puppy” ad you ran in your Senate race in 2006 was my favorite political ad of all time. I look forward to seeing you bring some of those fresh ideas to an innovative ad campaign.

In 1994, the “Harry and Louise” ad campaign run by the Health Insurance Association of America was very effective in putting the intricacies of a massive complicated healthcare program into language the average American could understand. Republicans successfully used the debate over the Clinton healthcare plan to expose the big government liberal agenda of Democrats. GOP candidates reaped the electoral benefits, ending the forty-year hold of Democrats on Congress reducing their controlling majority of 258 seats in the House to a 204 seat minority. Not one Republican running for reelection in the House, Senate or for Governor lost in that election.

In 1996, the DNC struck back by running ads that successfully demonized Republicans, making a black and white grainy image of Newt Gingrich the face of the party. I am sure you are well aware of that history.

I hope to see some modern day “Harry and Louise” type ads to explain to the public just exactly what is in the wrongly named “stimulus” plan and an aggressive Republican campaign to paint Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as the faces of the modern Democrat party. In at least one poll taken following the 2008 elections a majority of Obama voters believed the Republicans controlled Congress. No wonder Democrats running for Congress did so well in spite of the single digit approval ratings Congress had. Democrats and the media successfully made Republicans the face of an unpopular Congress even though Democrats were the ones in control. That we allowed that to happen is inexcusable.

You said in your Blueprint for Tomorrow, “This time Democrats are more liberal, more committed and more angry than they have ever been. They are poised to implement an agenda of higher taxes, excessive spending, more government bureaucracy, and a fleecing of our personal freedoms. The Democrats will over-reach. And when they do, our chance to strike a stark contrast will come.”

With the proposed stimulus bill that chance may have come. If Senate Republicans stand united in their opposition to big spending as their counterparts in the House did last week, we will have the perfect opportunity to make the differences between Democrat liberalism and Republican conservatism clear. If Republicans abandon conservative principles there isn’t much anyone will be able to do to, but when they stand firm on conservative principles I hope you will seize those opportunities for all they’re worth.

Congratulations again and best wishes.

Lorie Byrd

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