Hold Michael Steele Accountable—or Elect a New Chairman

Letter from GOA Vice-Chairman Tim Macy to Republican National Committee (RNC) members

November 5, 2009

Dear RNC Member:

Gun Owners of America initially opposed the election of Michael Steele as RNC Chairman because of his position on certain gun control issues.

Recently, Mr. Steele has confirmed that he is not fully committed to many of the principles articulated in the Republican party platform, and that he will support—if not prefer, in some instances—the less conservative Republican choice for candidate to office.

These concerns were highlighted in the debacle in the recent election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.  While Mr. Steele may not have hand-picked the Republican candidate, his defense of Dede Scozzafava, even after she dropped out of the race, is troubling.

Gun Owners of America made the decision to support Doug Hoffman in this race over the Republican candidate.  Sure, Scozzafava had made some votes against gun control (along with a couple of anti-gun votes), but she also has close ties to the radical anti-gun group ACORN, whose current leader, Bertha Lewis, co-founded the leftist New York’s Working Families Party—a party that supported Scozzafava in past elections.

That is a clear warning sign that Scozzafava may have been more comfortable in Nancy Pelosi’s office than in the trenches fighting for core conservative principles.


Of course, those concerns were validated when, after hundreds of thousands of Republican donors’ dollars were spent in that race, Scozzafava dropped out and showed her true colors by endorsing the Pelosi-supporting Democrat.  What a waste of resources!

The Republican Party needs a shake-up starting at the top.  Michael Steele is clearly not the person who can lead the party into the 2010 elections.

Michael Steele told Gregg Jarrett of Fox News on October 31st that there has to be room in the Republican Party for people who flatly reject mainstream Republican principles, and that the national party needs to be sensitive to the differing values of different communities and to support candidates who reflect those values.

Steele’s comments surely beg the question; if Republican candidates can take positions on multiple issues that are diametrically opposed to the party’s platform and yet are still welcome to run as Republicans, then what is the point of calling itself the “conservative” party?

Furthermore, what happens when left-leaning Republicans actually get elected?  Mr. Steele needs to remember that “you keep ’em the way you get ’em.”  If Republicans elect a bunch of anti-gun liberals just to boost their numbers, the next argument is that there should be votes on their issues, while at the same time squelching votes important to conservatives and gun owners.

For example, in 2002, the House of Representatives passed a massive piece of gun control legislation because then-Majority Leader Dick Armey was concerned about saving the seat of Connie Morella in Maryland.  He brought the gun control bill to the floor and allowed her to manage it right before the election so she could go back to her district and prove how “pro-gun control” she was. 

In spite of passing a terrible bill that would affect millions of gun owners, Morella ended up losing her re-election anyway.   The Congressional leadership, at the same time, refused to repeal the misguided “assault weapons” ban.

When the leadership puts politics over principle we end up with policies that do not reflect the views of the millions of voters who thought they were putting Republicans into office.

Party leaders might consider that the reason the Republican Party is doing so poorly in areas like the northeast may not be because it is “too conservative,” but because it offers too many “liberal-lite” candidates.

After all, Ronald Reagan won two landslide elections in 1980 and 1984—and won the northeast both times—by running on conservative principles that actually attracted conservative Democrats to cross party lines and vote for him.

The initial claim in defense of Scozzafava was that she reflected the views of the district.  Well, polls taken in the weeks leading up to the election showed that conservative upstate New York is not as liberal as people in Washington may have thought.  And now, thanks to Scozzafava being on the ballot and endorsing the Democrat, Nancy Pelosi has yet another vote to keep her in power.

If the misdeeds in New York are what we can expect from Michael Steele in the crucial 2010 elections, than we would strongly urge that a new election for RNC Chairman be held so a real pro-Second Amendment conservative—like Ken Blackwell—can be chosen to lead what is the self-described conservative party.


Tim Macy
Gun Owners of America