Open Thread: Michael Steel Elected Chairman of the GOP

by Latoya Peterson

So, Michael Steele was elected Chairman of the GOP.

The Republican Party chose the first black national chairman in its history Friday, just shy of three months after the nation elected a Democrat as the first African-American president. The choice marked no less than “the dawn of a new party,” declared the new GOP chairman, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. Republicans chose Steele over four other candidates, including former President George W. Bush’s hand-picked GOP chief, who bowed out declaring, “Obviously the winds of change are blowing.”

The Root weighs in:

After years of decrying what they described as identity politics among Democrats, the GOP, in part out of concern for its image as the party of old, white people, chose cable-television sensation and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee. [...]

Central to the GOP’s perceived troubles is the idea that it had become too insular, too narrowly cast and too lacking in diversity. In the final round of balloting Steele defeated South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson, 91-77, and race was a clear undercurrent. Dawson’s fatal disadvantage may have been in the fact that he was a member of an all-white country club until he began seeking the chairmanship of the party. Some party insiders worried that choosing Dawson as their leader would simply serve to reinforce the race issues that have dogged the party for years.

In the end, enough GOP delegates were concerned to choose Steele over Dawson, who is acknowledged as a more accomplished fundraiser and manager.

Your thoughts?