Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Open Letter to Michael Steele, Chairman RNC

by Chuck Schaeffer

Dear Chairman Steele,
My letter today is in response to your letter concerning the Census of the Republican Party. I have taken my valuable time and have carefully read all four pages. I request in return the courtesy of reading of my entire letter. After all, my letter is only 2 ½ pages.

In looking at the questionnaire, I find it to be, in large part, an ineffective, poorly constructed instrument. However, I have returned it under separate cover. Your letter states the cost of the census is $.42 cents each. However in the donation section, you ask for a donation of $12? I am highly skeptical of the census mailing because of the blatant fund-raising appeal at the end of the questionnaire. Asking for funds in EVERY piece you mail to me destroys the credibility of the survey. However, I have enclosed a check with this letter for $.42 to cover the cost of the questionnaire, according to your assertion.

As for a larger contribution, I will no longer make contributions to the Republican National Committee. (So if you wish to save money, take me off your list for any mailing that requests a contribution.) I base my decision on how the “National Party” handled the candidacy of Jack Hoogendyk in his bid for Sen. Carl Levin’s US Senate seat last Fall. Between the national and state party organizations, I believe Jack received a mere $500 total (perhaps may have been as much as $1000, I have forgotten).

The point is, Jack was only able to raise about $275,000 against Levin’s $2,500,000 or more! Jack was a candidate that can and did re-energize many Republicans in Michigan, but since he was unable to afford ANY TV ADVERTISING in Michigan, he went unknown to the voters as a whole. The Republican Party failed him, and thus failed the State of Michigan.

I would now like to address your intent to “revitalize” the party. I have seen you speak on television and read much about you in the conservative blogs. In your rhetoric I see a glimmer of hope, given that you can turn the rhetoric into genuine action and revitalization of the party.

Revitalization of the party only needs one specific topic of its focus. It does not need another questionnaire like the one just sent. The party needs only to find candidates with fire in their belly who are 110% committed to not just stopping, but reversing our gallop towards socialism. In my view, socialistic leanings are EMBRACED NOT JUST BY DEMOCRATS BUT BY NEARLY EVERY REPUBLICAN now holding national office. The Republican Party is NOT the party of the right. It is the party of the Just-Slightly-More-Right-Than-The-Democrat Party. It is conservative only by comparison to the democrat party.

Our future candidates need to have a full commitment to ending socialism and moving back toward genuine respect for the Constitution, as intended by its authors. (Plus the ability to articulate the message clearly and simply.) Period. If you adopt the primary goal of moving away from socialism and big national government, everything else flows from that. It’s a simple message, understood by everyone.

Now, how to find the candidate? I believe that the movement toward primary elections to select a Presidential candidate has hurt both parties! I do not believe that the primary system selects the most electable candidate. In the past election, I did not want to vote for either candidate. I did not support John McCain because he was not the best candidate the Republican Party had. Early in the primary cycle, I was supported (through signs, talk, and money) Rudy Giulani. My reason was that at the time it looked like the democrat nominee was going to be Hillary Clinton. My support for Rudy was based on my conviction that he was the only candidate capable of beating Hillary. But he ran out of money. McCain had money. Obama had (more) money. We had a choice, then, in the general election of voting for the candidates with the most money, not the candidate who would be the best President.

Many people urged moving away from “smoke-filled back rooms” at conventions where the party big wigs select the Presidential candidates. I believe ever since that happened, the Party has not, in general, fielded the best candidate. I would rather have “professionals” in politics select the candidate who has the best chance of winning, rather than the candidate who has the most money and charisma (of which John McCain had neither).

Another shortcoming of the party is that now it seems that the party platform is the platform of the nominee, not the platform of the party delegates. In fact, in the past 3 elections, I don’t even remember any major news coverage of what came out of the Platform Committee. Come to think of it, WAS THERE a platform or committee? If so, it was not a centerpiece of the convention.

Let’s turn to my US Rep., Dave Camp and how he typifies our incumbent legislators. Dave will not get my vote in 2010. Dave is a moderate- to left-leaning Republican. He will never get my vote, primary or general. Dave represents a lot of what’s wrong with our Representatives and Senators.

The winning strategy for regaining control of the House in 2010 will not be about holding on to Republican seats, and ousting some Democrats. The Party doesn’t need to hold on to Camp and his ilk, but instead needs a slate of candidates that, as I said earlier, “have full commitment to ending socialism and moving back toward genuine respect for the Constitution, as intended by its authors. Period.”

If this means withdrawing support from incumbents, so be it. If it means losing seniority on congressional committees, so be it. The rebuilding of conservatism and the tearing down of socialism will be a long process. Let’s bite the bullet and do it the right way.

Finally, lest you think this is the opinion of one person, I would like you to know that I am the organizer of a group of like-minded individuals in my region. We have people who are officially signed up as members, and more people who are our supporters, but not “joiners” at this time. We’ve only been at it a few weeks, but see new people joining nearly every day and have passed 20.

Parenthetically, we all believe in the principles and values that have been formalized in writing by Glenn Beck. In Michigan, we are the eighth such organization formed since March of this year. I only mention Beck, not because we feel he is our leader, but rather that he articulates our principles and values. I mention him also because if you know what he stands for, you know what we stand for and I don’t have to take time to explain it. WE LEAD OURSELVES.

If the Republican Party has the guts to make MAJOR changes in its philosophy and stops worrying about what blocks of voters it will try to co-opt or pander to, the party will have our support. If it’s the same business-as-usual party with a new logo and fresh talking points, forget about support from grass roots organizations such as ours.

If the person who is reading this is, in fact, Michael Steele, thank you for your time and consideration of my thoughts. If you are someone else, throw this away. My time in crafting and drafting this was for Mr. Steele’s benefit, and if it does not make it to his attention, I will know that it’s just “business as usual” for the Republican Party. I would appreciate at least a personal acknowledgment from Mr. Steele that he has read this letter.

Chuck Schaeffer


  1. How about an update? Did you get a response from Michael Steel? I'd be interested to know what response, if any, from whom, and to dialog on this a bit more.

    Thanks for your efforts.

  2. Nothing back from Steele or the RNC. Did anyone expect more?