Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele has won the race to become the new head of the RNC, becoming the first African-American to lead the Republican Party.
First things first. Congratulations to Mr. Steele, and to the GOP -- this is a historic day for both them.
I also think that this is a good choice for the Republican Party -- which is to say, a bad choice for me, because I'm a Democrat. Mr. Steele is a talented politician. Getting crushed in a Maryland Senate race, one of the bluest states in the union, during a Democratic wave year doesn't change that.
Mr. Steele also has talked aggressively about increasing the party's appeal to non-Whites and women. And when I say aggressive, I mean it's more than just lip service -- he's saying that Republicans have to take these people and their policy commitments seriously, rather than just paying lip service to the ideal of "inclusion" at a cocktail party. Finally, Steele has a reputation as a moderate in his party. Indeed, it almost derailed his campaign for chairmanship. We all know that in primaries one cuts to the base, then tacks back to the middle once the deal is sealed. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Steele develops his approach towards the Democratic majority now that he is in the driver's seat.