Republican Party Chair Candidates Steele, Dawson: Keep Pro-Life View

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican Party Chair Candidates Steele, Dawson: Keep Pro-Life View

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 28
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Two candidates vying for the top spot as the chairman of the national Republican Party have written editorials carrying the same pro-life themes. Both Michael Steele and Katon Dawson say the election of Barack Obama earlier this month was not a rejection of the party’s pro-life views.

"Sure, Republicans have had a hard couple of elections. But you’ll excuse me for suggesting that reports of our death have been more than a little exaggerated,’ Steele writes in his editorial on the Politico web site.

Steele says the improvements the GOP needs to make to win in 2010 and 2012 involve tactics and strategy, not message. As he says it, it involves a "return to timeless Republican principles."

"Retool our message, but base it on those proven conservative principles for which our party has always stood" including how "we celebrate and protect life, born and unborn."

Steele says the pro-life message is a winning one but emphasized that the party needs to rework it to reach out to younger voters, blacks and Hispanics, Asians and women.

"We have the message, but we have to improve our credibility with these voters," he said.

Steele, the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, also wants Republicans to stop blaming pro-life advocates like Sarah Palin for John McCain’s defeat.

"We have to stop trying to lay blame for our losses. It’s embarrassing to see what unnamed McCain aides are saying about Sarah Palin. Worse, it’s not fair, relevant or productive," he said. "Instead, we have to recognize we have all contributed to the problem and it will take us all — working together — to repair it."

Katon Dawson, the current chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, and also a candidate for the chairmanship, emphasized similar themes.

He challenges those who say the Republican party is too focus on pro-life issues.

"Some say Republicans were too conservative, that we’ve become a regional party and that we’re clinging to an old playbook," he said. "As a Republican, I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth, and we are alive and kicking."

Dawson says other political issues such as the economy and government spending enabled pro-abortion Obama to capture the White House.

He, too, says the focus needs to be on strategically reaching subgroups of voters that went for Obama.

"Our principles are sound, but we need to refresh the Republican Party brand if we are to earn the trust of the American public to govern once again," he wrote in his Politico op-ed.

He called for Republican voters to renew their commitment to "timeless principles" such as "respect for the sanctity of life."

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