Pro-Life Group’s Prez: Steele Should Step Down as GOP Chair

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2010   |   1:17PM   |   Washington, DC

The president of a pro-life women’s group is the first pro-life leader to say embattled Republican Party chairman Michael Steele should step down from his position.

Penny Nance, in an opinion column appearing today at National Journal, says Steele is not the leader the RNC needs as Republicans prepare for a considerable battle in 2012 to defeat pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

“Republicans have a gigantic challenge ahead of them as they seek to fulfill many of the campaign promises they touted for months leading up to the tsunami 2010 election cycle [including to] repeal ObamaCare and promote life,” she writes. “While most of that responsibility falls on incoming House Speaker John Boehner, the job of recruiting the next batch of conservatives to run in 2012 and protecting the new members falls to the Republican National Committee Chairman.”

“Unfortunately, Michael Steele is certainly not the right choice for that job,” Nance continues.

Although Republicans delivered Obama and his pro-abortion allies a “shellacking” at the polls earlier this month, Nance says Steele was an impediment and not an enabler of those massive victories.

“While the GOP picked up historic numbers of seats in this past election, it was in spite of, not because of, Michael Steele. In an unbelievable, and oftentimes comical, reign of just two years as RNC chairman, Steele managed to embarrass his party through his gaffe-prone media appearances,” she notes. ” He was specifically tasked with helping to bring African-Americans into the party, but when asked if there were any good reasons why they should vote Republican, Steele said they don’t really have a good reason.”

Nance is also upset that Steele, who came into the position with a sterling pro-life reputation and the support of pro-life organizations,watered down his pro-life views in interviews as Republican Party chairman.

“He also flip-flopped on his opposition to abortion during an interview with GQ Magazine and slammed conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh,” she writes.

But Nance says the biggest concern about Steele is the fact that he is not a strong fundraiser or a financial manager at a time when the Republican party will need tens of millions of dollars to take on Obama and his well-funded supporters.

“Steele’s lack of control over the RNC checkbook was mind-boggling. He raised nowhere near the amount of money previous chairmen had raised and yet, in the midst of an economic recession, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on meetings at lavish islands and hotels,” the CWA leader complained.

Nance, in the National Journal piece, has an idea of the kind of chairman she hopes will take over from Steele — a combination of a prodigious fundraiser and a person with strong pro-life and conservative values.

“The new RNC chairman needs to be both a fiscal and social conservative, and must represent the party in a professional and engaging way,” she writes. “For the first time since Roe v. Wade, the House of Representatives has a pro-life majority, which is an unprecedented statement that voters reject taxpayer-funded abortion and want a more conservative, pro-life legislature moving forward.”

“If the party wants to maintain its gains among conservatives and independents, the GOP needs to start gearing for the 2012 election now,” Nance concludes. “There is simply too much at stake for the Republicans to keep Michael Steele as the RNC chairman.”

Michigan RNC member Saul Anuzis, who is pro-life, announced his candidacy weeks ago, is challenging Steele and has already picked up some support from RNC members who will vote on the next chairman.

Former RNC co-chair Ann Wagner has filed paperwork looking ahead to a potential candidacy as has former official Maria Cino. Former RNC political director Gentry Collins is also considering running for the post.

Steele has not announced whether he will seek re-election.