I am soooo happy that the elections are over and we now have new Chairmen for the Republican Party of Florida and the Republican National Committee. Now we can all unite and work together for victory in 2012.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Bitner for the first time yesterday and can see what people like about him. He is a warm, personable guy and has a deep love and enthusiasm for conservative politics. I talked to a lot of people at the RPOF Quarterly meeting this weekend and even those who were supporting other candidates expressed a positive opinion about Bitner, so I was not surprised when he won on the second ballot.
As for the RNC Chair, I've never met any of the candidates, but I am definitely very relieved that the Committee has moved on from Michael Steele. I would like to give Steele the benefit of the doubt, but in my opinion, he deserves at least some of the harsh criticism he received for two key problems. First problem was his insistence on inserting himself inappropriately into the political arena, often leading to cringe-worthy quotes that embarrassed the Party.
The second failing of Steele's term was his failure to respect and work with the grassroots. He spent a ridiculous amount of money on the "Fire Pelosi" bus tour, but appeared to have been attended almost exclusively by campaign staffers and those who were already committed Republican volunteers, and garnered very little media attention. It was a lot of money to spend on a photo-op that, as far as I can tell, earned few, if any, actual new votes for Republican candidates. Steele also made the decision to drastically reduce the funding, or even outright cancel, many aspects of the party's GOTV ("get out the vote") programs that had been so successful for the GOP for several election cycles. There were several races around the country where the Republican lost by a very narrow margin, and a more vigorous GOTV program, especially in the final 72 hours, could have made a difference.
Our new RNC chair is Wisconsin attorney Reince Priebus. Fun fact: Priebus attended the University of Miami College of Law with our own Marco Rubio. Hopefully Rubio can help remind his friend of the importance of respecting the conservative grassroots. So far, Priebus is at least saying the right things. Time will tell if he is also able to "walk the walk," but for now, I am hopeful.
There's been a lot of jokes and confusion about Priebus' name. To help you learn how to pronounce it, here is a video from a Milwaukee news station announcing Priebus' election. You can hear his name at the 12 second mark: