True Measure of Success
Our society has many ways to gauge the success or failure of those involved in the political world. One unique measurement of judging those who have mounted the national platform of “being someone of note” is to be a host or to be lampooned on Saturday Night Live. Last Saturday Michael Steele made it.
The three minute skit, which was part of SNL’s “Weekend Update,” must have stung Chairman Steele a little bit at first blush. Being mocked as someone who is controlled by others is never nice. Actor Kenan Thompson, other than being black, is nothing like Michael Steele in appearance, and frankly will never attain the acting ability of many of the SNL players who came before him.
None-the-less, national political figures of both parties have measured their success by invitation to SNL and by the number of skits in which they were parodied. The ultimate success of reaching into the late night world of comedy is to be asked to be the host of the show. Mr. Steele, being the same age as me, knows this parody was pretty cool; especially with no mention of Rush Limbaugh.
Chairman Steele’s little brush up with Mr. Limbaugh stirred the pot in both the Republican and conservative worlds. For a brief moment, Mr. Limbaugh was allowing everyone to assume he was in some fashion a part of the Republican Party, other than possibly the status of “registered voter.”
Like him or not, Rush is just a man with a nationally syndicated radio show who has opinions. He makes money by expressing those opinions on radio, in books and in other publications. The more controversial he is, the more opinionated he becomes, and the more money he makes. After all, he is a capitalist.
Political fires, wacky Democrats and sickening liberal agendas are cash in the bank for Rush Limbaugh. These scenarios generate controversy, which causes chatter and stirs the pot to create another day of blather for Limbaugh’s listeners and readers.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee literally runs a company that serves to congeal a structure for the Republican Party. He must be a person who builds coalitions and cements a national grassroots structure together. The chairman must keep all these factions together while raising money and focusing on defeating a common political enemy.
The Republican Party, believe it or not, is made up of diverse and highly opinionated individuals. There are corporate donors who finance huge amounts of money. There are thousands of elected officials with giant egos. There are hundreds of thousands of volunteers, who work hard and are naturally different politically because of geography. Then there are all the registered voters – like Rush.
The chairman’s job is like herding long tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs… not an easy one. Can Chairman Steele and his team put the pieces of a defeated party together once again? Sure. Historically, neither political party stays down and out for too long; for as one builds, the opposite party becomes self defeating.
Chairman Steele and the RNC will re-build and be ready. Rush Limbaugh knows this and perhaps he will even help. The White House and the Democrat Party leadership know this, and they are working constantly to maintain a political divide. Mr. Steele knows it, too, and he is beginning to prepare and repair his party.
In 2004, the RNC and Chairman Ed Gillespie created a wonderful parody of the opening credit segment of SNL for the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. It brought the house down. In 2008 Republican candidates, Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, were late night hits on the show. The nation got a glimpse that Republicans could be a little cool and even understood comedy.
Who knows? Maybe sometime in the near future, Maryland’s favorite son at the RNC, Chairman Michael Steele, may even have the opportunity to utter those famous words “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” Then the whole world will know an RNC chairman can be cool.