Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele announced Tuesday that the Republican Party was going to make a comeback as the "party of new ideas," then proceeded to offer no new ideas in his speech to state Republican leaders
at a convention center in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Of course, Steele is right to say that the Republican Party needs to make a comeback, and quickly, because the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress should face a strong opposition that provides alternative solutions and balance. Steele's speech was a helpful attempt to put Republicans in a forward-looking position.
"The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over," Steele said, according to a transcript of the speech on Politico
. "It is done. The time for trying to focus on the past has ended. The era of Republican navel gazing is over. We have turned the corner on regret, recrimination, self-pity and self-doubt. Now is the hour to focus all of our energies on winning the future."
That approach seems positive enough, provided the Republicans have learned from their past mistakes. Steele also claimed that the Republicans will take President Obama and his policies head-on.
"The honeymoon is over," Steele said. He declared that the GOP will challenge Obama administration policies that they disagree with, but they will do it with class (I think he's looking at you, Rush Limbaugh).
To challenge Obama effectively, Steele said the GOP will "speak truth to power."
But what is that truth? For all his tough talk, Steele gave no concrete reasons why a voter should support the Republican Party over the Democratic Party.
Steele and the Republican leadership would do well to take some advice from Meghan McCain, The Daily Beast blogger
and daughter of Sen. John McCain. Though I often disagree with what she writes about in her column, I thought she had some useful advice for her party during her appearance Monday night on The Colbert Report
She said the Republicans shouldn't just concentrate on reaching out to voters with new technologies like Twitter and MySpace; the Democrats are already far ahead.
"I think we have to concentrate on the message and the right politician, and I don't believe Twittering is going to make anyone believe the Republican Party is cooler at all," she said.
The Republican Party is right to criticize Obama and his policies, but the Obama honeymoon won't end until Steele or someone else in the GOP comes up with a message and a policy plan that can counter Obama's.