Yesterday, the Republican National Committee elected Reince Priebus as its chairman. I tried to follow the hotly contested race for this post, but couldn’t sustain an interest; this was truly inside baseball.
I know three things about Priebus, all positive. First, he isn’t Michael Steele. Second, he was successful as head of the GOP in Wisconsin and received the backing of newly elected Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. Third, he gained the confidence of the Committee that elected him. I trust that the committeemen are a savvy enough as a collective to elect a competent figure provided they don’t let extraneous factors get in the way, as I believe they did with Steele.
This is a job that matters only but so much. A party can win big with a poor chairman, as the Republicans did last year and the Democrats arguably did in 2006 and 2008. And a party can be routed with an outstanding chairman, as I believe the Republicans were in 2006.
Other things being equal, though, it’s nice if the chairman has the confidence of donors, decent organizational skills, and the ability to stay out of the limelight, or at least stay out of trouble. Priebus should be an improvement over Steele in all three areas.
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