At the 2008 Republican Convention in Minnesota, I had the pleasure of meeting Former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael Steele.
Despite his lighthearted manner, Michael Steele is no Pollyanna. As a republican who happens to be black, he has seen the ugliness of ideological bigotry. He has had Oreo Cookies tossed at his feet. this was not done by conservatives.
Nevertheless, he keeps his head level and his disposition ultra sunny. Below are some of his comments that had the crowd rollicking at the convention.
“Are you ready to party in this house tonight?”
“We need a leader who understands the meaning of hard work and self sacrifice.”
“We need somebody who leads for the public interest, not the glamour for public applause.”
“Do you want to put country first?
Drill, baby, drill, drill now!”
“Do what keeps us safe, not what is politically correct. Let’s win the war on terrorism.”
“Associations, who you hang out with, does matter.”
“The corruption of our school systems leads to the weakening of our families.”
The crowd erupted, and fed off his passion. He was exuberant when I met him as well.
With that, I present my “walk and talk” interview with Michael Steele.
1) What are the most important issues of 2008?
MS: “The economy and energy. We have to get off of foreign oi, and that means doing everything, including drilling right here, right now.”
2) Who are your 3 favorite political heroes?
MS: “Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan.”
3) How would you like to be remembered 100 years from now? What would you want people to say about Michael Steele the person?
“I was someone who gave a d@mn.”
4) The democrats play identity politics. Given that the republicans are the party of John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Michael Steele, and the democrats are represented by Barack Obama and John Edwards, are the democrats bigoted against the follically challenged? Can John McCain finally crack the glass ceiling in the modern era? Is America ready for a bald President?
(Governor Steele cracked up, and was fabulous about answering the question.)
MS: “Absolutely! The democrats absolutely are prejudiced against the follically challenged! The republican party represents everybody. Yes, we can elect a bald guy President. Yes we can, yes we should, and yes we will elect bald John McCain the next President. That question was the question of all questions. Excellent question. I love it.”
Mr. Steele then turned to his handler, whose job is to get the Governor through the throngs without being slowed down, and said, “Get that guy’s information. Get his business card!”
He shook my hand vigorously, gave me a healthy pat on the back, and laughed on his way to the elevator. I ran into him a couple more times thorughout the convention, and he waved to me and smiled a wide grin.
As I said, his manner was affable, sincere, and fun. It was a pleasure meeting and interviewing Michael Steele because of his incredibly likable personality.
Also, for those who claim that America is racist unless we elect a black President right now, I say that they should put up or shut up, and get to work on helping Michael Steele reach the White House after John McCain and Sarah Palin finish their terms.
I will drill this message into the heads of people. If others request I take an easier approach, I will just respond as only Michael Steele can.
Drill, baby, Drill!