Charlie Webster, the new chair of the Maine Republican party was quoted in an NPR piece yesterday on the Steele-Limbaugh brouhaha over who is the leader of the Republican Party. Webster praised Steele, but also defended the independence of Maine's Republican senators.
Charles Webster, chairman of the Republican Party in Maine, is a fan of both Steele and Limbaugh.
"Steele is an impressive guy," says Webster, who reported that there was a "mini revolution" among state party members when they learned that their three RNC members did not plan to vote for Steele for party chair.
"There was huge support for him up here," he said. "And, obviously, he is now the leader of the party."
"He's cleaned house, he's starting over, and he'll bring some dynamic people in," Webster said.
Webster and others, however, did take exception to Steele's suggestion during an interview on Fox News that he would be open to withholding re-election campaign funds from the three GOP senators who voted for Obama's stimulus package. Those senators are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who is expected to face a tough challenge in 2010.
Bottom line, Steele should be about broadening the party any way he can — even embracing moderate Republicans who frequently line up with the party.
"If we lived under a parliamentary political system, an ideologically pure party that could get 30 percent of the vote would be a player," Ayers says. "But in the United States you need to get 50 percent plus 1 — and ideological parties lose."
"Michael Steele knows that," he said.
Michael Steele's back-and-forth flirtation with possible primary challenges to the party's pro-stimulus Republicans is now causing him to catch some real flak[...]
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), a pro-stimulus Republican who will be up for re-election in 2012, told Roll Call that she approached Steele about his comments and asked him bluntly: "You didn't really mean that, did you?" She said that Steele has agreed to set up a meeting with the three pro-stimulus GOPers to discuss this.