Eagle Honors RNC Chairman Michael Steele

Although the term “star-studded” is a bit overused to describe social events, it was certainly appropros for the congressional reception at Eagle Publishing’s office last night.

With recently-elected Republican National Chairman Michael Steele the guest of honor, more than thirty U.S. Representatives joined the Eagle team for a reception. Earlier in the day, Glen Downs, top aide to Rep. Walter Jones (R.-N.C.), told me “The congressman and I will be there unless [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi keeps us in tonight.” As it turned out, Jones, Downs, and the other lawmakers and their staffs had no need to worry: the Democrats had their own plans for the night that didn’t include Republicans.

Among those who were our guests were House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (VA.), former GOP Whip and current U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Blunt (Mo.), ranking Ways and Means Committee Republican Dave Camp (Mich.), and Rep. Joe Wilson (S.C.), a HUMAN EVENTS subscriber for forty years. Freshmen Republicans included Reps. Bill Posey (Fla.), Pete Olson (Tex.), Aaron Schock (Ill.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.), and John Fleming (LA.).

The Senate contingent of guests included Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (UT), David Vitter (LA.), John Thune (S.D.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), and John Cornyn (Tex.).

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was also a popular fixture at the event. The man who served two stints at the Pentagon, first under Gerald Ford and later under George W. Bush, was eagerly sought out by congressmen as well as Eagle staff and other guests. “Rummy” made time for all.

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder of Missouri, who is a guest at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) which begins today, dropped in, as did such local officials as Maryland State Sen. (and near-miss ’08 U.S. House hopeful) Andy Harris and Prince William County (VA) Supervisor John Stirrup. Three former U.S. House Members came, along with former Virginia governor and US Senator George Allen.

(For me, the problem in introducing all the lawmakers to the crowd was leaving
someone out. Sure enough, the one congressional guest I overlooked in the introductory remarks was Florida’s Posey, who had already carved a niche for himself in the Sunshine State legislature as a leader on government reform. Posey, who had also helped arrange an interview with his state’s Gov. Charlie Crist for HUMAN EVENTS, took it good- naturedly. Later, when I asked Posey about what the vote would be like in the House on President Obama’s new near-trillion dollar budget, he replied: “I would say it would be unanimously against it on the Republican side, just like on the stimulus package).

It fell to HUMAN EVENTS Editor Jed Babbin to introduce Steele, who hushed the audience with stories of his seamstress-mother “who wanted her son brought up by her and not the federal government.” Recalling the defeats Republicans suffered in ’06 and ’08, the new GOP chieftain said the GOP forgot its values “and got a whopping for it.” While voicing respect for President Obama, he also voiced sharp disagreements with the President’s spending policies and predicted GOP opposition would lead to the party’s resurgence.

We at Eagle were proud that so many members of congress and other dignitaries joined us to honor Steele. If ever the Republican Party needed the unity it showed last night, this is the time.