Palin and Steele Team Up

Anaheim, Calif.—Although the Republican National Committee’s get-out-the-vote rally here Saturday featuring Sarah Palin was widely reported, one little-known fact about it was that it was a product of the good working relationship the former Alaska governor has with RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

“The chairman and Gov. Palin talk all the time—mainly by email, but they also spoken by phone,” Steele spokesman Doug Heye told HUMAN EVENTS at the Anaheim Marriott, as Steele was introducing Palin before an overflow (and wildly enthusiastic) crowd of more than 1,500.

Heye emphasized that Steele and Palin have a “great working relationship.”

While some Palin admirers have suggested that their heroine run for RNC chairman when Steele’s term is up in January, sources close to Steele say there is no chance of this. Should Steele seek another two-year term and be challenged, the same sources expect Palin would weigh in on his behalf.

The rally was planned and organized by the RNC, with California’s Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel (“my crazy cousin,” as Michael Steele dubbed the Californian, who is in no way related) playing a key role in the event. The rally was an effort to turn up enthusiasm among right-of-center voters in historically Republican Orange County.

Along with Palin, the rally featured such conservative favorites as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif), who performed a tune he had written on his guitar, and on-line investigative journalist Andrew Breitbart—”a one-man army for the conservative cause,” as State GOP Chairman Ron Nehring introduced him to wild cheers from the audience.

Another obvious purpose of the RNC rally was to underscore the national and local party’s commitment to State Assemblyman Van Tran’s challenge to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D.-Calif.) in the Orange County-based 47th District. Tran, whose candidacy is widely considered the GOP’s best chance at unseating a Democratic House member in the Golden State, was a featured speaker from the stage.

Earlier in the day, Orange County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh told HUMAN EVENTS that his organization had registered more than 4,000 of Tran’s fellow Vietnamese-Americans within the 47th District. The night before the Republican rally, Democrats brought in their most-in-demand campaigner, Bill Clinton, to stump for Sanchez.

Conspicuous by their absence from the Palin rally were the GOP’s respective nominees for governor and U.S. senator, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. Could this be (as several participants at the Western Conservative Political Action Conference in nearby Newport Beach suggested) because both were nervous about being closely identified with conservatives three weeks before the voting?

“It was a schedule conflict—that’s all,” said the RNC’s Heye. “[Fiorina] was campaigning with John McCain in San Diego and Meg Whitman was on her bus tour. So both were in different parts of the state.”

Cartoon courtesy of Brett Noel