Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele has struck his first media deal and will join popular African-American commentary Web site The Root, a division of The Washington Post Company, as a new contributing editor.
“At The Root I’ve found a place where I’ll be able to express my opinion,” Steele said in a statement. “In the past, my candor hasn’t been appreciated, but now I’m expected to say what I want without pulling any punches.”
Steele will focus on politics, policy and the 2012 presidential race in his monthly column, which will offer a new Black perspective, according to Joel Dreyfuss, managing editor of The Root.
“His experience as a former state executive and as former chairman of the Republican Party and his reputation for candid comments will be a welcome addition to our rich pool of talented voices,” Dreyfuss stated in a press release.
Steele served as RNC chair from 2009 until 2011, when he failed to win re-election. His time in the post was marked with a series of controversial comments and the release of a book he authored but did not clear with senior party members.
In his first column, Steele tackles federal spending and budget deficits and called on Republicans and Democrats to follow the approach advocated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) whose calls for limiting the application of tax dollars to the less productive members of the nation’s population. Critics say that the Ryan budget proposal shifts the burden of spending cuts to the poor and middle classes while re-instating tax cuts for the wealthy.
“Over two administrations, the political establishment in Washington has indicted itself in its handling of our nation’s business,” Steele said. “There has been no change, only more of the same, and it will take an audacious stroke like Ryan’s proposal to break the bait and switch of budget politics.”
Steele had been linked to potential contributing jobs at both Fox News and CNN, The New York Post reported, but neither has been confirmed.
During an interview Steele revealed to Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” why he was never allowed to appear on programs during his time as RNC chair, saying, “I’m a very straightforward shooter, and I like to tell people what I think. And I learned very quickly at this job that that’s not always welcomed at the national level.”
Steele told Politico that he is looking forward to making several more media-related announcements in the next few weeks.