It seems that Ken Blackwell has seen the writing on the wall and realized that he was never going to become the next chairman of the RNC and has decided to drop out and endorse Michael Steele:
Ken Blackwell, who won 15 votes in the last ballot, has become the second person to pull out of the RNC chairman contest. He endorsed Michael Steele:
“We are about to embark upon a journey together not uncommon to us in our 155 years of existence as a party. We are back on path to become the majority party again. … In elections there are two ways that you change outcomes. You either change the composition of the electorate or you change the attitude of the electorate. … I cannot change the composition of this electorate. Nor would I want to. I do want to influence your perspective and your attitude in this moment in history. We must be a party that makes good the promise of Lincoln. We must unleash a new birth of freedom.”
More: “Ladies and gentlemen, I withdraw my name, but I put my fullest support behind the candidate that I think will do three things. And I do it out of the fullness of conviction of my good book. I believe that the next chairman must inspire hope … And must have the leadership ability and vision to first pull us together and then to pull Americans together because we as Republicans understand that great nations don’t come from great governments but good people doing great things together.”
And this: “I put my fullest support behind Michael Steele.”
This is probably not going to make the Religious Right very happy, as Blackwell was their candidate of choice from the get-go … plus, Steele has been fighting off criticisms that he is insufficiently committed to the conservative agenda, so that fact that Blackwell threw his support to him only makes the loss that much more humiliating.
As Quin Hillyer of “The American Spectator” put it:
[T]he entire who’s who of the old conservative movement endorsed [Blackwell]: This means the RNC is saying, no shouting, F*** YOU to the movement. But it also means the movement folks have done an absolutely terrible job of organizing on the ground, if they control so few of the state party officials. I watch these things closely, but I had no idea the movement had dissipated so badly….