Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele made a stop in Wichita on his “Fire Nancy Pelosi” bus tour Monday, exhorting about 200 enthusiastic Republicans to work to elect Mike Pompeo in the 4th Congressional District.
“This is your moment, this organic movement that we’ve witnessed coming from the people over the past year,” Steele said. “It’s not manufactured in some board room or in some Fifth Avenue marketing firm. It comes from moms and dads, grandmas and grandads who are fed up, who have had enough.
“They’re done. They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired and they’re looking for quality leadership … that’s going to charge ahead with the people.”
Steele made about a 15-minute speech outside the Woodlawn Avenue campaign headquarters of Pompeo, a Republican national committeeman. Steele is on a national bus tour campaigning for his party to retake Congress from Democratic control and unseat the House Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The message dovetails closely with Pompeo’s campaign; he almost never makes a speech or issues a public statement without some reference opposing the “Obama-Pelosi agenda.”
About 20 supporters of Pompeo’s opponent, Rep. Raj Goyle, D-Wichita, waved signs at passing motorists on the street near the Republicans’ rally.
Among the counterdemonstrators was Martin Eddy, president of the Machinists Union local that represents recession- and layoff-battered Cessna Aircraft workers.
“They (Republicans) want to nationalize this election and make it about (President) Obama and Pelosi,” Eddy said. “They continue to try to present Raj Goyle as being controlled by those two. But I don’t think either of them is on the ticket. Raj is his own guy.”
Job creation has emerged as the forefront issue in the campaign.
Goyle says he would use the power of congressional office to try to foster public-private partnerships to spur employment growth, while Pompeo has argued for limiting government involvement in business to create an atmosphere where private entrepreneurs can create jobs.
“I think Kansans here in the 4th District recognize that if we can get the federal government to get out of our way and we can get it to create an environment where Kansans, hardworking Kansans, can go and grow the next great business,” Pompeo said. “And we can stop the regulation and stop the taxes and stop the enormous spending that’s happened in Washington D.C., then we’ll get those jobs back. It’ll happen.”
In his speech, Steele picked up the theme.
“Now let me ask you something, as a business owner, when you got up this morning and you looked at your balance sheets and you looked at your employees who were coming to work, did you say to yourself ‘You know what, this profit thing is way overrated?’” Steele said. “The government thinks it is. They put a price tag on your profit. It’s called taxes and regulation.
“Individuals, men and women, when you got up this morning, got dressed, start your day, did you look in the mirror and say, you know, all I want to be is dependent?” Steele continued. “No. It’s not in your nature. You want to be free, you want to be freed up, you want to be able to go out there and access the opportunities that you get to create. That’s what this is about.”
Democrat Terry McLachlan, a former state representative, said the issue is not dependency, but maintaining society.
“I like my Social Security and Medicare and I want to keep good schools for our kids,” said McLachlan, who was among the sidewalk demonstrators. “They want to privatize Social Security, which is another attempt by them to get more of my money. They already took my 401k and (wife) Linda’s in the stock market.”
The Goyle campaign issued a statement criticizing Steele and his message.
“In the wake of the continued lay-offs in south central Kansas, bringing in the Republican Party ‘Boss,’ an RNC Chairman who is in favor of outsourcing, hardly sends the message of a local, pro-job creation vision,” said the statement. “In fact, it does just the opposite; hob-nobbing with Michael Steele during a ‘Fire Nancy Pelosi National Bus Tour’ … only proves that Mike Pompeo is more interested in playing the blame game and aligning with professional politicians.”
Steele ridiculed Goyle for trying to position himself as a fiscal conservative against Pompeo.
“I’ve heard a lot of smack go down about your opponent,” Steele told the Republicans. “I mean the brother might as well just come on and saddle up and become a conservative Republican the way he sounds.
“It’s easy to play a conservative here at home. It’s how you vote when you get to D.C. … So we want to ask Raj one question: When you get to Washington, Raj, and you get to cast that first vote for speaker of the House, who you gonna vote for?”