Professor Jason Johnson appeared on CNN to discuss the election of Reince Priebus as the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, and reflected on the conclusion of the tenure of RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
Click here for a full transcript of Jason Johnson on CNN.
JASON JOHNSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, Michael Steele has this really interesting relationship with the RNC, like all he’s done is win. I mean, since he came into office, they have won governor’s mansions, they did well in the 2010 midterms, but there have always been people who were unhappy with them, so rather than go through the embarrassment of being kicked out, he decided to take himself out of the race and leave whatever problems the RNC has to the new guy.
WHITFIELD: Should I be surprised, though, because doesn’t he seem quite steely, so to speak. Now, you know, he is like Teflon, he has been taking it whether it’s criticism or whether it’s accolades for a long time, now, and that he would acquiesce and step down, that doesn’t seem like his character, or the character of the man that we’ve gotten to know over the past few years.
JOHNSON: It’s not that surprising. You know, Michael Steele has always been surprising people and that’s why the RNC was so unhappy with him. You saw right after the midterm elections his first interview, he said, look, you know, this wasn’t really a victory for us, this was the public being angry. There’s no more honest man in America than the man who knows he’s losing his job. So Michael Steele recognized this a long time ago, and backed out. I think, but he does have a future, maybe not in the Republican Party, but certainly in Washington.
WHITFIELD: And what do we know about Priebus?
JOHNSON: What we know about Priebus is he’s got the two things that the RNC really wants, right now. He is an insider, he’s been part of the 168 committee and he turned a blue state red. And that’s what the Republicans are going to need to win in 2012, I mean, he got rid of Russ Feingold and that’s the kind of thing Republicans hope will project whatever their candidates are in 2012 into the White House.
WHITFIELD: And so, I wonder if we can look ahead, even to the week, because now we hear the Republicans are saying we’re ready to get back to business and Congress. Boehner, who had been leading the effort to say let’s vote for this repeal of health care, but because of the Tucson tragedy, put that on the back burner. But, now many Republicans are saying next week it’s time to get back to business.
JOHNSON: Priebus will be much more low profile when this is going on in Washington, D.C. The Republicans have $20 million in debt. He’s not even doing interviews. He’s answering the phone right now trying to get to more money. So, I think Republicans are going to move forward with their agenda, they’re going to try and reform and get rid of health care reform and push to improve jobs in this country, but Priebus has to get the finances great or they’re not going to be good for next year.
WHITFIELD: He’s talking about retiring of the $20 million debt.
WHITFIELD: Interesting terminology.
JOHNSON: Yeah, you know, that’s the term that you use when you don’t know how to pay it and they’ve got bills due in February.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jason Johnson, good to see you. Hopefully we’ll see you more on the weekends, joining us, right?
JOHNSON: Most definitely.
WHITFIELD: All right, good to see you, thanks so much.