Katon Dawson is the chair of the South Carolina state party, and he’s among the contenders for the next chair of the Republican National Committee. There’s little to disagree with in his diagnosis of what ails the GOP — the party not keeping their word, abandoning fiscal responsibility, ignoring character flaws of candidates, providing handouts to big business, etc.
What will be a little tougher to sort out in the next 58 days is what, precisely, the next RNC chair can do to fix what ails the party. Dawson’s signature proposal, “Project 3141″, appears to be an even broader version of Howard Dean’s “Fifty State Strategy” — i.e., don’t concede any seat or race, even in supremely unfriendly territory. (In 2004, how many would have predicted Democrats would win Senate races in places like Montana, Alaska, North Carolina, and take Georgia to a runoff?) Even if Dawson isn’t elected the next national party chair, his proposal to ensure that Republicans field candidates in all 435 races is a good one; you never know when a Democratic candidate will suddenly be engulfed by scandal (Tim Mahoney) and a seat may fall in your lap, if you have a serious candidate.
Dawson does come to the table with a unique challenge, though. He was a member for 12 years at the all-white Forest Lake Country Club in Columbia, S.C., and quit his membership in September after a local newspaper raised the issue. Liberal blogs have noticed, and are likely to push the matter relentlessly if Dawson becomes one of the GOP’s most prominent faces. The full measure of a man requires more than his country club membership, but could the media resist harping on an RNC chair who once belonged to a club that wouldn’t admit the 44th President of the United States?