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 campaign headquarters of Pompeo, a Republican national committeeman, in the 500 block of North Woodlawn. Steele is campaigning for his party to retake Congress and unseat the House speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
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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 on the street near the Republicans' rally.
Among the counter-demonstrators 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 key issue in the campaign.
Goyle says he would use the power of the congressional office to try to foster public-private partnerships to spur employment growth. Pompeo has argued for limiting government involvement in business to create an atmosphere where private entrepreneurs can create jobs.
"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 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," Pompeo said.
Steele picked up that 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."
Democrat Terry McLachlan, a former state representative, said the issue is 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.
"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?"