The election last week of Michael Steele to be chairman of the Republican National Committee drew considerable notice, not surprisingly: he is the first African-American to hold that position in the party's 155-year history.
Yet there are other ways that the selection of Mr. Steele, a former lieutenant governor from Maryland who lost a bid for the Senate in 2006, represents a break from the Republican past. And those could prove to be more significant than race, as the Republicans debate in the weeks ahead how much "opposition" they should put in the phrase "loyal opposition." They face a president who is extraordinarily popular and a nation that appears weary of partisan politics as it confronts an economic crisis.
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