The Kitchen Table Just a thought: Michael Steele's ascension in the GOP makes me wonder if we have entered a new era of political white flight. He is now the Chair of the Republican National Committee. While he is certainly no Alan Keyes, I wonder if the National GOP is using a strategy not unlike the one the Illinois GOP sought to use when they chose Keyes to run against Barack for Senate in 2004. Is this some sort of weird racial opting out? Recently I have insisted that black mayors offer an important lens for predicting the potential of and the constraints on an Obama administration. Like President Obama, African American mayors came to office thirty years ago buoyed by enthusiastic, multiracial coalitions and carrying heavy expectations that they would usher in redistributive policies. Most of these black mayors found themselves governing over hollow prizes: cities with reduced tax bases, concentrated poverty, and mobile capital. Operating with these constraints black mayors made little headway in changing the lives of the poor in their cities. One critical feature in these cities was white flight. When black mayors took over city hall, many white urban dwellers fled to the suburban ring. They voted with their feet and took their expertise, money, and power with them. When Obama won the presidency I wondered if white folks would opt out of electoral politics. I wondered if Obama had inherited America just as the nation became a hollow prize. For me, Michael Steele's ascension in the GOP may prove to be part of a larger process of white political fight. Two black men are now the heads of the two major political parties in the United States. Does this mean that white folks are done with politics? Have we reached the proverbial tipping point in the partisan neighborhood and the white folks are fleeing for the interest group and think tank suburbs that surround and control the political center city? Comments anyone?