January 31st, 2009
03:12 PM ET
8 months ago

Bipartisanship is overrated, says new RNC chair

Michael Steele, the RNC's first African-American chairman, spoke to Republican House members Saturday.
Michael Steele, the RNC's first African-American chairman, spoke to Republican House members Saturday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The new chairman of the Republican National Committee praised House Republicans Saturday for their universal opposition to President Obama's stimulus bill and used his family's own life experiences to justify voting against it.

Click here to listen to Steele remarks Saturday.

"I know we're living in the era of bipartisanship," Steele joked to the House GOP congressmen who gathered this weekend to discuss policy and politics. "I thought it was very important to send a signal, and you sent it loudly, very clearly, that this party, the leadership of this caucus, would stand first and foremost with the American people. You made it very clear that in order to grow through this recession that you not redistribute the wealth of the people of this nation."

The former Maryland lieutenant governor specifically spoke about his mother as he slammed the Obama plan.

"My mom was a sharecropper's daughter with a fifth-grade education," Steele said. "And my mother knew how to balance the budget without taking money out of my pocket."

Steele drew cheers from the crowd when he pledged the GOP would re-take the majority in Congress, beginning with the fight over New York's 20th congressional district - recently vacated by the state's newly-named senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. She defeated GOP Rep. John Sweeney in 2006.

"I'm in the business of winning elections," said Steele. But he also noted that he was unsuccessful in his 2006 bid for the Senate.

"As a black Roman Catholic conservative from Washington, D.C., and Maryland, I also know how to lose elections," he said.


Filed under: Michael Steele • RNC
soundoff (361 Responses)
  1. voltage

    Somebody please wake me up, Steele said and i'm quoting here from him "You made it very clear that in order to grow through this recession that you not redistribute the wealth of the people of this nation."Then what does he call the bailouts of banks and investment companies who have turned around and splurged taxpayers money, and cannot account for where the money went to but for their own selfish gains. Better yet wake me up after the Revolution!

    January 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. G-reg

    As long as the GOP is going to intently do things their way and their way only, we won't have to worry about them having a majority in either side of Congress or be in the White House again for a while.

    Just as long as the top 3% get their tax breaks, certainly this recession will end.

    What a joke!

    January 31, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. Delisa Kyerefo

    That has always been the american way since back to slavery days. To put black peple of up battle one another while the white man sits back and laugh because they don't want to be the blame for the destructive direction the RNC is going. Yeah....make the black man the fall guy. He's already doing a pretty good job of putting his foot right in his mouth.

    January 31, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. Mike, TX

    Wow, I already don't like this new guy. By voting against the president's proposal, but refusing to provide an alternative, the House Republicans did not "stand first and foremost with the American people," they engaged in political posturing. Simply saying, "Tax Cuts!!!" is not sufficient. How will the tax cuts be structured? What is the cost of the tax cuts? What sort of analysis leads you to believe your plan is better than the president's? Those questions needed to be answered, but weren't. Refusing to do anything other than criticizing your opponents will not get you or your party far, Mr. Steele, and it certainly won't help solve our country's problems.

    January 31, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. Sophia Beck

    Bipartisanship is over rated?!!!! How scary is this. Is war over rated Mr. Steele, Is communication with other countries overrated? Most of the world can not stand our self-center-egocentric politics-Protecting the country over-rated Mr. Steele? It is certainly a good thing you are not running the country-

    Jacque Bauer, prior to 9-11 the Republicans were so focused on Clintons sex life that we were left vulnerable and no one was paying attention to what the important crisis that was ahead. So I wouldn't be condeming or talking about mean spirit from dems. We were not the ones holding the cards and not taking heed of the warning of 9-11, -I put 9-11 on the soldiers of the GOP-if they had been more concerned about health care, economic problems, deregulation and the terrorist warnings, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now!

    that is fact-look at the archives and see what repbulicans were doing at this time-

    January 31, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. diogenes

    I can see that the daily kos folks are out today! Bipartisanship. The repubs were not even allowed to have any input into the bill. I guess the demoKrats believe in the Chevez style of rule or the old soviet form of democratic centralism. I for one am glad that the repubs opposed this pork bill attempting to rob the future of our "children and grand children" who will pick up this bill. Remember demoKrats its for the children.

    January 31, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. craig

    I am ashamed to say that I live in Maryland and that this fool was once my Lt Govenor.

    January 31, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  8. erykah

    Steele is sarah palin in pants. Good job rethugs. Good job. The only reason he was picked was because he is black and the rethugs want to make people think they are not racist or xenophobic. Pitiful.

    January 31, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. Henry

    Wow, so we should not work together. Keep talking Mr. Steele. As the Repuglicans see President Obama as the house nego so they will you.

    January 31, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. NC

    You liberals are so hateful. You can't stand it when a great American wants to serve our country. You beat up Governor Palin, and now former Governor Steele. Its going to be hard to get things done, because liberals are just one way, their way. Both sides need to think of the American People.

    January 31, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. Joél

    How about that? The GOP just keeps gettin better and better at developing political strategy.. Don't you think its a good idea to redevelope the GOP base? Running with the dare I say limbaugh mentality isn't going to help them reach a majority... Who knows maybe a different party will come to rise, obviously the republican party doesn't do well with change...

    January 31, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. Elizabeth

    I won the bet! Hooray! and I didn't have to wait a whole week

    January 31, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Joél

    How about that? The GOP just keeps gettin better and better at developing political strategy.. Don't you think its a good idea to redevelope the GOP base? Running with the dare I say limbaugh mentality isn't going to help them reach a majority... Who knows maybe a different party will come to rise, obviously the republican party doesn't do well with change....

    January 31, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. D.Tin

    This man has always been viewed by african americans as a "Tom", you know your uncle??. If the republicans think that they can put him on par with our President, then they made a big mistake. He is no Obama. Our President is intelligent and an individual who uses common sense. Mr. Steele is no more than a republican lackey. Mr Steel you need to listen to America, we chose President Obama!!! and we are with him all the way....The majority of americans are bipartisan we see things from all sides, it is not overrated

    January 31, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. A proud Catholic

    Now what being a Roman Catholic conservative from MD and DC have to do with anything. What miserable policies Mr. Steele and his party stand for is quite frankly not consistent with the Roman Catholic Church. Become one of them lousy hate mongering Evangelicals who don't like gay people, women's rights, immigrants, and minority citizens.

    Yuk

    January 31, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Cindy

    Jacque Bauer..what world do you live in?! No one is more hateful and bitter than the Republican party. They are a party of exclusion..all for themselves. I say to the Dems..."forget the Republicans" and lets show them how to run a country since for 8 years they had no clue!!!!

    January 31, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. Lisa, MD

    What an Idiot I'm sorry to say I'm African American female and I hope t he doesn't think he is going to get brownie points b/c it won't be by me. !!!!!! A complete IDIOT to say those sarcastic remarks !!!!!!

    January 31, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  18. sue

    That was smart of the republicans...getting a black man to fight there fight with Obama.
    Knowing them, they'll toss him to the curb when their done!

    January 31, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  19. Seth M

    Wrong Choice!! It appears he was chosen because he's black to counter Obama? Unbelievable!! The Republican Party is on the verge of extinction with these kinds of leaders. They need smarter, thoughtful, respectful and enterprising leaders. This guy is like Sarah Palin. I feel very sorry for the Republican Party.

    January 31, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. John

    Mr. Steele, I implore you to give up the bickering and take a good long look at the results of our recent election on 11/4/08. The American people, myself included, do not stand with you, we do not stand with Republicans, and we do not stand with your outdated and out-of-touch ideals. As a former Republican myself, I grew weary of "fiscally conservative Republicans" like George Bush running up our national debt to somewhere in the $9 trillion dollar ballpark. If that's being fiscally conservative, our country will be well-served in not having Republicans in power for a long, long time, perhaps after a few decades of Democrats being able to dig us out of this hole you and other like-minded "fiscally conservative Republicans" have placed us into. The happiest political day for me in a very long time, years and years, was 1/20/09, and I attribute that in large part to the RNC.

    January 31, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. The cheerleader of divide

    What is this blithering nonsense coming from the GOP and the Left while we're at it? Way to alienate yourself with comments such as this, you simply are saying that YOU WILL NOT WORK for the good of anyone unless they are a constituent.

    And no offense, look at the paltry attempt to show diversity by naming this muck-racker to their chair.

    Partisan banter is all fine and good, but when there are serious, and I mean serious issues affecting every major civil and private institution in this country, and in most of the world, we should probably stop this b.s. and try to come to some consensus.

    January 31, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. Tony

    Spoken like a typical, ignorant republican! YAWN!

    January 31, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. jeremy

    He feels the need to remind us of his skin color because that is the reason that the GOP chose him to begin with. They couldn't afford to be the party of the "Angry White Male" with an African American in the White House.

    And if he thinks bi-partisanship is overrated then the GOP will be only further marginalized in America.

    January 31, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  24. nick

    Mr. Steele states, " bipartisanship is over rated" "that he stands with the american people" I wonder what people he is talking about, since 68 million of us just spoke loud and clear about politicans "working together for a better tomorrow."
    I guess the New Chairman of RNC is just another Limbaugh stooge.

    January 31, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  25. JACKED-UP-POLITICS, FLORIDA

    Simmy, thank you for reminding Mr. Steele where he really stands. GREAT point!!!

    January 31, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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