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. The cheerleader of divide

    Oh you French propaganda star, Jacque. Your argument might be relevant if you didn't use the word strategery. You're right the word is b.s., but it is a humanistic expression meant to say, "let's get along enough for a moment to fake to the public that we are ACTUALLY doing something for the people. Either way we slice it, we're in for it.

    January 31, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Mars

    Ick. First of all, the GOP needs to stop playing this game. "Oh, Hillary was so popular, so we're going to put a woman up for vice prez," and, "wow, people must love Obama because he's black – let's get a black guy to do our bidding!"

    It was so transparent the first time around. This just makes it sickening.

    And, bipartisanship is the way to balance. Hello? The GOP is the minority right now. They should be thankful that Obama is giving them even a slight chance at having a voice.

    Also? To say that redistributing the wealth isn't fair... well, you know, all those rich folks that got all those lovely tax cuts with lovely Mr. Bush... you know, they could do their part a little more and maybe stop crying about it for the time being. I'm not happy when I have to pay higher taxes either (especially when I already live from paycheck to paycheck and face debt from school, something I'm sure they know very little about), but right now, the country needs some help.i

    I just wish they'd stop funneling money to those corporate dimwits who are pocketing it while they lay off the working man...

    January 31, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Vignesh

    Umm this title of this is just inflammatory. If you read the articile you'll notice it has nothing to do with the title. (Cnn probably won't post this comment though).

    January 31, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. RJII

    Pelosi and Reid gave Bush everything he asked for in the end of his presidency, including $700 billion.
    Now the Rushlicans are starting off divisive, against Pres. Obama, eventhough Obama has tried hard to reach out to them.
    Rushlicans are the same mean spirited, big business, wealth protectors of the elite 10%. They didn't learn a thing. Notta.
    I can't wait for 2010. At this rate, Steele will put the final nail in the GOP coffin.

    January 31, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. janet, ohio

    I like him already!!!!!!!!!

    January 31, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Thomas Mc

    The only people the GOP stands for is the FILTHY RICH!

    January 31, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. CBell

    I am not impressed with this guy. Way in over his head

    January 31, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  8. CHANGE.COM

    Mr. Steel. Congrats, but I hope you were drunk when you made the statement against bipartisanship. Either way, it shows the delusional side of you. Can't you see that the Republicans chose you so they can lay a claim of also having an African American in charge? But again, when you are drunken with power, and you can't decifer good from bad. Good luck, sir.

    January 31, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. David Welsh (Agoura Hills, CA.)

    The country has been put in terrible jeopardy by the actions of the former administration and as a result we decided by a large majority we wanted "Change." The Republicans are wishing for our new president to fail. That means they want the country to fail, We cannot allow it. We must fight for our survival as a united country.

    January 31, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. David S. Robins

    Yep, the new RNC Chairman makes it clear that his party will continue to stand foursquare with the rich and super rich who brought on the current global economic crisis. Shades of Herbert Hoover!

    January 31, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. Matt

    Bipartisanship overrated huh? Ok then, get left behind. We do not care. Despite appointing a black man to lead your party, you are still the party of old, rich white guys and always will be.

    January 31, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  12. susan k

    Surely, Mr. Steele is our 21 century Uncle Tom , give him a oreo cookie
    and let him say what he want to say ? We all know that he was put there
    because Obama has won the election . Let face it the RNC is the party
    of grumpy old white men who think that they own this country. They preach racial hatred, If the Republican want to win the White House
    they have to appeal to all races. Obama has change the way American
    votes .

    January 31, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. Phil

    Nice... Get ready to be a super minority in congress.

    January 31, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  14. Uchenna Odi

    Steele wouldn't have won the RNC seat if Obama lost. Steele needs to remember that the RNC is using him only as a token leader to combat the popularity of Obama. Be careful Steele the Alan Keyes syndrome is can be political suicide.

    January 31, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  15. Larry

    In less than two years,all of us( but a vary few ,far left radical democrats will not), will be supporting the Republican party again.As Obama and the Democrats in congress, try to take us down the socialism lane and destroy capitalism and our democracy,even the media will jump ship.Now the Republicans have shown "CHANGE" you really will be able to believe in,it will be an easy transition back to common since,and the America we all love and have fought for all these years.Things are going to get much worse than it had too,because the people in charge are shouldn't be.

    January 31, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. and the GOP doesnt disappoint

    so, it they had 60 votes would bipartisanship be overrated?

    the new chairman, a 'me too' nomination, is nothing it not entertaining

    January 31, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. RONNEBRASKA

    If any Republican adheres to Reagans' famous quote, " government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem" then why would you elect any of them to government when they have a vested interest to prove government cannot work to solve problems?

    January 31, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Steele is an idiot and a puppet and doesn't see this position will be his demise.

    January 31, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Jen, Philadelphia

    To Lisa in AZ: to disagree and pledge to not be the President's rubber stamp is "disrespectful"? So, I must have just misunderstood Sen, Reid and Rep. Pelosi for the last 8 years. They were being "respectful" when they call President Bush the worst president ever. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    January 31, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Doc

    Obviously this man is a pawn, I don't understand why, the GOP, thinks that Americans can't see the strategy being used. It's would be funny if it was not so sad. Ask, Watts and Keyes, if they will admit it .

    January 31, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. Mr. Semaj

    What an idiot. They should focus less on how to keep blaming everything on the Democrats and more on how to be a less stupid organization.

    January 31, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  22. CINDY

    WHAT SHE SAID:
    Now that the Dems have won, they insist on having bipartisanship? During the last 8 years the Dems waged the most hateful, mean-spirited and divisive campaign the country has ever seen against President Bush, with an accommodating and enthusiastic media. Pelosi and Reid are the most partisan hacks we've ever had to endure. The constitution was written to support spirited partisan debate (which does NOT imply uncivil!), with voting rules to settle the score. So forget the meaningless 'bipartisanship'; it's only a Dem strategery for making the Repubs bend over backwards to join the lib side.

    January 31, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. Rob

    To Jacque Bauer,
    I believe you've got it backwards, No, I'm sorry, I know you have it backwards, it was Bush and Co. who "waged the most hateful, mean-spirited and divisive campaign the country has ever seen". You and Rush need to get off the meds bud!!

    Regarding Mr. Steele, As I've said time and again for decades now, Why any African-American would vote for (or run as) a Republican is beyond me. To me a good anology of this is the situation where hostages begin to actually side with their captors.
    The G.O.P. does not really care about minorities and never will.

    Lastly, to those who complain about CNN being "fair and balanced", I believe that they are, and that the blog comments being posted accurately represent the amount of opinions being submitted from all sides of the issues. CNN Rocks!

    January 31, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. Move On!

    "GOD OLE BOYS were drinking Whiskey and Rye singing this will be the day the republican party dies! You just shot yourself in the foot picking this idiot Good Ole Boys!

    January 31, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. O......K

    Gosh, I'll bet that's just what the president wants to hear.

    "You're doing great, guys! DON'T work with the president! DON'T help him find solutions to our crisis! RESIST! FIGHT! OBSTRUCT!"

    Yeah, that's going to solve our problems soooooooooo much faster.

    Geez.

    January 31, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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