January 31st, 2009
03:12 PM ET
6 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. Mizzy

    Uncle Tom...I mean, Mr. Steele, please!

    If you don't get the fact that you are being used as the RNC's token high-profile Black representative, then you aren't smarter than a 5th grader!
    Your election would actually be more funny, if it were not so pathetic!!
    Good luck trying to make the GOP seem like a party anyone would actually support.
    Oh yeah, even those Republicans saw the light and voted for Obama & Biden on Nov. 4th.
    Hilarious...

    January 31, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. Ryan

    Important message to Mr Steele .

    Mr Steele ...... because your position is highly overrated , I wish you good luck and good night .

    January 31, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. xman23

    To Jacque Bauer, you are suffering from so many delusions at the same time I don't know how you can tell your toothbrush from the toilet plunger. I will fight for your right to disagree with me, but try to keep it real. The most hateful, mean-spirited and devisive thing to ever happen to this country was the last administration, and they had 99% of the main stream media firmly in thier corner.

    The idea of a black republican is like a Jewish person wanting to join the nazi party. Don't they even know they are reviled by thier own party. A party which has continuously endevered to keep blacks poor and un-educated, all the better to lock them up and throw away the key. The only reason they chose this guy is so they can hold up thier "token" and say "see, we include everybody". If you believe that, there's a big orange bridge accross the bay I'd like to sell ya.

    January 31, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. Jonathan

    That's right your mother didn't take the money out of your pocket. She took it out of hers. Which is essentially what taxing the wealthy tax brackets does. See, what too few people have failed to realize for the last 8 years is that we're not the children here. We're the adults. We're making the sacrifices, paying the extra taxes so our kids don't have to. That's the whole point.

    January 31, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. robfrombuffalo

    Michael Steele will be a great leader of the GOP. He was a strong Lt. Governor of Maryland and should've been elected Senator.

    The Democrats, and President Obama, can't spend us out of this problem by adding pork projects like contraception and lawn sodding to the stimulus plan. It's a joke. Their just funneling money to their special interests. Now they're sucking up to the labor unions which will only make the US less competitive... No one will be able to afford overly-costly, US goods if the unions get their way. The unions will shut the companies down in a New York minute (if not faster)!

    Checks and balances are important. This helps to ensure that they'll be a few more, but hardly enough.

    January 31, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. Karen in MD

    Michael Steele and his partner in crime, former Maryland Governor, Robert Ehrlich was the worst thing that happened to the State. One of their pet projects was to deregulate public utilities. Their reason was to "promote competition" to lower prices. Since then, my electric bill has quadrupled.

    Anytime you hear "deregulate" start hearing the sound of a cash register – with money flying out of your pocket and into some fat cats bank account.

    If his attitude is that bipartisanship is overrated, then I can see the GOP losing even more seats. They don't seem to get that the majority of people are fed up with the constant carping, name calling and just sitting around feeding their own egos doing nothing. I have to agree with Andrew – what are these people on.

    January 31, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Same divisive language, unfortunately. But then, he's talking to the Republicans and not to the American people, so I am not his audience, because from where I sit, Republicans aren't willing to pitch in and help. They want to sit on the sidelines, hoping Democrats fail, and say ... 'we told you so' .

    January 31, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  8. Glen from CA

    He's a conservative's underqualified doppelganger sent to counter the Democratic leadership. Just as Sarah Palin was a hot but inexperienced response to Hillary Clinton and Clarence Thomas was an "only ideologically suitable black guy in the field" response to Thurgood Marshall, so does Steel come to the RNC as a wanting version of President Obama. Let's see Rush Limbaugh shout "RACIAL" in response to this decision. But of course he won't.

    January 31, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  9. Thomas Paine

    Go get 'em Mr. Steele!

    Cooperation is highly over-rated, especially when your opponents are functionally equivalent to a 9 year old boy with a handgun or a 12 year old girl with Visa card.

    Why should the Republicans cooperate with a party which is trying to put out a forest fire by smothering it with freshly printed dollar bills? What Obama and the Democrats are trying to do didn't work when FDR tried it, it didn't work when Carter tried it, and it hasn't worked over the last 15 years for Japan. It's economic ignorance.

    January 31, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  10. dexx

    he is there newest sarah palin.

    hillary? gop says sarah

    obama? gop says this fool.

    as if women and black folk are interchangeable. they are SO pathetic.

    January 31, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  11. LJinLACA

    Insert Three Stooges theme song here...
    I expect the percentages of minorities in the GOP to go down for thinking this hoodwink will work.

    Amazing how devout republicans worry about spending now, but not when they mind the store and barrels of cash are being hustled out at a trernendous rate...
    6 trillion gone under Bush...
    11 trillion debt handed to Obama. Where is your conservative anger?
    10 years of Clinton's budget or sound improvements would have made us debt free by 2010. It will now take a good 20 years once we stop sliding to possibly get there.
    No more republicans in office in relevant numbers please.

    February 1, 2009 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
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