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. linell, Winter Park, FL,

    The party of Terry Schiavo, Harriett Myers, Katrina, and Sarah Palin must have a death wish. Clearly they are clueless...does anyone have a life preserver to throw to the Republican party? On second thought, does anyone really want to?

    January 31, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. ant

    Did he say to the House Republicans "The goof face that you left on the president's desk was beautiful" ?? I listened but now the youtube vid has been taken down. Seems like childish same ol' same ol' to me.

    January 31, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. steveneclem

    One would have hoped that the GOP would have taken a cue from the American People, who made it very clear in November that we are tired of divisiveness. Men and women, black and white, gay and straight, Democrats and Republicans voted for President Obama, and gave the Democratic Party an even larger majority. So the logical thing for the GOP to do would be to say "it appears that we have misjudged the will of the people. It appears that our values are not in line with their values. Let's see what we can do to listen to what our constituents are saying and better represent the people of our district." But are they doing that? Of course not. They are convinced, as always, that anyone who voted against them is simply stupid, and are barreling further down the path to political obscurity.

    January 31, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Cindy

    Would stand first and foremost with the American people? Really? Shouldn't he have said would stand first and foremost with Rush Limbaugh?

    January 31, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Mikecoatl

    I actually agree: bipartisanship is very overrated. Especially when it comes to dealing with the fascist pigs that have come to dominate the GOP. And it's funny that Steele is "in the business of winning elections" when he mostly LOSES elections.

    January 31, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. rjd

    So working collaboratively for the greater good of the American people is "overrated", huh? When will the RNC get past digging in their collective heels unless they get everything their way? The people of the United States spoke loud and clear during this election that they want a break with the policies that got us into this mess in the first place. But will the RNC listen, NO! They say they want to reform their party but they continue down the same worn out rut as always...tax breaks for the rich, trickle down, no government oversight, blah, blah, blah. Personally I'm sick of it. Just because the GOP puts a person of color as their chair doesn't necessarily make them new.

    January 31, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. chris (hartford, ct)

    This move is about as cynical and transparent as the Palin VP pick.

    January 31, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. keith pollard

    I applaud the election of Michael Steele as chairman of the replican party, however I too am a born black conservitive from Washington, D.C.,and yet your exclusive comments coming so early proves, that you Mr. Steele still don't get it.

    January 31, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Sensible Joe

    Steele's words are ironic. The GOP will stand first and foremost with the American people? For the past eight years, at the very least, it's worked against the great majority of Americans to benefit a very few. Steele may think bipartisanship is overrated, but the American people now know that one-party rule, after the first six years of the Bush administration, is nothing short of a stranglehold on a constitutional, democratic republic like ours.

    January 31, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. john w

    never heard of a dumbocrat being bi-partisan unless that person got permission from nancy (the queen of partisanship) to switch their vote.

    January 31, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Sal

    to bad he's just a token
    if he had been picked a few years ago
    then i would agree on his nomination
    but i don't think anyone is blind to this
    the Steele nomination really is quite amusing

    January 31, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Bry

    I agree, I'm a democrat but I guess blue dog one as I stand with the 11 democrats and all the reps that voted against this wasteful stimulus package. If they really want to stimulate the economy just give each family the money, I hear about $500 tax cut well that just doesn't cut it!

    January 31, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. temperance05

    What a JOKE Mr. Steele is. Does he not know that he's the Republican Party's token? I live in Maryland and have always found him to be lacking, he is a snob and is completely out of touch. Watching him there with his misguided pride was funny. There he is talking about being proud by a very slim win and also touting how much he spent to win(hint-hint) Mr. Steele, I hope you were not meant to be a challenge for President Obama because you will lose and so will the Republicans, so I hope since you are in charge of the Party hopefully you will express to them how important it is to work with the public and the people who voted for you. Tic for Tac is not good politics.

    January 31, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. aaronsgram

    Ya think he's paid his taxes?

    January 31, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Oh yeah, let's just keep on being devisive and following in the lock-step party line. God forbid we should try to work TOGETHER for the good of the ENTIRE country. Sorry, Mr. Steele, but you just went down several notches in my estimation.

    January 31, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Diana Ewing NJ

    "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."

    What I want to know is when you were very little and went to sleep at night, did this same mother give all your belongings away... as your party gave away our jobs to overseas companies?? Did she take from you and give to her wealthy boss??? as your party wants us to do..?

    January 31, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. PaulE

    Whatever, Mr. Steele. The GOP has proven, time and time again, that it cannot govern this country. Americans are tired of politics as usual – you would think you would grasp that after this last election. So, keep on doing the same old thing and you'll be lucky if a Republican can get elected dogcatcher.

    January 31, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Sandra Day

    This guy is a jerk. Great, another Republican who wants to divide and conquer. Next think you know, he and Rush will be bunking together.

    January 31, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Hina Pendle

    How sad. It demonstrates how skin deep color is.

    I see the two major archetypes playing out. The male and female. The feminine dems want a relationship, want to process and find what can work for everyones needs. And the "macho" repubs just want to dominate, win, fight rather than dialog or relate, cry victim when they are being the perpetrator. They're like egotistical teen-age boys chasing fast cars, sex, booze and image.

    We're on the path of human evolution. They'll get there eventually.

    January 31, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. Curtis

    What a num skull. The american people spoke Nov 4. Are you in such a stronghold that you couldn't see the results.

    January 31, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Mario from Belgium

    Did someone inform him that electionseason is over??

    January 31, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Eddie

    Palin is to Hillary, as Steele is to Obama...

    January 31, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Tony in Maine

    Maybe it's time to tip over streetcars, rip up cobblestones and throw them at Republicans I'm getting really tired of the obstructionist rhetoric of the radical right.

    January 31, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Greg Hodges

    MR. STEELE; the American people sent a message LOUD and CLEAR on Nov.4/2008 that you and many Republicans still have not heard,your policies are D.O.A.; and if you are not interested in a new and BIPARTISAN point of view the G.O.P. will be D.O.A. for many years to come. WAKE UP!!!

    January 31, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Pat Canada

    IMHO I don't forsee the new Chairman Michael Steele winning an election or much support using Bush arrogance and fawning the flames of Battle in an effort to draw cheers. His statement on redistrubtion of the people's wealth strikes a shivering chord given it was the Republicans $350 donation to Banks and Corps with no request for accountability that flaunted bonuses of millions and endeavoured to buy a Jet! Then he call deliver whatever fable he chooses it doesn't make it true!

    January 31, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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