February 1st, 2009
04:20 PM ET
6 years ago

New RNC chief weighs in on future of the GOP

Michael Steele was chosen Friday as the first African-American leader of the Republican Party.
Michael Steele was chosen Friday as the first African-American leader of the Republican Party.

(CNN) –Michael Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Sunday that there’s a number of Republicans emerging who will “redefine this party in a way that will be very good for us long term.”

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Steele was asked to name Republicans under the age of 50 who he sees as the new faces of the party.

Steele listed Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Steele, who on Friday became the first African American to lead the RNC, said people have moved away from the Republican Party because “we behaved badly.”

“It was about the fact that we failed to lead. We grew the size of government. When we're saying we believed in less government, we grew government. When we said we believe in less spending, we spent more,” he said.

Steele said he thinks Republicans now have an opportunity to turn things around.

“That's my job, is to put good candidates in a position to win. Now, we're not going to win all of them, but we're going to start to win again in important races that matter, and we've got three of them coming up this year,” he said, referring to a special election in the 20th Congressional District in New York and gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey.

“We're going to be on the ground and engaged in all of those campaigns that are going to be important opportunities for us to re-establish the brand for the party, number one, but most especially, reacquaint ourselves with the voters and help them appreciate exactly what we stand for and what we believe, putting good candidates in a position to win.”


Filed under: Michael Steele
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. shane

    he is 100% right. the leaders in the republican party betrayed their members and principles.

    1. For years now they moved the party to becoming little more the red demacrats.

    2. Republicans are supposed to stand for invidual empowerment and less goverenment in peoples lives.

    3. Yet they constantly try to tell people how to live and what is acceptable.

    4. People can and will make the right desicions for them selves and their families if the goverenment stays out of it.

    5. the republican leaders seem locked into a system of corp. welfare and aid, while they preach the exact opposite .

    6. Any buisness that cannot make it on its on does not need to be kept afloat by the goverenment.

    7. eventually the economy will stabalize on its own, and will adapt to any new factors, as long as the goveerenment keeps its nose out.

    8. Of course this means there will be difficulties and hardships along the way, but history has already taught us that goverenment run economies DO NOT WORK.

    IF you look atthe republican leaders actions:

    A. Increasing the size of goverenment.

    B. Using goverenment to tell people how to live their lives.

    C. Increasing goverenment spending , that results in people and buisness not being able to stand on their own.

    THEN you actually see very little difference between republicans and demacrats

    February 1, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. rlt

    And we will continue to behave badly.

    February 1, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. dan

    At least he's aware of all the hypocritical BS his party is responsible for the last 8 years....

    February 1, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. annie - Palin 2012

    First of all – Congratulations to Mr. Steele!! Please get GOP back to its original values and purpose!

    Second of all – cnn does not post comments with 'Palin 2012' in their name which of course makes them a biased news media.

    February 1, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Streamwood Bill

    So far the Man of Steele is not off to a good start.

    His comment about bi-partisanship being over-rated was not very well received.

    Inlcuding Sarah "Grandman Grizzly" Palin in his list of under 50 GOP leaders is very telling. The only place Palin will lead the GOP is to defeat in 2012.

    So far Mr. Steele almost makes me want to leave the GOP and go over to the dark side to become a Democrat.

    February 1, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. realtimes

    Impressive list of republicans under 50; a new linup of tokens ready to tell us all the virtues of cowing to the rich old white guy lobby.

    This is the party that cuts taxes for the rich in WARTIME, then throws around the word "socialism" to describe liberals like they throw around "WMD" to describe 1980 chemical weapons.

    Now they're even name dropping a lady who blamed the liberal media, her handlers and everyone but herself for the fact she couldn't handle some softball questions from Katie Couric. Yeah, that's the person americans are looking forward to see facing down the Putins and Ahmedinejads of the world.

    The fact this entire party hasn't been laughed right off the national stage and into oblivion should give americans a clue as to why the rest of the world is so scared of them.

    February 1, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Eric

    RNC chief weighs in on Republican party future...and the future is dim. And the Lord was pleased. Karma is going to take its revenge on the Republican party for years and years to come. They've built up more bad Karma in the last 8 years than they did even in the 1960's when they tried without success to keep black people in the back of the bus. All 'evil' things must come to an end, and that end is now for the 'conservative' movement. Good riddance!

    February 1, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Steele

    It is unbelievable that during the past 8 years, the GOP did so much damage to the economy. So much corruption and favoritism towards big money! It all came to a head in 2008. And now..

    they criticize every little step Obama takes towards fixing the economy? Here's a little advice:

    YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE to do something. We're in this mess BECAUSE OF YOU.

    Now SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP. NOT ANOTHER WORD FROM YOU.

    You'd rather see the economy get worse than to swallow your pride and help the president. And don't EVEN try to pretend that you have the solution. You're being ridiculous, petty, childish and it's ugly.

    We know you want Obama to fail because misery loves company.

    February 1, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Joseph

    At least he is honest about the hypocrisy of republicans in the last 8 years, the incredible deficits, the spying and wire tapping, these are supposed to be completely against republican principles. I always felt bush won elections for social conservative issues rather than government or fiscal conservative issues and they paid the price for putting forth someone who could win elections but didn't actually hold true to their principles. Some time in the wilderness should clear their heads.

    February 1, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Common Sense

    So.....you want a do-over? We voted your party into control to start the 21st century and you all reduced the U.S. to a 3rd world status nation.

    I'm not that stupid Steele and the rest of the country isnt either

    February 1, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. John Knight III

    As a African American I wish you the best of luck ,to bad you are on the wrong side still not to late to see the light.

    February 1, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Proud American

    What is there to weigh? The Grand Old Party of the Klu Klux Klan is dead.

    February 1, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Diana Ewing NJ

    "Steele listed Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin."

    Ok Ok within the first few days in your position, mentioning Palin shows you lost credablity.. that says it all

    February 1, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Marylander

    The RNC/GOP can have him. We didn't want him in Maryland!

    February 1, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Michael

    Yeah, the Republicans have failed in lots of ways.....but trotting out the same old "we believe in less/smaller" tripe misses the point. The world is a much different place......and extreme, partisan, chest-thumping policics that stresses driving wedges between people and hyperventilating over issues that appeal to an intolerant core is a HUGE part of the Republican problem. Until they fix that, they are screwed.

    Mentioning the likes of Sarah Palin as the future of the party makes me wonder if this guy really gets it. Sounds a bit like same ol' same ol'.

    February 1, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. GrogInOhio

    Two words for Mr. Steele.... "southern strategy".

    February 1, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Oregon

    there’s a number of Republicans emerging who will “redefine this party in a way that will be very good for us long term.”

    I find it interesting that he says "for us" – not for the US... typical GOP bs

    February 1, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. BluesBrother

    If he would concentrate more on helping the country, and less on "winning," he might help the party, and win, but it doesn't seem like he thinks like that.

    February 1, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. Rick

    I dont think a reform of the old is a proper way of going and asking about those under 50 helps. Its things like getting back on track of a better life for those who vote and creating a better position in the world for all. All indications that I have seen out of Iowa are that the Republicans are in bed with the Democrates and both sides want to raise our taxes in a recession. With that in mind, I say vote all the old politics out and put people in place that have not been corrupted by the OLD Washington Status Quo.......

    February 1, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. WIlly Brown

    Bring it on Michael! Gald you are onboard.

    February 1, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Sue, NY

    The republicans have done enough damage....it's time for them to shut up and sit down.

    February 1, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Tony

    Over the past eight years, the Republican Party has done more harm to this country than has any terrorist attack; they have come close to destroying it. Now Republicans have the gall to simply vote no on efforts to save it. I am amazed...and greatly disturbed by their threat to our chances for recovery. I have never hated anyone with opposing political and economic views. But I now hate Republicans as much as I hate any traitors.

    February 1, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Tom

    M Steele might be right on a few of his choices. But he should
    be a little concerned of Palin. She will learn how to become a
    liitte more inclusive.

    February 1, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. linda in PA

    And what evidence is there to prove that Republicans will turn things around. The country can't afford to gamble...at least not know.

    February 1, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Richard McCray II

    I am happy for Michael Steele...I am much more happy for the country because him as head of the RNC equals a major victory for the Democrats in 2010 and President Obama in 2012....he like every other Republican has no clue what is going on in this country..

    February 1, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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