February 1st, 2009
04:20 PM ET
9 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. Beverly in NC

    How surprising Steele would only appear on Fox News since it is the only non-credible network that would not ask him any relevant questions.
    How sad for Mr Steele. He has been selected as the "Sarah Palin" tool to try to pretend the Repubican Party is actually going to change. He just hasn't realized it yet. It will not be long before he is "handled" and fed everything he is supposed to say and do.
    Steele will never be allowed to lead the RNC and the plan was to never let him. He is just a black face on a failing Party who wants America to think they are now diverse.
    How sad – the Republican Party has not changed just because they chose the lone black person in their Party to be their Poster Face. They are still stuck in the past. They are still a party of old while men who will go down fighting to the end to keep their Party white and religiously as hypocritical as their once darling Ted Haggard.
    As Steele stated yesterday – they have no plans to be bipartisan or work with Democrats in a common effort to restore this nation. They still don't get that Americans need jobs.
    They think something Ronald Reagan did back in 1982 – hello- 27 yrs ago is the answer to today's world. Old answers that do not have anything to do with today's problems.
    How sad. The Republicans have not yet figured out they lost the election and all their majoritty in every branch of the government yet there they are demanding that everything must be done their way or they will just be the unpatriotic and "NOT Country First" Party.
    Imagine their surprise when they lose the rest of their seats in the midterm elections in 2010.
    I have never a more clueless group of old ignorant men.
    This nation is falling apart and crying out for help and they want to play games with our lives and completely ignore those who, unlike them. have no jobs, no healthcare, and no homes.
    People who let Rush Limbaugh be the actual leader of the Republican Party and let the joke network Fox "News" speak for them are in deep, deep moral and intellectual trouble.
    How sad for Mr. Steele.....a pawn and being made a fool.
    The end of the Republican Party is near.

    February 1, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Charlie in Maine

    Say what you want about America world. We never do anything half-way. Dr. King's Dream is on it's way. Congratulation Republicans, once I read his policy papers I probably won't agree with much Steale wants to do, but like those Republicans glad to be part of Obama's celebration I applaud this breakthrough and my hat is off to the Party of Lincoln.

    February 1, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. lela morgan

    I think this Steel guy is nice, but I think the Republican party is going to try and play to the blacks by using him. I think the blacks will say why now? I think the republicans will have a rude awakening. They will know what republicans are up to and know it is not genuine. I think the republicans do not know how to handle this hope we all have for Obama.

    February 1, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. Sandra

    The more the GOP hangs onto Sarah and Rush, the better it looks for the Dems long term.

    February 1, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. Lost in Texas Forever

    before he makes any decisions for the GOP, Mr. Steele better get the approval of the REAL head of the party Rush Limbaugh because if he doesn't he might have a Peter, Paul and Mary song named after him.

    February 1, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. J lander

    Palin may be seen as a new face in the party, but the "party "ends there. She has neither the intelligence, demeanor nor status to seek a candidacy beyond governor of Alaska. Palin is one of the reasons, amongst others , why so many people walked away from the Republican ticket. Do not insult our intelligence again, once was enough. To quote Krautheimer, "she should return to Alaska and spend the next two years reading". Although I doubt that would do it.
    Try decades.

    February 1, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Zwright, Vauxhall, NJ

    A lot about the Republican Party has come to light for me in the last 2 years. I have no problem with them believing in their heart of hearts their conservative views. I just have a problem with the fact that they use manipulative tactics to get them across to their constituents. That is what is killing their brand–the American people have been awakened from the ignorance of just following a party because they are Republican or Democrat. We can now see there is a clear distinction between the two beliefs but it is clearer that the Republicans thrive on manipulation and deceit to get their way. It may have worked in the past but IT’S A NEW DAY! The light is on and now we understand the term more clearly –you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Now it looks like they are gong after the residue of ignorance to see who is left for them to influence through their tactics.

    February 1, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. Silver Foot

    @“That's my job, is to put good candidates in a position to win--Steele said he thinks Republicans now have an opportunity to turn things around****Practice what you preach Bashing President Obama on 1-31-09 was unneccssary and disrespectful.....You should thank him ....If McCain had won the election ..no way no how you would be chairman of the Republican National Committee **** You say your job is to put good candidates in a position to win.Too bad you couldn't put yourself in a Position to Win ........Face It you are a TOOL .......maybe you have been listening to Rush and Sean- Man UP .......The American Voters already know what RePubs Stand for and it is not about the PEOPLE

    February 1, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. Nija

    Is about time

    February 1, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Mike Dallas

    Whew!! Glad to see Steele is still pushing Jindal the excorist and Palin the half-wit as the new face of the repubs.

    There for a minute I thought he might change the party but thankfully the head of the repubs, Lush Limprick has already taken the boy to the woodshed and told him the facts of life.

    Palin/Coulter 2012

    February 1, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. No Hillary = No Obama

    George Bush's presidency has eviscerated the Republican party, left them without a majority, which means this country will not be run on a check and balance system but a Democratic party agenda. The Republicans are defeated in battle. They should focus on review, revision and reinventing themselves. Before long, we will have King Obama.

    February 1, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. Steele the Token.

    "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,”


    And that is supposed to explain why the large majority of voters left the repub party and voted for the party of big government and the second most liberal Senator for President???

    What a leader and such a clear vision of reality...

    February 1, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Truth teller

    here it comes, finally the RNC is waking up to the fact that America is changing

    February 1, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. Barbara Campbell

    There they go again – spouting changes (like a balanced budget) from one side of their mouths while pushing the same old agenda (more tax cuts for the rich) out of the other side. Just because the latest rhetoric is coming from an African-American (chosen so that the neocons have a new "face"), doesn't mean diddly squat. The Republicans are still enamored with the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, and Palin – how much more hateful, deceitful, and divisive can you get?

    February 1, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. Happy with new President

    Listen, Mr. Steele!
    You just dont get it. This is not about Republicans and Democrats, it's about best ideas for America!
    You gave intreviev to "Faux News"? Why not to to any other station? You should go and to give talk-show to Rush-idiot. YOU THINK THAT THIS TURKEY FROM ALASKA HAS ANY FUTURE IN AMERICA'S POLITIC LIFE? Can she take care of her own family before before we put our lives in her hands?
    And, BTW, Republican party should choose somebody else for this position! Black and white is used allready. How about somebody green, yellow or even blue?
    Please, stop copying democrats in every possible way. This won't help you.
    Republican party is dead, they just don't want to accept this yet!

    February 1, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. vick

    another crook????

    February 1, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. Allan

    Palin and Sanford?? Please! Nominate those two, and the Dems will be in power forever. Check out Sanford... He can't get along with his own party in the state Lesgislature. Why would it be any different at the national level? I can only hope that the Republicans in the Senate manage to work with President Obama on the economy, because the House Republicans seem to be in thrall to the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

    February 1, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. KFR

    Mr Steele with all respect I believe some of your new faces of the GOP are going to in the end disappoint you. You want people to vote for the GOP you better pick people that will receive votes and not just your popular conservative votes.

    February 1, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. American Voice

    No Chance for turning things around anymore Sir!!!. I think the times for a popular Republican party are over.... is time for a new party to take over – just like in Europe. You can try to look CUTE with the new party leader – but you dont look cute to me anymore.

    February 1, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. John

    Popular myth held that William F Buckley ran all the racists and bigots out of the GOP back in the 50s and 60s.


    Good luck with that, Mr. Steele.

    February 1, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. GOP

    NEW GOP SLOGAN: We need to bomb the whole world and spy on every American Citizen to keep America safe from terrorists....lol

    February 1, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Pam for America & Obama

    If these are the "best and brightest" the RNC has to offer they are in big trouble. If the try to shove Sarah Palin and the bible pounders down our throats they will continue to loose. Palin's ideas about sex education are so out of touch with reality that they didn't even work in her own family. Her underage dropout daughter and her underage dropout babies father would have no chance in this world except that Palin has a bit of money. What chance do they have of raising a well adjusted child? We must teach our children to sexually protect themselves and not just put the bible between their knees. Palin is also so out of touch with most of America on her divisive hate speech and "palling around with terrorists". This is a time for us to unite as a people and the RNC has no desire to do that. They believe that we if we all just act like Republicans we can get along just fine. They forget that the Democrats WON the election. As long as they listen to Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Riley , Beck, Coulter and that kind they will remain in the wilderness.

    February 1, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. Where's the credibility?

    Even for voters that agree with Republicans, their biggest problem is credibility. Steele seems to get it that the GOP has gone AWOL from its own core values by acting as a rubber stamp for 8 long years under Bush. There's not much Republicans can do now to show they mean what they say – they'll just have to go wait in a corner for another few years while Democrats clean up their mess. The beauty of it all is that, when voters look back on this time of crisis, they'll see that it was Democrats making the big plays and righting the course of our country... while Republican leadership was no where to be found. In terms of big-time policy making and effective governance, this year will be like the Super Bowl – and one team is barely there, about to get trounced.

    February 1, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Like he said he is the first black and Roman Catholic. What part is not clear to the liberals? Maybe Joe Biden and the Kennedys can explain to the imbeciles like them.

    February 1, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. Happy with new President

    Yes, RNC!
    Please, continue this nonsense, talk about Palin and other "colored" leaders of Republican Party. Please, put Palin on your ticket in 2010 and 2012, this will give our country a good chance for democratic leadership for another 8 to 16 years!
    Yes, "Change has come to our country"!

    February 1, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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