February 1st, 2009
04:20 PM ET
5 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. Fabian

    There is something about GOP I don't understand. Seriously, does he think Sarah Palin is one of the people to revive the Republican party? McCain just lost election, partly because he chose her, and the new chairman is still mentioning her? I am afraid Mr. Steele isn't the panacea of his party's ailing popularity. The other guys he mentioned have a chance, but I can't see them beating President Obama, unless he secrews up big time, although it would be hard to top George W. Bush's last eight years.

    February 1, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Craig Nazor

    "Failed to lead"??? The Republican party lead alright – straight to hell! LOOK AROUND YOU! Is Rush a "leader?" He sure thinks he is! Do you think Palin is a leader? Only to those "real" Americans! To the rest of us, she is just plain scary.

    Where are the Republicans who actually BELIEVE in science? Where are the Republicans that want to make sure we keep a separation between church and state? Where are the Republicans that can add? (Big tax cuts + optional wars = a balanced budget?!?) These kinds of Republicans USED to exist, but they have been run out, and you are afraid to say it and anger your ultra-right-wing "base."

    For the best country, we need to have TWO parties that quit doubting each other's patriotism and realize we are ALL patriots, our ideas just differ. Your party has to quit hoping that the fairly elected American President fails!

    In the darkest days of the Bush presidency, I NEVER hoped he would fail. Unfortunately, in some very significant ways, he did. And that's a tragedy.

    February 1, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. Ali

    Republican really?hell no,Barack still to have another term to serve in this country and to the world at large.

    February 1, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. Scotty

    He didn't say quite enough to make a judgement for me. I do like Palin and Jindell, but unless they can get off the bible thumping bandwagon there is no chance to have a win next time either. Leave the bible thumping out of it and leave the anti-abortion out, ya dont have to promote abortion, just dont stop the Individuals choice. I agree with making sur ethe facts are given but past that its nobodies business. If they are gtoing to win they will have to deliver less government and they will have to continue to reduce taxes AND sped a LOT less. Get rid of entitlement programs period and forever. These done its possible they could win once Obama has self destructed, if not , even then the Liberals will yet again walk away with it yet again. Get it together Republicans or be known as failures.

    February 1, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. Obama Mama

    Same old, same old, just a different color. The Republican party is a bunch of bitter losers!

    February 1, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Texas Teacher

    oh, my... hear the mighty republicans roar! :)

    Since when do they have anything to roar about.... they lost... pure and simple... get over it Repubs, you lost... crawl back into your caves... Oh, and Don't forget Rush and Sarah!

    I'm sure that you can rally the white sheet/cone hat crowd and the religious fanatics... but what will you do with them once you get them into your caves... .they will as soon turn on you as anyone else! And that my... mmmm my Repubs is exactly what you deserve.

    Once it actually comes home to them that you have only been supporting the wealthiest 5% of our population... and sooner or later the most dense back woods yoyo... will figure that out! Then you will have NO ONE!

    February 1, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. Leela

    First they get a woman to replace Hillary...Sarah Palin...and she STUPID WALKING. Now they get an african american to compete with Obama. IDIOTS you have to play a different game to get different results. WOW Republicans are really dumb.

    February 1, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Texas Teacher

    oh, my... hear the mighty republicans roar! :)

    Since when do they have anything to roar about.... they lost... pure and simple... get over it Repubs, you lost... crawl back into your caves... Oh, and Don't forget Rush and Sarah!

    February 1, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. John

    Leave to the GOP to considers Americans as clueless, when McCain picked Palin, because they thought Clinton voters would vote for the party with a woman. Now Steele is GOP chairman, who believes he'd even have a front row seat if Obama weren't President.
    Americans aren't as stupid as the republican party believes, it's sad to see such insincerity in American politics. GOP=COPY CAT.

    February 1, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Rorschach

    On the subject of Republican leadership: Mr. Lamebaugh managed to do some of his trademark namecalling on a retired midwestern Methodist pastor this week. There's an editorial from the local newspaper at qctimes.com – look for the article "Elmer, Rush and free speech".

    Glaring example of what exactly is wrong with the GOP and why they're going nowhere until they jettison their head windbag.

    February 1, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Connie from Indiana

    Until the repubs stop listening to druggies like Rush Limbaugh and threading to run Sara Palin in 2012 they are never going to be viable.Stop digging up Joe the plumbers and get down to trying to solve the problems. THEY NEED TO START PULLING AND STOP PUSHING BECAUSE THE VOTERS WON'T FORGET.

    February 1, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Chipster

    The religious fanatics have a strangle-hold on the GOP. I believe the American people have had enough of the corporate welfare, air-conditioned dog-houses, and self-righteous dictators they will tolerate. Some tell Steele that the U.S. government is NOT a theocracy. He needs to rein in the American Taliban that his Party has become.

    February 1, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. Rick in Atlanta

    Congratulations Mr. Steele:
    What will it itake to define the Republican party to the American People?

    You will need to get control of who is a real spokesperson for the party. You cannot allow folks like Ruch, Seanny H and Sarah (T Fey) be the voice of the party. You have to speak up and put them in their place, or have you been already put in your place?

    February 1, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  14. Greg In Colorado

    You think that the GOP is fine the way it is... take a look around!!!

    February 1, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  15. "Conservative Republican"

    “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.”

    -------------–

    All I can say is put your money where your mouth is. Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. I hope he does what he says he will instead of merely being a puppet like Bush was. I have faith in the man I voted for and I hope he will accomplish even half of what he plans to because he will need to fight the long-term stigmas and grudges of BOTH parties. If all goes well...

    Obama/Biden 2012.

    February 1, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. Chris F.

    Mr. Steele is a moron and should stop spreading fear and lies. I thought the GOP wanted to change but they only know how to rip the country appart.

    February 1, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. Mickie

    Initially I was excited that Michael Steele won this position. But now that he has identified Sarah Palin as one of the bright lights of the Republican Party, I've lost faith in him. If anyone thinks Sarah Palin is a good thing for America, with all the great folks we have available, it's a sad day for the Republican Party. I had hoped Michael Steele could be the catalyst to lead the Republican Party to a viable position in American politics. But he's starting off in a very bad direction - FOX News for his first interview?

    February 1, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. Ryan

    Behaving bad is when your home trained dog does potty on the floor.

    Handing over a nation in this poor state is ................... ( feel free to fill in ).

    February 1, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. Ron

    GOP has become a party of gimmick..
    Obama becme president becuase he is capable of uniting a divided country..

    ron

    February 1, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. Bill

    Please this is the same guy who ran for the United States Senate in MD, with a sticker for your bumper that stated Steele Democrat.

    Please the quick test is this would you buy a new or used car from this guy? Not no but hell no

    February 1, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    The Rethugnantcriminals (sic) could START by telling the TRUTH for a change. Rep. Bone-Head's statement that zero Rethug votes for the stimulus package in the House "sent a strong BIPARTISAN (??!!) message" would be a good place to start.

    February 1, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Helen, NY

    Chairman Steele, I wish you best of luck. You have my full support. It is time for you to turn blue states in red states. Let us go to the drawing board.

    February 1, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Xavier

    Palin? Jindal? Sanford? Pawlenty? Is that all you got? THem be pretty slim pickings. THe GOP is as fake and transparent as Steel's appointment.

    February 1, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  24. Alan

    What everyone must realize is that there are two branches of the republican party – the first is the religious nut-jobs (like Palin) who think that god will save the country, and those that actually care about the American people and have a brain (such as McCain Snowe and formerly Reagan and Ike).

    The republican party should split, and let those relgious nut jobs make their own party while retaining those like McCain. The party used to stand for the working man. It has become too side-tracked with issues that no one cares about. This is why the party is loosing support.

    Go back to the basics!

    And yes, I am an independent so this is not mindless republican-glorifying, only an bipartisan view on this issue.

    February 1, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  25. Terry B.

    Same old tireless GOP babble. Your party ran on the same crap this past election but tell me.... How did it work out for you?

    - Less taxes
    - Smaller Governmet
    - No abortions
    - The tax payer can spend their money better than the Government
    - Family Values
    - Fear
    - Smear
    - Lie, Lie, Lie...

    Sound familiar? The GOP AIN'T the party of Ronald Reagan anymore. This is the 21st Century and there are younger, newer, fresher ideas so get on board or get left behind because we don't care anymore about Grumpy Old People thinking the way to win an election was how they did it in the 80's otherwise stay on your porch in your rocking chair and keep yelling "Get of my lawn"....

    February 1, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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