February 27th, 2009
05:58 AM ET
5 years ago

Steele to CPAC: The Republican party is just fine

RNC chairman Michael Steele spoke to the annual conservative conference Thursday.
RNC chairman Michael Steele spoke to the annual conservative conference Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Capping off a day of conservative soul-searching, strategizing and navel-gazing at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele announced Thursday that the Grand Old Party is “alive and well.”

Steele, addressing CPAC’s Presidential Banquet, told the audience that “the conservative movement must become a revolution,” and the goal “must be nothing less than the transformation of America.”

“Tonight, we tell America that Republican values, conservative values, are right for America,” he said, admitting that the party has made some mistakes. “Tonight, we tell America: we know the past, we know we did wrong. My bad. But we go forward in appreciation of the values that brought us to this point.”

To much applause, Steele attacked the Obama administration’s recently-passed stimulus package, calling it “nothing short of frightening.” He said conservatives must use the political moment to re-assert their belief in a set of basic principles: limited government, freedom, opportunity and the ability of the free market to “create, innovate and prosper.”

November’s losses, he contended, should not be a discouragement.

“I am here tonight to reject the idea that defeats of the past are a repudiation of core conservative values and principles,” he said. “Nor do I believe that those defeats are a sign of things to come.”

The former Maryland Lt. Governor took a moment to honor two of his former rivals for the RNC chairmanship who were in attendance, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis.

Steele began his speech by needling Anuzis, who ran for the post on a platform of upgrading the party’s technological savvy.

“Alright Saul, stop Twittering,” he cracked.

As he concluded his remarks, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann - the event's moderator - told Steele he was “da man.”

“Michael Steele! You be da man! You be da man,” she said.


Filed under: CPAC • Michael Steele
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. robert

    Too bad that when the GOP was in power it forgot all about those things. I'm sure that Republicans hope we'll just forget all the last eight years, but the evidence of their manifest failures are all around us.

    February 26, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  2. YesWeDid

    At least Powell eventually realized he was being used. Wonder when Steele will realize the same?

    February 26, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  3. Agnes

    Let's see: Under the Republicans, limited government meant the largest budget deficits in history. Freedom meant Guantanamo. And free market meant the collapse of banks, the stock market and housing. Great track record!

    February 26, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  4. Unshrub

    And people wonder why they are loosing?

    February 26, 2009 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  5. sniffit

    yo yo yo...trizzle dizzle economizzle y'all...word...

    February 26, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  6. sniffit

    @ east tx, who requested " would like someone to tell me where it has been written that republicans are narrow minded and bigots."

    History books.

    February 26, 2009 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  7. sniffit

    @ tess

    Honestly, you're the very first person I've seen use the phrase "Uncle Tom" on this site. Nobody's claiming Steele has betrayed his people. We're just claiming he's out of touch and slightly retarded. If the GOP was honest, it would recognize that the elections in 2006 and 2008 represented a call by the American people for them to adapt, not slather lipstick on their pig, which is all this techno-babble ebonic tapdancing amounts amounts to.

    February 27, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  8. A Republican Turned Democrat

    All I can say is...these Republicans (who are to blame for all of America's problems) are bunch of losers.

    What I expect the Republicans to do is to show some respect to our President and work with his administration fixing the economy.

    Everything they are doing is just plain "politics."

    February 27, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  9. Joe the Troll

    “Tonight, we tell America: we know the past, we know we did wrong. My bad. But we go forward in appreciation of the values that brought us to this point.”

    You go forward in appreciation of the values that brought you to the point where you know you've done wrong? That's just weird.

    February 27, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  10. Julie

    Just fine? Yeh, like mission accomplished fine, like heckuva job Brownie fine, like Abu Ghraib fine, like up to our necks in national debt fine. These folks are insane fine.

    February 27, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  11. GOP106th in Park

    Welcome to th GOP Minstrel show!

    February 27, 2009 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  12. lester

    he isn't even the leader of the republican party. rush limbaugh is the parties true and only spokesman. god bless these idiots...

    February 27, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  13. Neal Klomp

    HAHAHA sure it is.
    Bush has F'd up the GOP plan, like he's F'd up every single thing he has ever tried to do in his life.
    Incompetence equals failure if your poor.
    If your rich it equals the presidency.

    February 27, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  14. Dave

    Take a look back... the Captain of the Titanic said the exact same thing. RIP RP.

    February 27, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  15. Shayne in NH

    I'm a democrate. A FISCAL democrat, though you would be hardpressed to believe such beings existed. If the GOP would actually PROPOSE something, AN ALTERNATIVE, a PLAN (can anyone think of more synonyms?) I would listen to them very attentively. I believe in bipartisan ship but I am also a realist.

    I am well-versed in economics for a biochemist with an MBA who only works in a hospital laboratory. Adam Smith, no offense, is a little outdated–by about 233 years. The GOP still believes in this philosophy. As times change so do economic philosphies. David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, John Stuart Mill, Marxism, and John Maynard Keynes were brilliant economists from which we have derived our academic beliefs, in fact have tried to morph them into one belief: democracy.

    Though not an economist by trade I read about it constantly, am fascinated by it. The more I learn the more I realize that we just may be unwilling to admit that democracy has the potential to be a failure; that is, a failed economic model. Is that un-American? Absolutely to some, but from an academic standpoint it is merely an objective conclusion drawn from years of data that is ever-increasingly pointing in this direction.

    Will there be a revolution? With the upheaval, anger, bitterness and downright plausibility of a Wall Street Meltdown, factories closing, inflation rising, unemployment rising, GDP decreasing, the dollar losing value, the home sector losing value, the retail and building sector losing value, the consumer confidence index dropping consistently........there IS going to be a BANG at some point. And you can't blame Obama, or Bush, or Clinton, or Reagan, or Carter or whoever. For a moment consider that they have been the guide that has kept the train on the tracks. The tracks, symbolically being democracy as we know it, seem to be running short.

    Government intervention is necessary because it is the ONLY entity with the weight to push things through with sheer force of will. Ultimately, 100 years from now, our grandchildren just may be reading about us the way we read about the former "Great Philosophers."

    Think about it. You may say this scenario is impossible. In science, we NEVER say anything is impossible: we say it is highly unlikely, for there is always the chance.......

    February 27, 2009 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  16. Christine

    The budget that Obama has proposed is bigger than Bush's spending which included the cost of two wars and 911.
    The only thing liberals know how to do is attack and insult people. Why don't you shut your mouths and go read something other than the Huffington Post.

    February 27, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  17. Tina

    I actually have no problem with the republican party. I think it is just fine!

    February 27, 2009 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  18. Chris Matthews

    Oh god!

    February 27, 2009 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  19. Jon

    7 % of the popular vote is not a mandate, but an almost 200 point victory in the electoral college definitely qualifies as a mandate

    February 27, 2009 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  20. Floyd in New York

    Why do I get the feeling that most of the negative,vile anti Republican comments on here come from that 19 to 29 year old age group that know absolutely NOTHING about politics!! In short, It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than it is to speak and remove ALL doubt!

    February 27, 2009 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  21. Ms. Priss - Alabama

    The GOP is living in the twilight zone. They have dumbed their party down so much; they vote against their own interest. If the GOP believes Jindal, Palin or Steele is the answer to Obama, they are sadly mistaken. Out of jealously, they refer to him as a messiah, when America and the rest of the world sees him as an intelligent visionary. The GOP will be in the hole they have dug for themselves because they have no vision and are still using the Southern strategy of bigotry, us against them. They blame poor people for the ills of our country while giving corporate welfare in the form of subsidies to big business and the wealthy. They continue to live in the past and have been preaching tax cuts and small government for almost thirty years. We have be living their policies since 1980 with the exception of Clinton's 8 year presidency.

    America voted for change and we don't want anything resembling the last 8 years. Our country is in shambles, and the GOP wants us to trust them and complains about everything President Obama does. Now they are blaming everything on Bush, when they were appropriating spending in congress and running up hugh deficits, using fuzzy math on the budgets. Now after they screws things up with deregulation, trade swaps and derivatives, tax breaks for corporations moving abroad, tax cuts for corporation and the wealthy, two war, no bid contract, etc., the GOP is concerned about the deficit. At this point, the only people who continue to fooled is the "Elmer Gantry and Lonesome Rhodes crowd" and if you've seen either of these movies, you'll know exactly what I mean.

    The GOP voters are mostly rural whites who do not have access to information to form intellectual decisions. They depend on Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox and republican politicians for information. But change is on the way, broadband is coming to rural areas soon and you will be able to do their own research and realize the lies you have been told.

    February 27, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  22. lester

    christine-
    plain and simple: bush was the biggest failure in our history. he bankrupt this country both financially and morally. i don't need the huffington post to tell me that. republicans are irrelevant. bobby jindahl made sarah palin good. i so look forward to that debate...

    February 27, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  23. Leslie

    First Steele then Jindal...the Republicans are really scrapping the bottom of the barrel. I thought Palin was the worst they could do...guess I was wrong.

    February 27, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Ken Blackwell was the Ohio bagman that fixed the vote.

    February 27, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  25. Cheney

    He would have been great in Vaudville with a little more shoe polish.

    February 27, 2009 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
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