December 21st, 2009
06:32 PM ET
11 months ago

Steele: Dems 'flipping a bird to the American people'

Steele says the Democratic health care bill is 'bad for America.'
Steele says the Democratic health care bill is 'bad for America.'

(CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele made clear Monday he's not happy with Democratic efforts to pass a health care reform bill, saying the measure which cleared a procedural hurdle Sunday amounts to "flipping a bird to the American people."

"This is a bad bill. It's bad law. It's bad for America. It is bad certainly for individuals and enough is enough. I am tired of the Congress thumbing their nose and flipping a bird to the American people," Steele said on a conference call with reporters Monday. "I am tired of this Congress thinking it knows better than me and my family how to provide for our health care now and in the future."

Steele was joined on the call by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the current head of FreedomWorks, in an apparent show of solidarity against the measure that narrowly passed a cloture vote in the early-morning hours Monday. Armey's group and the RNC have occasionally butted heads in the past year over the best way to tap into disapproval with Democratic policies, but Steele said Monday he is "honored" to work with "grassroots activists, tea partiers and others who are fighting the good fight."

FreedomWorks, which has provided much of the organizational heft behind the Tea Party movement, clashed with the RNC last fall when they endorsed an independent conservative in a New York congressional race over the GOP-backed candidate. As a result of the divided vote, the Democrat in the race won the conservative district for the first time in more than a century.

Letting bygones be bygones Monday, Steele called Armey "a man of principle, a man who has been able to reflect in a genuine way the voice of a lot of Americans out there."

"It's nice to know in this fight that you have individuals who are willing to stand up with you and lead the charge, individuals who you can follow into battle and who can follow you into battle and try and make sure we do what's best for the American people," said Steele.

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Steele's comments "obscene" in a Capitol Hill press conference Monday afternoon.

"I'm more worried about an example being set by a party leader with something so obscene, I think that's something people should be worried about," Reid said.


Filed under: Extra • Michael Steele
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Rob

    Dear Plevy...just a follow up to my last comment...why don't you check the polls to see how the American people feel about this before spouting off about what they want! You can't even find a liberal pollster that shows the American people supporting this health care bill. Again, educate yourself and you won't sound so ignorant!

    December 21, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Damon

    I have a question – did Obama win or did Bush just lose? I know a lot of people who just voted against Bush, and didn't really know the issues.

    There's a very funny youtube video about a certain voting segment that was going to vote for Obama. They took McMains issues and put them on Obama, Obama's issues and put them on McCain. They overwhelmingly voted for Obama. Gee, I wonder what they were actually voting for.

    December 21, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. BJs65

    I'm flipping off the hypocrite Republicans.

    December 21, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Liz

    The Republican'ts have been flipping the country and the world the bird for years now. They just can't get it through their bat-crap-crazy heads that they LOST THE ELECTION IN 2004 and the American people told them in no uncertain terms that we're not going to do it their way any more! Most of the opposition to health care reform has been a result of republican'ts lying about the bill. These people are disgusting!

    December 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Jon Wilhelm

    Steele keeps repeating himself like a broken record.

    "Bad for America! Bad! It's bad!" He sounds like an angry child that isn't getting his way, HMMmmm sounds like a lot of republicans these days.

    Let the American people decide, not the guy who happens to be holding the microphone.

    December 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Pragmatic

    The republicans used the same old rhetoric when blacks then women got the vote, when Social Security and then Medicare were passed ... when the heat cools, there are many reforms that will work for ordinary Americans ... not a perfect bill – but the GOP had their opportunity to reform health care when they were in charge ... and did nothing ... which is what they want for all Americans ... nothing.

    December 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. butseriously

    Mr. Steele should be ashamed of himself for bringing the debate down to such an undignified level. He will say and do anything to inflame, misrepresent, and shock his way to getting media coverage for what is entirely a partisan pitch. He only cares about driving a wedge in order to win elections. Absolutely shameful.

    December 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Liz

    The Republican'ts have been flipping the country and the world the bird for years now. They just can't get it through their bat-crap-crazy heads that they LOST THE ELECTION IN 2008 and the American people told them in no uncertain terms that we're not going to do it their way any more! Most of the opposition to health care reform has been a result of republican'ts lying about the bill. These people are disgusting!

    December 21, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Hmmm... the 60 vote supermajority required to bypass a fillibuster isn't in the constitution either and yet here we are. Have a nice day!

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. George Bush - Worst President Ever

    Wow. Token sure has big ones. The only goal of his party is to vote against everything for four years. They are afraid that Mr. Obama will get credit if things go well, and then they will not win the Presidential election. So, even though elected to do the people's business, they do nothing. What a bunch of losers.

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. bill

    No, it is Steele who is flipping the bird to African Americans who would greatly benefit from the health care bill. This man makes my stomach turn. And I'm not even African American. What a traitor.

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. TMart

    Dick Armey a man of principle!!!! OMG!!!! It's statements like these that make the Republicans look stupider and stupider as the time goes by.

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. michael

    And what exactly did Mr. Steele feel that the last administration was doing not just to the American people, but to the entire world when they invaded Iraq based on statements even Bush's own administration have now admitted were 'a bit stretched' (that's another phrase for lying by the way). I'm guessing he doesn't have much to say about Bush's reign. Bush, a man who said that his job would be a whole lot easier 'if he were a dictator'. Clearly he never understood the role of a President in the entire eight years he 'served'.

    Obama is at least trying to make laws, and pass legislation that serves the best interests of the general public. Of course you cannot make everyone happy. But, doing things that only make the rich, and corporate lobbyists and their clients happy is not very Presidential – it's downright disgusting.

    If Obama is giving Americans the bird than Bush threw his feces at the world's faces.

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. bob in LA

    Mr Steele- Let's get something straight-
    We as Americans are not stupid nor do we need you telling us that Congress is flipping us the bird.
    Obama was elected for two reasons: because of his issues which included healthcare reform and Two: because a Republican run Congress for 12 years and a Republican president for 8 – managed to ruin this country thorugh reckless spending with no benefit to the individual, no regard for the future of this or any other generation.
    All that had been done in the immediate past was line corporate America"s pockets ( how'd all those tax breaks for business work for you Mr Steele?) and start a war that there is not resonable exit from.
    If the 2009 Democratic- run Congress is givng us the bird at least they haven't given us the shaft we had until January this year. Look to your own record before condemning others.

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. Damon

    LOL. All those that call Reublicans sore losers or cry babies, what were you doing the past 8 years? You have to be the most ignorant unthinking group imaginable.

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    I'm pretty sure nothing is "flipping the bird" to the American people more than fabricating things to scare and anger them, like "death panels," rather than seeking to educate them as accurately as possible about the issues so they can make informed voting decisions and, thus, maximize the dream of democracy...i.e., control of their own destinies. No, blabbering about socialism and trying to convince people to rely on ideology, not facts and evidence...that's not flipping the bird at all...

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Brook E. Mantia

    There goes Michael Steele, looking in the mirror again.

    The GOP, along with their self-serving, money-grubbing, elitist, war-mongering, fear & hate-baiting, dishonorable "business partners" have been flipping the bird to America for years. They have done their best to destroy this country, and won't rest until they've accomplished their foul deed.

    The least they can do is keep their whiney, do-nothing, know-nothing, contribute-nothing fat mouths shut and let us have a peaceful Christmas, and stop making the baby Jesus cry.

    December 21, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Kris

    8 years in the Clinton WH to push reform, 8 years under Bush, and when they can't come up with something, they just blame the Dems...the GOP stinks!!!

    December 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Shawn

    In a way he's right. The American people want a public option, and unfortunately a handful of corrupt Democrats acted like Republicans and decided insurance & drug company blood money is more important than the American people.

    The question is - why are Republicans whining? They got everything they wanted. They're just fanatical, knee-jerk psychos who can't get over the fact they LOST an election. That's it! That's all they are now.

    December 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. john f. Johnston

    No, Mr. Steele, you and your fellow Republicans are the ones for whom the Democrats attempted to court cooperation. They bent, but not over backwards, they bent at the waist and your party turned them into prison "girl friends".

    December 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. WENDELL

    Republicans are scum. And Leiberman too.

    December 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    @ Damon, who said "I would rather capitalism work than the bloated government bureaucracy that we have now."

    Day late, several trillion dollars short.

    December 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. joe T.

    i am so sick about of these Republican crybabies talking about what the American people really want ! If the American people wanted these idiots and charge of the country then McCain & Winky would be in the White House. All they know how to do is say "no" and vote "no" to everything that the President and Congress try do for fear that they will succeed, then they and their "rotund rabble-rouser' Rush Limbaugh would be able to gloat. What they should do is try to come up with some constructive ideas to help this country get back on it's feet and to lend a hand to those Americans who need help. If it costs the rest of us a little money,so be it. Nothing in this world is free, and all Americans would gladly step up the plate when we have to.

    December 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. paul

    A lot of people on this are really good at repeating what they hear on Right Wing Talk shows, but don't care about the facts ??

    December 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Freedom works ... isn't that the group who's been funding all of those Tea Parties gangs where they hold up signs of the President as Hitler and display imagery equating Healthcare to the holocaust? That's some pretty radical stuff that doesn't seem to have the Country's best interests at heart.

    December 21, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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