December 21st, 2009
06:32 PM ET
6 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. Jon

    Michael Steele does NOT speak for the American people. It's a lie to imply that attempts to provide health insurance for the uninsured is keeping him and his family from making health care provisions for themselves. He's a lying slob in the pocket of the insurance industry just like the rest of his party and Joe Lieberman.

    December 21, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Elle

    The only thing that's bad here are the right-winger's who won't even consider looking at a bill written by the dems, let alone vote for it because they would be "crossing party lines". This is pure politics – it has nothing to do with what is "good" or "bad" for America – and frankly I'm sick of it. The day we get a Congress and House who actually considers what's good or bad for America instead of their own personal agenda (or party line) is the day our government will truly work for us again.

    December 21, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. STAND AS ONE

    I think its time someone tell Steele to shut up. "SHUT UP" oh that felt soooooo good.

    December 21, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. CBR

    Now we know that Mr. Steele stands with the Freedom Works group. He will join the other Republicans who refuse to move forward on healthcare reform or anything else.

    The fact that the "War in Iraq" was paid by American taxpayers without any increase in the collection of federal funds left us with a huge deficit is never mentioned. We will be paying for it for years to come. They really don't have a right to complain about the costs of healthcare which will benefit Americans.

    They have offered no solutions to the problem nor have they offered any hope to those without insurance. Meanwhile, we are all paying hospitals for the care they are giving to the uninsured who use the emergency room for care.

    Give us some answers please.

    December 21, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. Jack

    Then please Mr. Steel and Mr. Armey and Russ and Sean and the rest of you so-called conservatives.

    What is your plan? I haven't heard it yet! And really I have been waiting to hear it!

    All I have heard is you call mr. Obama a socialist! and a number of other inappropiate names!

    Your tea parties unfortunately don't mean a thing to me! Your disruption at town meetings don't either!

    The reason is; I have not heard one concrete counter proposal from the Republican's or the Conservatives.

    As a former Republican, Now an Independent. You are a donkey sitting on your own bottom and screaming that it hurts! And you do nothing about it!

    If you have good alternatives, lets hear them!

    What it appears to many of us that were moderate Republicans and are now Independents. Is that you are going let the Democracts pass a Health Care bill and then you will make sure that its implemention is so complex and costly through admendments and adminstrative issues, that you come looking like the saviors.

    I have seen both parties do it for political gain and I am disguised! If I truly had a third choice, I'd boot both parties out!

    But the last two independents unfortunately attracted the extremes of the potilical spetrum.

    So, Mr. Steele be a Statesman and challenge the party to come up with new inovatives and present them!!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    How articulate, you have made your party of cons proud no doubt.

    Memo to Steele:

    53% of the American voters "flipped the bird" to all you cons in November of '08.

    Deal with it or in your pseudo hip-hop lingo "get jiggy wid it"!

    December 21, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Marc, Canada's single payer system is the best!

    Now if only the GOP would govern and do what they were sent to Washington to do. They could have had a big say in this health reform but instead they chose to sit on the sidelines and be the party of NO.

    December 21, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Dennis

    The GOP certainly is the "expert" in flipping the American people the bird. How long have they been doing it now?

    December 21, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. billy123

    The GOp is flipping the bird at the American people. This is the same guy who ran for US Senator in Md. with bumper sticker stating Steel "Demarcate" The late Tin Russet called him out on this on Meet the Press.

    Mr. Steel please just go away!

    December 21, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. Susan

    A true blue republican and a real jerk!

    December 21, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. J. Rochester, NY

    Yawn!

    Come one CNN... nothing better to do then cover the ramblings of an out of touch token black guy?

    I hope the masses understand that the GOP has robbed the American people of real reform. The American people need a Medicare buy in or Public option; we are defenseless against the scum of the Insurance Industry. It is surprising that there is an INDUSTRY dedicated to profiting off of the Suffering of Americans.

    December 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. Laverne

    Is this guy serious, he has NO class at all! He and Sarah Palin should run together in 2012, that would be hilarious, 2 uneducated sounding goofs, one a redneck and the other a brownnoser!

    December 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Patsy, Texas

    Tell Steele that I got tired of having the "bird" flipped at me for
    eight years. Thank you

    December 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. bed whistle

    Clearly we have a thoughtful bunch of comments on this page. It's nice to see such post-racial "progressives" calling Steele "Uncle Tom". I'm an independent, and I'm tired of seeing this hyper-partisan rhetoric. Within the entirety of a single blog comment, hypocrisy abounds.

    I wish the pendulum would stop swinging so darn hard to the left and right.

    December 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Jan Stover

    The obstructionist Republicans are the ones "flipping the bird" to the American people, and have been for years. The American people I talk to really WANTED this bill, especially before it got watered down by the crybaby conservatives. Do something to HELP people, Michael Steele, instead of adding your verbal garbage to our over-burdened air-waves.

    December 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Steve

    Conservative arrogance is alive and kicking. How such conservatives can sit on their ass and do nothing but spout such nonsense about the party who is actually moving the process forward can only be emplained by pompus arrogance. Even after last year's republican steered meltdown and the continuation of the great recession, these morons still prove to be out of touch with mainstream. The Republicans need to wrestle the conservatives who have hijacked their plane. What's sad is there are actually sheep er real people who believe their bs.

    December 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. stevegee

    This bill is an abomination and will undermine our republic, and bankrupt the country.

    All the Democrats (aka socialists) will be thrown out of office in November 2010. Then we can repeal this unconstitutional assault on our freedom and liberty.

    December 21, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. James Tiberius Kirk

    What a putz.

    December 21, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. George Dancey

    I voted for my representatives and believe they are doing there best to respond to the needs of all Americans. I am sorry that Michael Steele feels that the majority represented by the 60 democrats who voted to move the process forward should be thwarted by the minority of 40 republicans.

    December 21, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. ACCOUNTANT

    I hope everyone who likes this bill are willing to pay more for Health Care, some may lose there Health Care, some may lose there jobs.

    This bill is worse then the present system. This bill will be known as the Obama Disaster Care

    December 21, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. ROFL

    Man, love this comic relief...

    Another Dick "honored" today; this time by "What up" Steele? LOL. A rep for corporate lobbyists is now somehow "a man of principle" to the RNC?

    What a joke...it's off the hook!

    December 21, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. IS IT 2010 YET ??

    2010 cannot get here fast enough.

    December 21, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. southerncousin

    Don't worry Mike, what will happen starting April 15 through election day 2010 will make the TEA parties look like, well, tea parties. So many people, are so very angry at Hussein Obama and the libertards, I hope we all can just stay calm and legally vote these people out of office, prosecute the, fine them all of the money they have stolen and send them to jail for the rest of their lives. All we need to do is just keep playing all of his campaign promises and cut to the reality, and keep repeating all of the demeaning, denigrating things Pelosi, Reid and the rest said about the American people last summer and they will be gone.

    December 21, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Ken H.

    To all liberals and democrats supporting this disaterous health care bill, this bird is for you (I'm flipping you off)! You think this thing is great for our nation but the majority of American's think otherwise. Just you wait until the 2010 elections when you will see what real work is about and Conservatives/Republicans take control and get this nation back on track.

    December 21, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Jon

    Glad steele is calling it like he see's it. Hippies have too much power in this country. This health care bill=worst idea ever. True facts...google it.

    December 21, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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