December 21st, 2009
06:32 PM ET
3 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. Shawn

    We all know Republicans hate America and Americans. I mean...these are people praying for America to fail because they LOST an election.

    Unfortunately, a handful of Democrats are so corrupt that they act like Republicans. They think insurance company scam money is more important than the American people - who OVERWHELMINGLY

    December 21, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Bill

    Michael, your party has been flipping the bird to Americans since Nixon. Shut your pie hole.

    December 21, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. David

    Bend over America, the votes needed were bought and I SWEAR I WILL NOT shed one single tear for any liberal who loses a family member or friend due to rationing from this bill, MARK MY WORDS. You are getting every bit of what you are asking for.

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

    If most people posting used their brain instead of spouting what the talking heads on fox and AM radio say we could get something done! Oh I forgot it is party before country......anyone saying it will break the country and raise your taxs and all the other lies, death panles and all your other crap I say PROVE IT or shut up and sit down!!!!Personaly I think we should have a single payer system ,problem solved,prove it wrong!!!

    December 21, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Grizzly

    This is a bad bill. It forces people to buy insurance from private health insurers without providing any competition. It's just another gift to the health insurance industry, and if it becomes
    law neither Obama nor the Dems will ever get my vote again.

    I had high hopes for Obama, but he lacks the guts to fight for his principles. Both parties are corrupt and beholden to the special interests, and this bill proves it.

    We need to get rid of them all and start over with some decent people of character, integrity, and guts.

    December 21, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Brian

    Oh, he must mean flipping "THE" bird....leave it up to a Republican to screw up even the most common expressions.

    December 21, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Tristan

    Right on Michael! The last thing the American people want is to be healthy. Lets all dig deep and see if we can't find some money to donate to the poor heath insurance corporations.

    December 21, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Ken in Mt

    The Republicans don't like the legislation? so why could they not get involved in the propcess and do some compromising to get some of what they wanted in the bill?
    Just saying that they won't compromise their positions means that they will never get anything accomplished in a system based from day one on compromise. You have to give to get in this world. in the words of "Les Mis" " Nothing gets you nothing, everything has got a little price"

    December 21, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. a voter

    Hi Steele: Now you and the other folks on the RNC can finally get affordable health insurance. You can even choose a plan that bans abortion, but pays for your Viagra.

    You should be proud of the achievements.

    December 21, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Key Mike, here's a clue, the GOP has not done any better for the American people in the last 100 years. And for Dick and " freedom works" your part of the problem as well. Both of you stop the lies and start re-storing the constitution again.
    Where are the choices? Where do the American voters look to for relief from the out of control Congress and the size of the government and the size of the debt? Who do we trust? The Democrats? The GOP? No both of these parties are no longer representing the people. Both of these parties are bought and paid for by the Special interest groups, PACs, Unions, Wall Street, banking, global Corporations are all contributing billions to re-election funds that undermine the people's representation.
    I say in 2010 ask who is funding you representative? Look to see where the money is coming from? If the money comes from outside your district then who do you think they will represent if they are re-elected or elected? We need to bring these professional politicians back into line. We will demand that you run on the sweat and money from individual contributions from within your district only.

    December 21, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. LacrosseMom

    Really, Mr. Steele? I believe the Republicans have been doing this for the last eight years!

    Bush lies, Bush bails out Wall Street & Banks, Bush hides the cost of the wars, if this is not flipping the bird at the People what is?

    And now, the Republicans continue! By obstructing every single initiative the president & Congress we elected has tried to do!

    No, Mr. Steele, its not the Dems flipping the bird its the GOP!

    December 21, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. architectforobama

    For all you conservative commentators claiming to be so well informed on healthcare, I am shocked and dismayed at how many of you consistently misuse the word (there and their). How can one be led to believe that you have read the hundreds of pages in legislation contained within this bill when the majority of you have trouble writing at a 5th grade level. Leave the policy making to the informed and educated, or at least inform your comments with some substantive claims based on fact, not what you heard on FOX news.

    December 21, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "This bill will not tell his family (those poor souls) how to handle their healthcare. "

    That doesn't matter. He said it, so his base will believe it...then shout it in our faces while saying other compltely inaccurate things about it being "soshulizms!" and "unconstitutional" etc. etc. Those of us, myself included, who get upset that these GOPers/neoclowns don't care what the truth is and just fabricate whatever they can willy-nilly to scare and anger their minions....we need to remember that the only reason we beat them out is because we mobilized last year. Resting on our laurels already allowed the health care reform bill to be watered down by the Dems with no backbone.

    Whose the idiot here? The lazy, good for nothing unemployed boob teabagger traveling across the country standing around with a sign amongst 50 other idiots instead of having a job or the attorney working hard to earn his keep who believes he should give back to his fellow citizens to support a healthy society and so be it if he has to pay a little more?

    December 21, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Rob

    I love to read these comments...just truly shows how ignorant the majority of Americans are to what is going on in this country today. Start educating yourselves and stop listening to (and reciting) talking points....you might learn something!

    December 21, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. Peter

    "Just wait until 2010 and 2012, when we throw these bums out." Okay. So, what happens then? Republicans take over, again, and we have a repeat of 2000 – 2008. Please tell me what was so wonderful about that era. As an independent who has voted for both parties simply by choosing the lesser of two evils for the past 30+ years, I am sick and tired of the useless two-party system we have in this country. Both parties share some common traits. Both put party first over country. As soon as elected, both are engaged only in re-election. One party gets in, the other obstructs. I would have thought that having Obama in the White House would bring about a rebuilding of an effective Republican opposition, but all we are getting are the fringe, wing-nut tea-baggers, the same old wind-bags like Dick Cheney, and new wind-bags like Palin. I would really like to see a Cheney/Palin victory in 2012. Maybe then we would see an organized opposition that would be interested in acting responsibly, according to the will of the people, instead of just obstructing. Yeah, sure.

    December 21, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Leslie Song

    EXCUSE ME? Last I looked, millions of democrats BEAT the republicans to give us Obama and control of the house and senate by a WIDE margin. Hello? WE WANT HEALTH CARE REFORM. We VOTED for it. The people flipping birds are the party of NO who try to block every single good thing Obama and the democrats want to do – filling the air with lies and propaganda to scare people. I do not want to continue to live in a country where giant corporations get all the rights, all the perks, an all the bailouts. I want the American people to have access to reasonable health care at a reasonable price and that is what the democrats are TRYING to bring – NO help from the republicans who seem to feel their duty is to protect the poor pathetic billionaires of America from having to share with the rest of us by paying taxes and living by the rules we all have to live by. And by the way, if the republicans don't like 'government run health care' maybe they should give up their special health care perks provided by our government and paid for by the tax payers. HYPOCRITS!

    December 21, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. adods

    What a class act! NOT!

    December 21, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Frank

    Steele would rather make it clear that his party is "flipping the bird" at the 46 million of his fellow Americans who have no health insurance. Most of them hourly wage workers or involutnarily unemployed. Nice, Michael. Nice. You are quite The Man. Merry Christmas.

    December 21, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. LN

    When you can't even stand up to a radio show host? who's listening to you, Michael Steele? I guess Dick Armey is taking over? now?

    December 21, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Susan

    Maybe we got "flipped the bird" but it is better than the way we got "nerfed" by the previous administration.

    December 21, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Teena

    So now this guy and his conies are whining–does he think GWBush was not flipping us off when he lied, yes lied to the American people to justify a war?! Wheree was the whining then from the Party of No/

    December 21, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Alex

    If this bill were to be voted on by the people, it would not pass because of it's absolute idiocy. So why then would the congress vote for this insane bill when they haven't even read it themselves and don't fully understand it? Because the Dems have the majority, and this bill gives them more power over the people, which is exactly what they want. I believe that this president, and this congress, controlled by Nancy Pelosi will go down as the most corrupt in U.S. history. The stimulus what just the start, by the time I'm out of college, I doubt I'll even be allowed to choose what toothbrush I can buy.

    December 21, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Paul in NH

    Amazing – the 40 Republican senators that have been in the way the whole time are flipping the bird at all of us – how does it get to the point where a single senator can essentially bring the Senate to a grinding halt!

    What about the total hypocracy of the Reps stalling the Defense Bill to continue their stall and delay tactics on this bill – if the Dems did that they'd be hung out to dry as unpatriotic by not supporting the troops

    If it wasn't for the 60 votes needed to get past the Red Bloc of senators, we'd have a much better bill – instead it had to be watered down to pander to various 'conservatives' that are in the pockets of the insurance companies.

    I challenge you to come up with a SINGLE bill during the Bush Admin that helped working people – No Child Left Behind? – underfunded.
    Medicare Prescriptions? payoff to the drug companes. Privatizing Social Security – imagine if we had done that?? If we had spent the Trillion $$ we've put into Iraq into helping our fellow Americans, we would have been better off – instead the Halliburtons and Blackwaters made billions off the taxpayer, added to the deficit, and the Republicans stood by and did NOTHING!

    We need to elect MORE Democrats in 2010 so that we can do the business of this country instead of posturing for the next election and bring the change we really need.

    December 21, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. tom

    Hello Tim in NYC
    I'm flipping the bird to you .....hope you can see it , but than I beleive you are blind like the Democrats who voted for the health bill.
    If this is so good for the american people why wasn't it passes 50 years ago ..... you dumb a....

    December 21, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. gt

    obama...,, reid . and .nancy,, and the other henchman,,, are putting so much red ink on this country we will never get out of this mountain of debt,,,,

    December 21, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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