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. WSU1983

    Americans are unemployed because Repubs outsourced our jobs. They sit on their asses here and criticize the Middle Class for not pulling themselves up from their bootstraps and making them more money to stash overseas and avoid taxes.
    This country is broken, it's time for a 3rd party!!

    December 21, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. linda

    i, hope everyone think this bill is great, should be the one that
    paid the higher tax & the one against it shouldn't.

    December 21, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This is kinda funny the governments been giving us the bird every since it was invented maybe one day we can return the favor.

    December 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Florida Joe

    After 8 years of Bush, and all the nonsense the Repubs pulled when in power, Steele is an idiot to complain...............Don't like your own medicine eh?

    December 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    You guys do realize that all of the problems you're whining about are the result of unregulated global capitalism, right? Lehman Brothers, Enron, GM, Blackwater, Bernie Madoff and friends, outsourcing, environmental degradation.... the private sector can't even run an economy but you want them running your healthcare???? Keep your lousy capitalism out of my healthcare. Have a nice day!

    December 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Jerry

    No Michael, they're flipping the bird at you and your obstructionist friends in the GOP.

    About time too.

    December 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. felicia

    What a piece of work this guy is, you haven't seen or heard from steele in awhile. Now that the President is on the verge of reform that's how he respond what a goober.

    December 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. hobart

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    December 21, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. geecee

    Steele – you are such a repugnant jerk. Don't you realize you are a tool? A token tool to be exact. Smarten up and stop talking the party line. You Rethugs wouldn't give Obama or the Dems. credit if they turned the deficit around, brought peace to the entire world, ended all wars, made all our children into intelligent, well-behaved honorable citizens and ended all hunger and homelessness. You would accuse them of putting prisons out of business!!!

    December 21, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. mark

    As an independant, if I didn't know it was Steele saying this I would have guessed it was someone talking about the GOP not doing what the majority of Americans wanted during the time the GOP held the White House and Congress for 6 years straight. The 6 years where nothing at all was accomplished. I also remember the Dems crushed them in the elections after America became fed up with the GOP. The hypocrisy and short memory of the GOP is amazing these days. Yet all they have to offer is the word "No" and cries of "Socialism." What a great platform.

    December 21, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Jim from Seattle

    The GOP preys on the ignorant. That is a fact. People who are poorly educated don't recognize what motivates these political hacks. They are paid to spew misleading sound-bites that rally groups like the Tea Baggers (hilarious nickname). All they want is enough votes so our tax dollars are routed to big oil and the military industrial complex, not the well being of our society as a whole. They don't care about religion, they use religion to insite hatred. Despots. A majority of Americans want heathcare reform, but you won't hear that from FOX News.. to them 30% somehow represents a majority.

    December 21, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Chas in Iowa

    The rethuglicans have a current montra of bringing all legislation to a standstill because they are no longer in charge and they are determined to block any progress in this country until they are back in power.
    They need to wake up to the fact that they lost the last election because so many of us Republicans denounced the neo-con wing nuts and voted for the best man to move America forward.
    The way most Rethugs are acting it will be a cold July before they are back. They would rather run this country into the ground than support anything possitive for middle class America.
    I remember when Rove was running most legislation from K street to serve the special intrests for monitary election support to permanetly place the Rethugs in power. Guess what? It didn't work! Some of us Rebublicans got fed up with business as usual from the Wing nuts on the right.

    December 21, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. WHAT!

    The only reason Steele is where is at is because President Obama . If Obama was not President, Steele would be an un heard of person.

    December 21, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Kamal

    I was a Republican until last night when the DEMS proved that they have a heart!

    Party affiliation aside, we spent huge money on WARS, and never "wished that it ended"; spending fortunes!. But, we cry "COST" when it's time to save millions of American lives through Healthcare.

    Durind WAR, "our favorite", when a soldier is wounded, we risk all we can, to protect him and bring him to a safe location, where he can get medical attention. Why? He is a soldier, a comrade and a fellow American citizen. I mean, we risk ALL to get him, including our lives.

    Back home, when a fellow American citizen is sick and cannot afford medical care, we look the other way, and let him/her die. Nothing to risk, or, it's too "COSTLY"!

    Republicans, get a life... you always praise the military, but when we get back home and our families have no health insurance, what do we get, SNUB!

    I thought, the Republicans are the great Christians, with heart! How wrong, they stuck to thier guns last night, they shot themselves, and not the American people. Bye Republican, may be in the future, there will be a reason to think about your party, for now, I need to care for fellow Americans who are dying everyday, just like we do, at the War front! Genuine care through Health Care.

    DEMS, Americans, it doesn't have to be perfect now! No, it does not have to be! But stop the ridiculous statement about it's cost, but focus on the spirit,it's lives, American lives, let's find ways to fund love and stop the hates or selfish interest!

    Thank you DEMS, Thank you President Obama.. keep working and talking through it, your intentions are Genuine, and YES, You can, now, I believe!!!

    December 21, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. MJ

    We need healthcare reform – just not this monstrosity. We also need to clean house and senate in 2010. Term limits. Term limits. Term limits. This bill has been developed behind closed doors, with numerous bribes, and in the middle of the night. If this issuch a good bill put it out in the open and let everyone read it. Can't blame the republicans if it fails, democrats control the congress. Also, remember that the economy didnot start going south until 2007. Hmmmm, could that be a coincidence??? We are saddling our children and grand children for a bill we cannot afford. The government is in debt over its head and this will add to not subtract from that debt.

    December 21, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. ran

    The GOP of fear, hate, obstructionism is in for a rude awakening come 2010 and 2012 when they lose yet again because we the people want action not talk and definitely no more fear,hate, and obstructionism. The time for gridlock is over and if means we do the peoples' business without the GOP then so be it.

    If Chaney is the poster boy for conservatism then count me out.

    People if you want your country back either vote for a Democrat or an Independent. The Republicans want things to go back to the way they were under Bush and we see what that got us. Never again.

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Ben in Texas

    Steele's tired?

    Well, I'm tired of his sour grapes at being in the losing party and not being able to shutdown the president and put a halt to reform. I'm really tired of the eight years of Repugnant trashing of my country, its reputation, and its economy. I'm tired of Michael Steele shooting his mouth off and offering no constructive alternatives on any challenge and just being an "Uncle Tom" for the old white guys in the Repugnant Party.

    Michael Steele makes me tired.

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Damon

    I'm simply amazed by the ignorance of the people here. Saying Bush did this or the Republicans did this.

    Wake the F' up! The Dems and Repubs voted for the war, and if you get realistic and wake up, you will realize that the Dems actually caused the current economic crisis, with their backing for the CRA, Frannie and Freddie, and have been in power since 2006. This is the Dems fault.

    And to all those who said that the Republicans should have tried to jointly fashion a bill – they tried, all the Dems want is a government run health insurance bill.

    As for those who say the GOP is a party of NO – whose the parrot? The GOP isn't anymore the party of NO than the Dems are. It's just that the GOP understands economics and what this massively defunct bill is going to do to our economy. More entitlements doesn't mean better healthcare or better economy. It just pushes us deeper into debt.

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Bill

    and demoncrats are going to wonder what happened to the economy in 2010. I dont plan to spend an extra dime in 2010 waiting for the Obamacare shoe to drop and increase my taxes. After all, someone has to pay for this

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. johnrj08

    Dear Commenters,

    Michael Steele is not reading your posts here, whether they're personal attacks or compliments about his erudition. In fact, Michael Steele could care less what any of you say about him or his party. He is what is called a "political foot-soldier". He follows orders, and the order of the day is to attack, attack, attack. And, while attacking, you must have a big smile on your face, as if you're only half serious. Steele knows what this is all about. It's about doing everything he can to spread disinformation and incite anger among the Republican base. That is the only hope the GOP has of getting ANY votes in 2010. It takes real anger to motivate people to vote. That's what happened in 2006 and 2008, and it didn't go unnoticed by the Republican Party. Of course, the difference is that voters were responding to an unfortunate set of facts about the Bush administration in those elections. In 2010, the Republicans have to invent false issues in order to anger their semi-literate base. If the people who showed up to vote for Barack Obama in 2008 don't show up in 2010, we will have a totally dysfunctional government that is divided down the middle, incapable of passing any legislation, and with one half being hellbent on destroying the presidency by 2012.

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Vote the Bums Out!

    JD – I totally agree with your last point – if the Congress would work more toward fixing the economy, health insurance wouldn't even be an issue. Instead, they're injecting themselves into our pocketbooks even more. Not to mention the fact that now we'll all get less of the health care we need. Do you think the number of doctors in this country is going to grow overnight to serve the needs of all these people that suddenly come in to the system? Of course not! Less people are going to want to be doctors because they'll be getting paid less to serve more patients. These idiots in Congress are imposing a tax on our medical system that could very well BREAK it. We don't need health insurance reform. We need health CARE reform. There is a huge difference, and these dolts in DC have it all wrong, from the top on down.

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. TFH

    First, the 60 vote Democratic majority is NOT in Congress because it was voted into Congress. (1) 2009 started with 58 Democratic senators. Democrats gained one vote when an ELECTED Republican changed sides (he showed no signs of jumping ship during his last elections, so let's see if Specter is still a Senator after the 2010 elections); (2) the Democrats gained another vote when the MN Supreme Court GAVE the election to Al Franken rather than completing the full recount (where are all the people who cried foul stating that all votes should be counted before the decision was made during the 2000 Elections to "give" George W. Bush the presidency (and, yes, look at the numbers, GWB DID win the majority of votes in FL, hence he won the electoral votes, and thus the election.)); (3) the Democrats gained the final (60th vote) through a gubenatorial appointment when MA LAW WAS CHANGED in the middle of the "game" to allow for a Democrat to replace Ted Kennedy after his passing in August. Therefore, the majority of Americans did not vote for this Congress; rather, it is a conglomeration of "unfortunate" events that led to the 60 vote majority – NOT the American people.

    Second, this bill will do NOTHING to LOWER the costs of healthcare. It is not physically or economically possible. If you have a pool of people to insure one day and the next day that pool doubles, holding the revenue side the same (which is exactly what happens when taxes go up on a portion to pay for the whole while providing subsidies to the majority of Americans that cannot afford healthcare), the price of healthcare has NOWHERE to go but UP!

    Additionally, the cost of this bill will NOT be $1 trillion dollars, but more like $4 trillion before this program even begins.

    What blows my mind, however, is how anyone can wholly and fully believe that the government can effectively run our healthcare system. All one has to do to see how effective the federal government is at operating an entitlement is look at Social Security (BANKRUPT), Medicare (BANKRUPT), Medicaide (BANKRUPT), AmTrack (BANKRUPT), US Postal Service (BANKRUPT), etc.

    Hold on to your wallet, if you still pay taxes, because we are in for a ride!

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Fred

    Perhaps Mr. Steele should learn about representative democracy. Obviously he's confusing rhetoric with governance. Instead of blabbing this rubbish, he should try to get his party elected. When a party WINS an election, as the Democrats did last year, they get to make laws. THAT's representative democracy.

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Chris D.

    Mr. Steele will only benefit from the good things in this bill........There is nothing in this bill to fear.......

    December 21, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. 8 Years of Flipping Birds

    So where was this dude during the Bush-Cheney 8 years? He was keeping quiet while Bush-Cheney flipped more than just a bird to the American people.

    December 21, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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