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

Steele to CPAC: The Republican party is just fine

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/08/art.steelelogo0208.gi.jpg caption="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. east tx

    So, I keep reading that Michael Steele is a "token" for the republicans and that he is in place to try and steal some of President Obama's thunder, i.e. the minority vote, but as a young conservative I agree with him. I don't want him to get ahead because I think he is gonna sway some voters by his skin color, I want him because I disagree with most liberal policies and so does he.

    I would like someone to tell me where it has been written that republicans are narrow minded and bigots. I think that I could sit down with most of you all and have a discussion, I am sure in the end we would agree to disagree, but the demonizing on both sides is out of control. At least that is my take.

    February 26, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  2. Dennis

    So all they have to do is say " we nearly destroyed the american economy with our policies as well as got us into what could have been an endless war for no reason and stomped on the constitution as well as all the miriad of other things we've done but oh well MY BAD AND WE'RE SORRY! " Then these idiots think we're dumb enough to just let them go back to doing what they've been doing all along and it will be fine!

    February 26, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. gobama

    God i hope this guy never goes away. lets talk ebonics thats how we get them to vote for us

    February 26, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. Fay Tx

    @ Glenn February 26th, 2009 10:25 pm ET
    Steele's ignorance is obviously spreading to the rest of the GOP…"you be da man.... Ignorant ** You are soooo Right!!
    @Steele- Better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    February 26, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. JonDie

    Steele. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah

    February 26, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  6. Dan in Chicago

    I love how they're sucking up to/stealing ideas from Ron Paul and his supporters... Sure, now they come around to say they were wrong and we need to get back to our principles... Sure, now they call for a "revolution."

    The problem is, I still don't believe them. I need to see proof... they've lost their credibility on their principles (except for a few like Ron Paul). They can get my attention when they start to adopt some more of his ideas and open up to his supporters.

    February 26, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  7. Xavier

    Yes, the republican party is doing just fine. The further down its falls into the gutter the better as far as I am concerned. The only good republican, is a republican that is out of office.

    February 26, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  8. No Incumbents 2010

    @ American Patriot: Repukes should be banned from this country and deported. That would be "just fine" for true and loyal Americans!

    Who would pay the bills?

    February 26, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  9. Wolf-Woman Palin Charlotte, NC

    You are absolutely correct... "it is just fine." Please don't change a thing. Stay just as out-of-touch, marginalized, regionalized, exclusive, irrelevant and negative as you are now. Do not change your culture positions; please continue to remain disconnected to minorities. In a couple of years, you will have disappeared!

    February 26, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. Steve

    Republicans are still out of touch with 95% of America. All I hear is complaining about Obama and what he is trying to do. I have not heard one solution from the republicans. Maybe they should spend some time doing thier job and trying to come up with some solutions to our current economic crisis instead of getting paid by the taxpayers to complain. The republicans are the ones who got us into this mess in the first place.

    February 26, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  11. Get Real!!

    To the hateful, vile democrats, you talk like your party is the next best thing since sliced bread! Do you forget you have the devil spawn in your party?? Remember Pelosi and Reid? Oh yeah, don't forget Franks, Dodd, and Schumer. And as for talking out of both sides of their mouths, have you been listening to Obama? That boy needs to learn to stop lying to the American People.

    February 26, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  12. Independent in Boston

    As a long standing inedpendent I try to be open minded and listen to all points of view but this is really getting absurd. Is the Republican Party no longer capable of hearing what is being said by their own members? Obama didn't win because he was black, he won because he offered a new perspective, beating out the "heir apparent" of his own party. Palin is a fool, Jindhal is becoming a fool, and Steele is clueless. "Traditional values"? How about listening to what the majority of Americans are saying: WE WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Trickle down economics, tax cuts, and military spending don't work anymore! Conservative spending? How about the nearly $700 BILLION spent in Iraq, most of it borrowed from China, and for what? Saddam is gone, big deal. What difference does that make in the world? And why was that expenditure OK but spending the same amount on AMERICAN SOIL is somehow irresponsible? I've noticed that the media keeps refering to Obama's first term. Perhaps this is subconscious recognition of the fact that there will be a second. If the Republicans keep doing what they are doing they will be lucky if they have any seats left in four years. I can't wait for the story lines in 2012: Joe the Plumber dukes it out with Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindhal for the opportunity to be slaughtered by Obama.

    February 26, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  13. Arzell

    Mister Steel: you're trying to appeal to the new generation with dried-up slang but ridicule the use of current technology. Please explain.

    February 26, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  14. cooper

    so the plan is to utterly destroy the last dregs of the GOP by pandering to the segments of the voting population that will never, ever vote for you?
    even if halloween becomes a 365 day a year celebration, we will still be able to see through your 'look at me – i'm a democrat' costumes.

    you won't get our candy. (but you might get some cookies to go with that spoiled milk you keep spewing)

    please continue providing comic relief during these difficult times...

    February 26, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  15. Nevada dude

    W said it best"
    fool me once shame on you
    fool me twice– er um....
    see if you fool me once then you cant fool me again!

    February 26, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  16. Jim in Bisbee

    Basically it's "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.”

    So, I'm to understand this means they're going in the same wrong-headed direction they were going even though they know it's wrong?

    Talk about South-going Zax on the Plain of Prax.

    February 26, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  17. Ravi

    Lol, keep on dreaming Mr. Steele. As long as you think that going back to your "conservative policies" are going to revive the GOP, you're going to keep getting disappointed.

    President Obama won more than 2/3 of the electoral votes (popular vote is irrelevant, since we're a federation of sovereign states and not a unitary state), so obviously most of the folks out there do not want your so-called conservative policies.

    February 26, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  18. John Sim

    "I would like someone to tell me where it has been written that republicans are narrow minded and bigots. "

    Go to google.com and search "Sarah Palin rally"

    February 26, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. John

    Other than a couple new faces, looks like you're going to run the same candidates through "One More Time" in 2012. Pickn's are Slim HUH!
    (Refried Repugs) guess you could say.

    February 26, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  20. ROC

    OK superfly

    February 26, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  21. Proud Yankee

    Wasn't it Jesse Watts' father who said; " A black man voting Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Saunders"? Yes it was. Sorry to say, the fact is that this man is just a pawn in the Republican game. Nothing more.

    February 26, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  22. Say what?

    Well, what else could Steele say? That our party is the laughing stock of the world? The spokesmen of our party are Palin, Limburgh and Joe the Plumber, Oh wait, he's not really a plumber and his name is not Joe and he's not very knowledgable but we have him speak for us anyway. One of the stars of our party sounds like Mr. Rogers and took a sudden trip to Disney World. We're LOSERS!

    February 26, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  23. Hannah Stevens

    I am so pleased that President Obama is addressing the health care problem, education the economy, infrastructure and global warming. If McCain had won we would be spending all of our money fighting Iran by now. You all have noticed that the war rhetoric has calmed down. President Obama is winding down the Iraq war and will solve the problems in Afghanistan. He is a thinking person and will lead this country out of the horrible mess that the bush/cheney regime got us into.

    February 26, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  24. Lolly, CO

    “the conservative movement must become a revolution,” and the goal “must be nothing less than the transformation of America.”

    ... from the America conservatism created?

    February 26, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  25. Cali Girl

    the goal “must be nothing less than the transformation of America.”

    What, back to the Stoneage?

    February 26, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
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