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. Susan in NC

    Michelle Bachmann is a great "poster child" for the Republican Party! She who was so spiteful, hateful, and negative during the campaign season. Fits right in with Steele, Palin, Pawlenty, Jindal, and the rest - birds of a feather STILL flock together!

    February 27, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. Wynter

    I hear they have installed state of the art Wind Turbines at CPAC to turn all that "hot air" into useable electricity to power Washington D.C. for weeks to come.

    Tomorrow the "giant lightning rod" will go online just in time for some truly big lies to be told. The final installation requires metal ankle bracelets for the Speaker to wear when he states, "May God Strike me down If I am lying!". We expect to power most of the Eastern Seaboard with those whoppers!

    Way to go CPAC! Keep up those renewable resources!

    February 27, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. kgeukes

    Firechick: You have no clue as to who started this mess...it started with Senior bush back in the early 90's. He should have gone to war in 1993 when the ship was attacked and US servicemen were killed. The USS Cole. It was then that he wanted Saddam hussein gotten rid of but that didn't happen until sonny boy got into office. I hope the Rethugs just keep doin' what they are doin'. The Dems will be in power for a very long time.

    February 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    A bunch of disgruntled republicans. If they can come up with some new ideas, maybe they will be relevant. But all I heard from CPAC were the same old talking points and alot of Obama bashing. And what in the wolrd is Joe the Plumber doing there. The GOP is a joke.

    February 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. Angie in Pa

    DA MAN hahaha! Da Man Steele is Not in Reality He is an Idiot! The Republicans are Divided and a Mess I mean with Palin and Jindal the Dems are going to be around for a while Bank on it Da Man! How insulting are the Gop

    February 27, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Accountability

    Steele..."Conservative values are right for America?"

    Selfishness is right for America?
    Elitism is right for America?
    Racism and discrimination is right for America?
    Ripping up the Constitution is right for America?
    Torture is right for America?
    Unilateral war is right for America?
    Spying on its own citizens is right for America?

    February 27, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Enough!

    "We know we did wrong"???

    They didn't say that when it counted. Instead they questioned the patriotism, intellect, & morals of all who opposed them.

    Their fascism will NEVER be forgotten.

    February 27, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. Mickie

    WHAT republican values? They have not limited the size of government; they have not even appointed qualified people to positions (i.e. Brownie's great job during Katrina); they have enriched the good 'ol boy network on the backs of the little guys; they oppose any regulations on their Wall St. buddies; they left America with the biggest deficit ever and now plan to complain about Pres. Obama increasing it; and their zealous right wing nut jobs against abortion are the same ones who are playing footsies in the mens room or with the Pages - GIVE ME ANYONE OTHER THAN A REPUBLICAN WITH THOSE PRINCIPLES!

    February 27, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. BC

    Yeah, yeah – as long as the GOP continues to be be so frightened of the right wing lunatic fringe that they refuse to stand up to them, they've lost the votes of normal Americans that used to be Republicans.

    February 27, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. demwit

    As the economy takes off..., the republicans future dwindles.

    February 27, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Oregon

    Yea, and Slumdog Jindal thinks his speech the other night was "just fine and dandy".

    These repugs are just talking to themselves. They have no hope. They simply do not get it.

    They ADMIT they were 'bad' for what they've done or didn't do over the last 8 (or more) years – but now we should trust them? Now they are conservatives? Now they are responsible?

    They're not sorry for anything they've done – they're just sorry they've all been exposed in broad daylight.

    I think it will be a very very very very very long time before another Republican is elected to the White House.

    February 27, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  12. slickingdom

    It's those values that made you go bad !! No one but the GOP wants to
    go back to those George W. Busch years. Steele is "da man" alright....
    token enough to try to get people to believe those antiquated ideas of
    the GOP.

    February 27, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Pres. Obama

    Of course they'll look much better next year.

    February 27, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. P. Y.

    WOW ! When the Repugs try to gain votes by talking as if they are part of the " hood " they are doing a great disservice to the black population as a whole. All it does is carry on the stereotype that some folks have of blacks. Black people are trying to educate their children and stop this nonsense and along come the Repugs trying to hang onto it. idiots ! This is not going to help their party at all.

    February 27, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Had It

    John McCain less than a year ago - ".... the fundamentals of our economy are sound .... "

    They are all full of hot air – but they have medical coverage and a guaranteed retirement income.

    Something's wrong when the people paying THEIR salaries are out of jobs and going broke.

    February 27, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. Tim, Seattle WA

    There only way back for them is to be more moderate. No change going to the right is going to work.

    I have always been a left-of-center guy, but I could be persuaded if the GOP became more center-right,

    – They need to embrace green energy over fossil fuels.period

    – Get behind Universal healtcare and come up with a market based alternative

    – Reject your hard right wing as the party of the past.

    – Come to the table with different ideas. You dont have any right now

    February 27, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Angie in Pa

    Seems to Me The Gop are trying to Relate to Children, Teenagers, First Palin Trys to Insult Our Intelligence,Then Jindal speaks to us Like were 5 Year olds. Now there trying to use Hip Hop Language WHAT A JOKE GIVE IT UP GOP! HAHAHAH What Idiots

    February 27, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  18. Streamwood Bill

    In other words Steele is saying, "Don't worry, be happy." He doesn't understand that many of the core values of which he is proud mean little to parents who have little to no income and can't feed their children.

    Michael Steele is demonstrating time and time again that he is not the man who will bring the GOP back to being a relevant politcal force. We Republicans need new thinking and new ways to tackle problems. He still doesn't understand that 1980s solutions have little to no effect on 21st century issues.

    ... and Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

    February 27, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Maggie

    Republicans aren't 'conservative' anymore.

    They're authoritarian.

    BIG difference.

    February 27, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. Fritz

    To firechick907: Unfortunately, what you do know is not correct.
    I suggest reading Michael Lewis' article The End on the economic crisis on portfolio dot com December 2008 issue. It is a great read, very entertaining and very insightful.

    By keeping interest rates too low for too long post 2001, the Federal Reserve overstimulated the housing market. With the widespread use of Adjustable Rate Mortgages, when these mortgages "reset" to higher rates (typically 5 years after they were taken out), the borrowers faced difficulties paying their new monthly payments. Both those who gave the loans and those who took these loans are to blame.

    Bush relaxed regulations on Fannie and Freddie and allowed these quasi governmental agencies to buy lower quality mortgages (or grouped mortgages) – the banks could then sell these loans quickly and no longer cared about the underlying quality of the loan as much as to whether the loan conformed to a series of criteria that could be packed and sold on to the market.

    Banks are not required to lend who cannot afford to pay them back – this is simply not true. If you are trying to reference the Community Reinvestment Act that was from 1977. The banks were lending to questionable people because it was profitable for them to do so – commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies all made very nice fees from the mortgages and their securitizations.

    If you are looking for a Clinton era initiative to blame, the one to consider is the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 – which allowed Citibank and Travelers to merge. This allowed commercial banks and investment banks to merge. When times were good and investment banks were reaping profits, the banking system benefitted from additional equity in the banks and additional lending took place. When the stock market fell, highly levered banks with proprietary trading operations saw their equity get crushed.

    As banks have equity requirements which affect their lending abilities, with less equity, the banks are able to lend less. Furthermore, the risk models that the national banks were using, typically did not predict a countrywide collapse in home prices. As such, the banks' falling equity limited the banks ability to lend.

    I hope this helps clear up some of the misconceptions – do read the Michael Lewis article – it is great.

    February 27, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. Kurt in Oregon

    My bad?

    Oh god, the cojones on these idiots is incredible.

    You have a lot more atoning to do than that Repubs.

    "Mistakes were made" eh? This is a non-apology.

    I hope the Repubs suffer even greater losses next election cycle. Then, it might dawn on them most American's aren't buying any more of their BULL.

    February 27, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. Jerzjen

    The true Republican intelligencia were somewhere throwing up while CPAC was doing its thing. The display of racist materials, and comments from so called leaders (referring to the comment of a nuclear missing hitting Chicago), is not going to draw anyone to the Republicans. They say they want to bring other people in, and will respect other views. But every chance they get, we see the real picture. The last thing they want is to respect peoples differences. The intelligencia is hoping they can push Newt Gingrich. He the only one that can get the crazies back in the jar. Newt lets them out to vote, and then puts them back. Right now, the hatred for America (comparing themselves to the Taliban – an enemy to this country), the contempt for human life (hoping people catch aids and die, etc) being displayed by the Republicans is frightening!

    February 27, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. Ellie

    The Republican party is just fine huh?

    Michael Steele and the Republican Leadership in Washington must all be smoking off the same "delusional" pipe. To make such an idiotic statement just proves how backwards the RNC and its leaders continues to be.

    Steele seriously confirms he's nothing but the "token black puppet" brought in to counteract President Obama's historic achievements. NOT. BIG, BIG MISTAKE when the RNC has a strong and undeniable southern history of "segregated" mentality excluding ALL minorities for decades.

    It also explains the fact that the RNC clearly is in a constant state of cluelessness. They don't and can't seem to come up with a SOLUTION to their own crappy economic mess!!!

    The RNC and GOP go around creating chaotic destructions, but NEVER EVER provide any solutions to their own generated problems. They are incompetent beyond words!!

    It's truly the party of the BLIND LEADING THE BLIND. Sad, so sad.

    February 27, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Wanda

    So... are they out looking for Joe the Plumber to lead them again - looks like back to Square 1 to me -
    why can't America realize that if we don't accept these changes to stir us in a different direction we will be just GM - didn't listen - didn't change course - didn't move forward - BROKE AND LEFT BEHIND - COME ON AMERICA - GET IT - AND CNN BY GOD WHAT IS UP WITH THE REPUB'S PRESS - HAVE YOU NO SHAME.......................

    February 27, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. Sabreen60

    I'm glad Steele is chairperson. He's no different than Keyes. Lets bring Palin too. After reading about the racist 0bama 'cereal' they are openingly selling, the repubs are only displaying their true nature. All they need are sheets and hoods. Oh, they have them – they just didn't bring them.

    February 27, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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