December 21st, 2009
06:32 PM ET
9 years ago

Steele: Dems 'flipping a bird to the American people'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. RepublicansSuck

    What a bunch of cry baby loosers. Republicans are the party of obstruction and basically just need to be shot.

    December 21, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. KaninZ

    "How dare they pass this Bill that the American public elected them to pass and that we worked as hard as possible to turn into a TARP giveaway to our Insurance lobby constituents!"

    Steele needed a little translation to fill in the truth between the lines.

    December 21, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. really???

    Seriously? have any of you "experts" for or against read this bill. Neither have I. And I'm guessing neither have the people we elected to PROTECT OUR RIGHTS.

    Each party has their agenda. The Dems have the numbers to push their agenda. Next time maybe it will be the Republicans.

    Calling each other names won't solve the issues we face. Just like throwing $785 billion didn't create jobs. We should be getting people back to work, stabilizing the economy, completing our missions in Afghanistan and Iran, and taking care of our elderly and vets.

    God Bless America

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

    Mr. Steele forgets that over 60% of the American people voted for change and for Health Care. Mr. Steele and Republicans stand for got zero plans! Republicans represent Corporate America and not the average working family.

    The Republicans are just bunch of cry babies!!!

    December 21, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Chas in Iowa

    Actually they are flipping the bird to the right wingnuts and corporate special intrests groups in favor of American's intrests. It's refreshing for a change.

    December 21, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. simp

    Fritz in Texas "lets just hope we can clean up the damage the democrats are doing" Are you serious? well i tell you. It's going to take more than the 8 years President Obama has to clean up the mess you and your republician idiots made, but at least it will be a whole lot better than what the republicians left President Obama

    December 21, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Rob

    Steele should be ecstatic about the health bill. I read the doctor's lobby (AMA), the insurance company's lobby and the pharmaceutical's lobby are all making statements about how terrific it is. This would indicate to me that while they are celebrating we, the unrepresented middle class, are either getting the bird or have already got it. Frankly I don't see where the Republicans or Democrats ever jumped in to save me. I never got squat from them, NEVER.

    Until Americans have a third and fourth political party we will continue to get the bird from Legislative and Executive Branch regardless of who is in control. K Street dictates to the government, American citizens don't.

    December 21, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. Damon

    @Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    I would rather capitalism work than the bloated government bureaucracy that we have now. They can't do anything good, much less right.

    Some regulations are needed, yes, but the government take over isn't the answer.

    December 21, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Marcus Greensboro, NC

    If I could cuss on this site I would. Most Americans want health care reform. We just do not agree on what that reform should be. Republicans have not come up with anything meaningful during the whole debate. Selling across state lines is ridiculous because most of the insurance companies are already in multiple states. Also, tort reform would not make a huge dent in the cost of health insurance. It would just reduce the cost of malpractice insurance for doctors. I am for the Medicare for all, but I see we will not get that right now. People who have medicare and medicaid have no problem with having it, but it is odd they have an issue with anyone else having it that can not get it.

    December 21, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. jimtranr in OR

    Strikes me, Mr. Steele, that it was a Republican, Tom Coburn, who inartfully tried to flip a Byrd with his tasteless prayerful plea on the Senate floor. And Coburn's a physician–whose first rule of practice is supposed to be "do no harm." I can think of no more eloquent testament to the level to which the "Grand" Old Party has sunk–and under your nominal leadership, at that.

    December 21, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Independent in OH

    Anyone here who thinks the Dems are self serving in this case is a fool. Every poll (and I've seen at least 6) show the public is not in favor of this bill.

    So the idiots that say a majority elected Dems for this are using an argument with a false premise.

    And people still forget Obama only won 54% of the vote – hardly a landslide.

    In my opinion, it's just disillusionment and denial for Dems – if they say they don't like something Obama does, they'll have been wrong all along. But it does seem like the KoolAid is wearing off the general public.

    December 21, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. notfooledbydistractions

    Actually, I think it's the republican party that has issued double-fisted flip offs to the American public. They have deliberately chosen not to do the work they were elected to do. They have deliberately chosen to put the republican party ahead of the common good. Instead of resolving the problems created in most part by republican ideology, they have chosen to stand on the sidelines and complain. They have deliberately chosen to obstruct and destroy the Obama presidency, all the while damaging the country.

    If anyone is being flipped off, it should be the American public flipping off the republican party.

    December 21, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Steele said Monday he is "honored" to work with "grassroots activists, tea partiers

    it is a good thing that you feel 'honored' working with the lunatic Birthers and Tea Partiers because the GOP is going to boot your arse so far and so quickly once Obama leaves office (in 2016) that you'll have a lot of free time to spend with your newly found friends in the far, far, right fringe. Let's see how "honored" you'll feel then Erkel.

    December 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Kevin Cantu

    Micheal Steele just need to STHU....Hey Mr. Steele here's me flipping the Bird to you and the Republican party...How do you like them apples huh?!?The Rush Limbaugh apologist strikes again....Way to go!!!

    December 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. John

    "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."

    Unless of course, someone in the family wants an abortion, because then, of COURSE the government knows better than "me and my family." What hypocrites.

    December 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Leslie Song

    P.S. All those who call the democrats 'the elites' need to take a second look. Obama worked his way up from a single mom-led home. Bush was an oil millionaire who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. John McCain? He is one of the richest men in the senate. He is ROLLING in money. The republicans are mostly millionaires and they represent the millionaires – but they try to pretend they are 'of the people' and it is nothing but a LIE. AND there are as many working class people in New York City and on the East coast as any other part of America – so I am really sick of people saying that only the south is the real America or only Montana is the land of 'the people.' Stop trying to rewrite history. The Bush family were oil millionaires, all of them. Cheney is a zillionaire. The Clintons were middle class people who worked hard. They were not born rich. And just because somebody worked hard in school and did their homework (unlike Palin) and knows how to rub two sentences together does not make them part of an evil cabal of elites who we should hate on sight.

    December 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. Ben

    Insults fly. I sit and wonder. I agree with the Satan poem. I do not blindly follow a man who thinks he made idol of himself. No one is denied care in America!! But they will be under a one policy who doesn't see the need to save you because it is too expensive. The common people may not be able to afford it, but what about payment plans used with TARP or better yet paid directly out of Health Savings Account with little interest? Get government out of it.

    Has anyone thought if it goes into affect, 1/6th of the economy is taken over and we will spiral into a depression? All the healthcare insurance employees will be out of a job eligible for requiring the gov insurance thus greating a bigger burden and even a bigger deficit. Think long term people! A great reckoning will be coming!

    December 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Lindy

    Everyone, just remember your comments on this blog. And be willing to defend them in 10 years.

    December 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Drew

    Why are people rejoicing about the fact that in 2010 we can vote all the democrats out and vote all the republicans in and get this country "back on track."

    First of all Republicans were in control of the White House for the past 8 years. It wasn't until 2006 that Democrats gained back Congress. So explain to me how we were on the right track for those years. Explain to me how this country was prosperous and happy. What delusional world were you living in?

    You had your shot and you screwed it up royally. Now granted things are still a mess, but how is it supposed to all be fixed in 1 year when it took at least 8 years to screw it up? At least this president is trying to fix the domestic issues instead of raging war and trying to rebuild 2 countries that absolutely hate us.

    Where was Bush during Katrina? Where was Bush during the recession that started under his watch? Where was Bush when our bridges were falling down? Where was Bush when people were losing their jobs and health insurance?

    Take a long hard look at the early half of this decade and how awful things were under the watch of the Republicans and explain to me how they are going to get this country "back on track"

    December 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. John McLain

    Steele could not be more wrong. His ludicrous comment could easily supplant Palin's "death panels" remark as the biggest lie of 2009. Republicans historically have opposed virtually every social program to benefit regular people. The GOP is all for the rich. It has no social conscience.

    December 21, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Patriot

    I am a life-long Dem, but if this bill becomes law I am turning Independent and only voting for Independent candidates.

    This bill rewards the private insurance companies with 30 million new customers who will be forced to buy insurance without competition from a public option. If they don't buy it, they will be penalized with higher taxes. What kind of reform is that?

    The insurance industry will make more profits, and they'll keep lining the pockets of Congress in order to protect those profits. Do you really think Congress is going to prevent the insurance industry from raising premiums? Yeah, right.

    Also, the White House lobbied against an amendment that would've allowed Americans to buy cheaper prescription drugs from other countries. Again, what kind of reform is that? Whose side are they on?

    This is not the change I voted for. Obama and the Dems need to grow a set. If they can't, it's up to our Reps in the House. If they vote for this, I'm done with the Dems, I'm done with both parties. They are all corrupt, and this bill proves it.

    December 21, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. uncle ellsworthey

    @ Randolph Carter
    Your right you are no expert, thats rather obvious. Just wait until the elections next year, you will be talking out of the other side of your mouth. A whole bunch of Democrats are going to be gone and your supposed leader will be gone in 2012 as well. There is no way he can wen reelection now. It makes no difference who runs against him, he's done.

    December 21, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Vets4Obama

    tom December 21st, 2009 4:27 pm ET

    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....
    If you look up your history, genius, you would know it's because.....wait for it....
    Republicans Opposed it, FIFTY YEARS ago. Just like they were against Social Security, Medicare, Better working hours, better working conditions, civil rights, better benefits for our vets.....etc, etc, etc.

    Look it up, you will be amazed at how much progress the republicans have ALWAYS been opposed to. Then again, I think I recall you republicans aren't all that smart in the head area when it comes to READING.

    December 21, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Jason

    How is giving underprivileged Americans who are not covered with health care "flipping them the bird"? As usual Mr. Steele you are not making any sense!

    December 21, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. PaulMoATX

    Well said johnrj08, well said my friend.

    December 21, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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