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. marcus (seattle)

    that is SOOO funny... and, what does michael steele consider the republican party having wasted a trillion dollars on a war in iraq that we should NEVER have gotten in to ?? or, the republicans leaving office with the economy worse than it's been in 80 years ?? or, the republican sitting in the white house while terrorists were flying airplanes into our skyscrapers ?? no one has flipped off the american people more than the republican party for the past 8 years..

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

    If anyone is flipping a bird it's Mr Steele and the GOP. President Obama and most of the Dems campaigned last year on a platform including health care reform. They won. It's time for the GOP to shut up and get out of the way. The people did speak and voted the GOP out. The have NO plan, NO ideas and did NOTHING about health care reform in the time they had power.

    Move over Mr Steele, the tide is turning for America and I think it's about time.

    December 21, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Retired US Army Officer-Kansas

    It appears that it is the GOP flipping something at the American people. A total refusal to provide meaningful participation in the development of this legislation, the spreading of fear over this legislation and the absolute joy exhibited, by forcing the partisan infighting that has occurred with the legislation presents a very negative picture of the GOP to Americans. Steele and the RNC don't care about what Americans want or what is good for Americans, they only care about what they see as being good for themselves and those special interests that they have aligned themselves with.

    December 21, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Sam

    I wish this on EVERY person – be it a politician OR a common man – who opposes health care reform –
    (a) May you lose your job AND
    (b) May you or your loved one get sick (ever so slightly, just to give you a jolt)
    and then come back and tell me, you liked what America has to offer in its current state for health care. Also tell me how you took care of it!

    December 21, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. ATL Guy

    As President Obama said, "You would think some people would have some shame."

    December 21, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Tanbiker2

    No, no. The Democrats are not insulting the voters, they are just flipping the bird to the Republicans who richly deserve it.

    December 21, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Dave of Oregon

    Steele is correct! The Democrat Party is flipping the bird to the people of this country but Steele probably approves of this but is disingenuously not approving of this bill. The Republicans would have done nothing about the health care issue. Steele is taking advantage of a situation which he probably likes but wishes to advance the GOP position. The GOP would have done nothing but wants to gain some sympathy concerning the bad state of affairs the health care issue places this country. The DEMS are looking a lot like the REPUBS but are not quite there yet even though both parties are well paid for by the corporations!

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

    Armey a man of principle? That's why he hasn't read the bill but keeps telling people what's in it? The man is paid by the insurance companies to lie. That's some principle there.

    December 21, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. tim nyc

    STEELE AND ARMEY....ARE WE KIDDING? btw if you already have health insurance it won't affect you and your family–this is working towards those who don't have coverage and will help to bring down the cost of medicine in america over the next 20 years so it doesn't bankrupt us .

    Hey Steele–can you see me ? I'm flipping you the bird.

    December 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Chas in Iowa

    I'm again reminded that most Repub wing nuts don't have a clue.

    "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."

    This bill is about controlling costs and providing care for the 40 million people left out of the health care forum because we cannot afford to eat and pay for the insurance available. This guy has to remember that we are all not as privillaged as he is.

    December 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. EDDIE

    Well if he say's it's bad for America than it must be the right thing.

    December 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Eit Etpimu

    Steele understates the Congressional arrogance. They are not just giving us the finger, They are willfully intent on harming the U. S. A. and its citzens. Obamacare will for decades exemplify how a gerrymandered, incumbent heavy Congress has become irredeemably hypocritical, selfish, greedy and corrupt.

    December 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Marie

    Oh for goodness sakes – get on a Reality TV Show already.

    I'm an American, and I'm happy someone has the cojones to address this issue finally. I say the Dems are brave to to what is right (even if they could have done MORE) in spite of a loud obnoxious segment of people who are either ignorant, selfish, greedy, or all of the above.

    December 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Karen

    So what is new? The elite have always thought they knew what was best for the common people. They are so out of touch with the people they represent. I hope we can show them the door next election.

    December 21, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Jamie

    That's right. Democrats have contempt for the American people. That's why they're trying to make sure all of us have health care.

    Steele is an idiot. Why does CNN give him a platform?

    December 21, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. sumday

    come 2010 I'm voting for anyone who will reverse or amend this! Bye bye Dems and liberals hello reason and common sense.

    December 21, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Former Republican

    So extending compassionate health-care coverage to 30 million more Americans is considered "flipping the bird" (ridiculous) by my former GOP?

    The Republican Party has truly lost its way with this absurd rhetoric, rather than substance for the American people.

    December 21, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. plevy

    Rather than "flipping the bird" the Democrats are respecting the vote of the majority of voters who supported them and the goal of reforming health care in the 2008 election. It's called representative democracy, Chairman Steele, not flipping the bird.

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

    Steele and those he represents haven't had an idea, let alone a GOOD one, since the dawn of time. All they ever do is complain and whine about "Who's to blame' or "what's wrong', but NEVER offer any solutions.

    Who needs terrorists when you have republicans?

    December 21, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Ange1

    No, we are just flipping the bird to the conservative Republicans who would rather do nothing and stay true to their antiquated ideological ideas rather than do something to at least provide some medical care for those without. We are ALL better if everyone is covered to some degree...everybody pays (via higher insurance rates and charges) when already provided care goes uncompensated.

    It is absolutely amazing to listen to the Repubs whine now that they aren't calling the shots. There is a reason you guys lost the election.

    December 21, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Awaal Oastad

    Mr. Steele,

    Put some sugar in your mouth and shut up for good. You are no part of American solution and you know it better. You have money and you joined the hulks at the GOP. In your own opinion when do you think that GOP ever thought of the welfare of middle-class and working class families?

    Go back home, have some sleeping pills and sleep. That way your eyes will be shut and your mouth will be shut as well. Don't snore too much.


    December 21, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. sherry

    As Bush did to the world when he invaded Iraq....nuff said!

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

    The Republicans are a joke. Their party is in ruins. All they can do is hate and block progress for the American people. The Republicans HATE anything that's positive or forward thinking. The Republicans want the middle class to stay dumb and shut up and stay in debt. Well, I'm one member of the middle class that has had enough. Rich people want all the money and all the power at any cost. I vote for a strong public option that puts direct compition to big insurance companies. Class warefare is alive and well in this country. National Healthcare is now a reality and the rich need to pay for it.

    December 21, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "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."

    What part of " if you like what you got keep it" don't you understand Steele? You ought to be ashamed of yourself for putting your family on the same sub-par intellectual level that you inhabit.

    I swear, everytime you open up your mouth you up your idiocy quotient. It is clear to see where the low-brows in your Party get their rhetoric from, and who in your Party is the pipepline of distortion to Faux News.

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

    Don't think I saw any Republicans helping shape the legislation. Just "no! no! no! no!! no! no! no!". Come on...if you want to be part of it, be part of it, don't obstruct the process. Oh, and a few ideas would be good too. Clearly party is before country for the Republican leadership.

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