Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 20, 2009

STEELE: 'I DON'T DO POLICY'.... I can appreciate why Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared at the National Press Club this morning to bash the president and trash the idea of health care reform. It's a key week in the larger reform effort; President Obama is going to be pushing hard; and it stands to reason the RNC would take an active role in pushing back in the other direction.

But would it have killed Steele to read up a little bit on the issue before his appearance?

The RNC chairman said a plan that features competition between private and public insurance constitutes "socialism," which doesn't make any sense. Asked if Republicans support an individual requirement to get health care, he didn't understand the question. Steele said health care reform is part of the Democratic agenda to put "a big-government wish list on America's credit card," which sounded silly coming just a couple of days after the president once again vowed that reform would not add to the deficit.

At one point, the Republican Party chairman was asked about a CBO score that said the war in Iraq would cost $2.75 trillion, while his party fears health care reform that costs less than half that. Steele replied that health care is different because "the costs of health care is something up close and right here."

Eventually, Steele more or less conceded that he didn't know what he was talking about..

[H]is address was short on details. Pressed repeatedly during the question and answer session why the GOP had not actually released its plan for health care reform -- and then on specific policy proposals -- Steele demurred to his GOP colleagues in Congress.

"Look I don't do policy," he said. "I'm not a legislator. My point in coming here was to establish a tone."

But if Steele doesn't "do policy," then maybe he shouldn't host a press event in which he tries to discuss policy. Or perhaps he should read remarks about policy written by someone else, and then leave before asked to explore his position in any real detail.

Steve Benen 12:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

Because it's so much easier just to call someone un-American or a socialist than it is to actually think and come up with policy.

Numberless budget anyone? Should we really be surprised.

Posted by: Chris on July 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Steele's "I know you are but what am I" gets tiresome after awhile. He never has anything to contribute only criticism which is unfounded. The guy is petty.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

If Steele doesn't believe our president when he says health care won't add to the deficit, who can blame him? But he should say THAT instead.

a) Steele isn't alone when we tend to associate presidents and lying. Gosh, it should be a well ingrained habit since 1980. (Carter was so honest we voted him out and ridiculed him for excessive candor.)

b) It's a pantload of money. I don't think *I* believe Obama when he says it won't add to the deficit.


And the quote about not being a legislator?
Do the GOP legislators "do policy"? Which ones? I must have missed it the past 9 years.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on July 20, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Pressed repeatedly during the question and answer session why the GOP had not actually released its plan for health care reform -- and then on specific policy proposals -- Steele demurred to his GOP colleagues in Congress.

Which reporters pressed ont his issue? Why don't they "press" members of congress?

OK fine, Senators McCain, McConnel, Sessions and Graham, Representatives Boner, and Cantor, what are your policy prescriptions for dealing with the growing healthcare crisis? And you can't say tax cuts.

Posted by: Winknandanod on July 20, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Next week Steele gives a lecture at Sloan-Kettering. He'll be speaking to a group of thoracic surgeons regarding the ineffectiveness of Pfizer's new anti-coagulant class of pharmaceuticals. Not that he knows anything about the subject. Still, he has an opinion and he's important so they'll hear him out. NPR and Fox will cover the event. There will be a roundtable discussion afterward touching on just exactly what kind of bullshit Pfizer is trying to pull.

Posted by: steve duncan on July 20, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Is "establishing a tone" the new GOP euphemism for "shooting from the hip on a topic one knows nothing about"?

Posted by: KTinOhio on July 20, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Look I don't do policy."

This is basically the new Republican party, they don't do policy, they're only here to muddy the issues and deflect.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on July 20, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican position is that the medical insurance corporations are more profitable than ever, so there is no "health care crisis" and no need for "reform".

Republicans -- and to be fair, many Democrats -- understand that the purpose of the US health care system is not to provide health care to the American people, but to provide profits for corporations.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 20, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

What does he DO? I think Dems and Repubs alike are asking this question.

Posted by: Rolla on July 20, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

i wonder if anyone can actually determine how much of michael steele's moronic appearances are because he just "mails it in"nearly all the time, and how much is the bankruptcy of the republican party, so far as having any decent policy about anything...

... you know, like, any ideas about what government is supposed to do...

or is it all just tone (read: fear and anger) with these guys?

Posted by: neill on July 20, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Someone is surprised that the GOP's house slave is an idiot? I'm surprised Step'n Fetchit can actually read.

Posted by: TCinLA on July 20, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Is "establishing a tone" the new GOP euphemism for "shooting from the hip on a topic one knows nothing about"? - KTinOhio

Close. "Setting the Tone" = "we're not going to let you do anything good for the country because that would be bad for us (Republicans)".

"At one point, the Republican Party chairman was asked about a CBO score that said the war in Iraq would cost $2.75 trillion..." - SB

2.75 Trillion? With a record like that, Americans shouldn't let Republicans anywhere near public policy. All they care about is themselves and covering their ass. F*ck whatever they have to say about anything.

Posted by: Marko on July 20, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

i'm assuming that steele knew about this appearance in advance, but he obviously didn't think doing any prep was necessary...too bad teh press corps didn't simply ask why he doesn't take this kinda event seriously...

Posted by: dj spellchecka on July 20, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"My point in coming here was to establish a tone."

Mission Accomplished! AGAIN!!

Today's Republican Party, where a tone of a two-year old throwing a fit on the floor yelling "NO, NO, NO!" at the top of his lungs is a substitute for, you know, coming up with ideas on how to do stuff.

Posted by: Cal Gal on July 20, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

What do you mean he doesn't do policy. Didn't he sit in for Bill Bennett and say we just need to get everybody to the table and work it out?

1. Get everybody to the table. 2. ????????
3. Everybody has access to affordable health care!

They remain the Underpants Gnome Party.

Posted by: Husker Blue on July 20, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Again no need for the followup:

"If you don't know enough to speak on the issues, why are you here? Surely you're the last person who should be setting the tone?"

Posted by: royalblue_tom on July 20, 2009 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Putting the A in Affirmative Action

Posted by: Daved on July 20, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"a big-government wish list on America's credit card,"

Actually retarded coming from a guy who voted for George W. Bush.

Posted by: alan on July 20, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The tone he's setting is much like the one heard when the cardiac monitor goes flat line. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....................

Posted by: Skepticat on July 20, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

TCinLA: Someone is surprised that the GOP's house slave is an idiot? I'm surprised Step'n Fetchit can actually read

Steele is an idiot. And you're a fucking asshole who can't make a single comment without slurring someone for race, gender, religion or state of origin. WTF is the matter with you?

Posted by: Susan Johnson on July 20, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Steele is just the sort of water-carrying moron that gets a job for ethnic balance (they're out there, not meant as "characterization") that Repunks like to make fun of when done by others.

Posted by: demoraptor on July 20, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Steele is right, he doesn't do policy!

Just ask Alan Fabian who is doing time behind Steele.

Steele-Ehrlich was involved in some pretty unethical deals with campaign finance - giving government contracts to friends, paying friends with campaign funds......

Posted by: annjell on July 20, 2009 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Steele was a Lt. Gov. and claimed to be qualified to be my U.S. Senator. What does he mean he doesn't do policy?????

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Posted by: Wakanda on March 11, 2010 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK
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