The Republican Party has turned a corner and will begin to rebuild as a strong, loyal opposition to the Democratic majority, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Tuesday.
“The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is over, it is done,— Steele told RNC members at a speech at the National Harbor in Maryland.
Steele’s speech was as much about his own future at the helm of the RNC — where he has been plagued by a series of high-profile gaffes and intra-party disputes — as it was about the party’s future.
Those dust-ups have forced Steele to do his share of apologizing during his short tenure as RNC chairman. The latest flap occurred last week when, while guest hosting a conservative radio show, Steele told a caller that the Republican base was not comfortable with 2008 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s Mormonism.
Steele also has faced criticism for taking more than a month to hire senior staff and for spending thousands of dollars to redecorate his RNC office. RNC members are set to vote on a resolution sometime this summer that could limit his ability to spend committee money.
In his speech, Steele called for party unity and pledged to help Republicans rebuild. He said the GOP needs to get back to the strong principles established by former President Ronald Reagan and other GOP luminaries.
“I gain strength in this journey, I gain strength from you,— he said.
Steele said Republicans should take President Barack Obama on directly but not personally. He said the GOP should not attack Obama in the “classless way— Democrats treated former President George W. Bush.
He took aim at Obama’s administration and how their policies threaten America’s long-term prosperity.
“The honeymoon is over,— Steele declared. “The two party system is making a comeback and that comeback starts today.—
“We are at a crucial juncture for our party,— Steele added. “It’s time for us to rise to the occasion, it’s time for use to make our voices heard, and it’s time for us to be the loyal opposition.—