LAS VEGAS (Nov. 4, 2014) — Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee chairman, has some pointed advice for Congress and the Obama administration: “The recess is over. Time to get back in the classroom.”
Mr. Steele, also a one-time Maryland lieutenant governor, was the keynote speaker at the Tire Industry Honors Award Ceremony Nov. 3 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Speaking on the eve of the Nov. 4 mid-term elections, Mr. Steele was equally critical of the Democratic and Republican caucuses in Washington — and the electorate — noting: “We have elected a bunch of impulsive children to run our government.”
He called the current federal government's direction as a “policy of incompetence, Congress and the White House together,” and lamented the fact that elections have gotten in the way of government's ability to get anything done.
“Consider this,” he said, pausing for effect. “Ninety-five percent of those running (in today's election), who have done nothing for the past two years, will get re-elected…. $187,000 a year (salary) to do nothing!”
He told the TIA audience this year's election is about nothing…and everything, but that those running have managed to avoid addressing any of the important issues – such as the lack of a federal budget, spending priorities, etc. -- choosing instead to stress what they're against instead of what they're for.
Mr. Steele, the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland, had some salient words of advice as well in a wide-ranging presentation.
Among the pithier comments:
“Healthy tension is good,… it can make things happen.”
“You can't please everyone,…but you can piss them all off.”
On the subject of risk, Mr. Steele noted that “government doesn't do that, because government can't do that. [Risk] is the work of entrepreneurs and it's something lots in government can't appreciate.
“When government policies affect your ability to create jobs, grow, etc., then government is obliged to listen….”
Taking advantage of the political theme Mr. Steele laid out, TIA Hall of Fame inductee Juanita Purcell of Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. offered this on the budget dilemma:
“If you came home and found that your sewer had backed up and filled your house up to the ceiling with [sewage], would you raise the ceiling or pump out the poop?”