Steele: Health Care Debate Would Have Been Worse In 1800s

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is unfazed by the sometimes vitriolic debate over health care this August, sharing the opinion of other commentators that it's healthy to hash our differences out in public, even if it sometimes involves shouting--that this, basically, is democracy in action. Our own Matthew Cooper said as much, as did FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon ("This is not PG rated. Political activism does take on an edge"). In an interview with ABC radio, Steele looked to history:

"I wasn't around in the 1800s and the 1700s, but I'm a student of history and politics, and I know what those political squabbles, if you will, were like - a lot more violent, if you will.  People were dueling and all kinds of other things going on in those days."
"If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen," Steele said.  "And the reality of it right now is that the American people are bringing heat to the table."

Needless to say, I wasn't around in the 1700s or 1800s, either, so I share Steele's inability to say first-hand whether the animated, sometimes toxic debate is a historical tradition of our nation's democracy. But (especially with a few conservatives having brought out their guns) thank goodness we haven't seen any duels in '09.

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In