RNC Chairman Steele says the Tea Party has put Republicans ‘on probation’

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Republicans were “on probation” after their tremendous wins in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

“Big government Republicanism is not innate to us, it’s not part of our DNA and yet we tried to force ourselves into that box and instead we wound up forcing people out of the party,” said Steele on Fox News Thursday.

Echoing the sentiment of other top Republicans, Steele said the favorable election results for the GOP did not translate to “oh gee, we love Republicans.” The message, said Steele, was that voters wanted the GOP to return to its founding principles of limited government, free markets and less spending.

Steele said he felt confident that come January, Republicans will “hold true to those principles and that our friends in the Tea Party will be at the table with us, helping the country move forward.”

The RNC chairman attributed the Republican victories Tuesday to a combination of partnership between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party movement.

“It was a combination of all those forces that will crystallize in the leadership moment that we’ll have come January to make sure we adhere to those principles and that we stay true to the fight we started with our Tea Party friends a year ago,” he said.